Friday, February 5, 2010

The End of Economic Man, Chapter 4

This is a tough chapter to address, though like much of Drucker, I find the ideas – as I understand them – compelling. It is about the failure of churches to provide a new approach to Western Civilization. Apparently they focused on individual salvation rather than on the health of society.

In addition to citing a number of German theologians that I don’t know, he talks about Henry Adams, who I actually enjoy. Adams wrote at the start of the industrial age and foresaw the impact of 20th century technology. He pointed to technical knowledge and its ability to fragment society. I may a romantic view of Adams, shaped by the fact that I work hear the site of his home, but I also find his observations on technology chilling and pointed.

I’m spending the week at the Board of Governors meeting of the Computer Society, an activity that always reminds me of the problems of social structure. We are constantly thinking about how we could better organize ourselves and work more effectively. The problem that always hangs over our talks is the gap between goals and acts. Goals are almost always expiring. Actions, no matter how carefully we try to align them with our ideas, can fall short. Comically. Tragically. Ironically.

End of Week 3. I’ll be blogging next week from the IEEE Board meeting. New experience but same issues, I suspect.

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