The Lazy Corpocracy

Books on history and sociology tell us that as civilization grew, we created rules. A group of “powerful” people introduced governments. Then a smaller group of “wealthy” people made corporations. And gradually, the dynamics changed from democracy to corpocracy.

Today, when we talk of corpocracy, its no longer only about American corporations, but its also about the awakening of the talented Chinese (or Indian for that matter). As David Brooks writes in his column – The Dictatorship of Talent:

You feel pride in what the corpocracy has achieved and now expect it to lead China’s next stage of modernization — the transition from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. But in the back of your mind you wonder: Perhaps it’s simply impossible for a top-down memorization-based elite to organize a flexible, innovative information economy, no matter how brilliant its members are.

My first thought on this “innovative corpocracy” would be something close to what Seth John wrote over at Hacker News:

I was thinking the other day about why American scientists are so successful, given that they tend to work much less diligently than the Chinese or Indian scientists I’ve known. Of course issues of funding and infrastucture have a lot to do with it, but I think there’s something else as well…

As a lazy American I spend a lot of time wandering around campus or at home not-working, instead I dream up new ways to adjust my methods so that they take less time and effort. In the long run, tinkering with methods leads to a lot of innovation. It’s this link between a tolerance for laziness and creativity that has made American science so successful.

Maybe, this very “tolerance for laziness” serves as fuel for corpocracy. No matter how talented we are, how much money we earn, how content with life we are, but we are all fueling corpocracy in some way or the other.

A slowdown in the U.S. economy for 2008 now appears inescapable. The corpocracy may weaken, but it has enough anti-aging elements to last a trillenium. So let’s just get back to the holiday mood, and enjoy a cognac by the fireplace.

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