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crisis of capitalism under trump

Each week, LA Progressive’s editors pick what they regard as a particularly insightful comment from one of our readers, both to draw attention to one particular reader’s thoughts and to encourage more readers to weigh in with their opinions. This week’s pithy "Feedback Friday" response comes from Jeffrey Killeen, who commented on the article by Sharon Kyle's, “Crisis of Capitalism under Trump”.

Here in Northern California, admittedly far from a representative sample of life in these United States, the dictatorial boss model has been discovered unworkable when working with well educated employees who are expected to contribute original thought. If the dictator pisses these employees off, the dictator doesn’t get what the business needs: Intense commitment required to develop original thought. While we as a nation may well be worse off for having done so (probably are worse off), it is nevertheless at least potentially true that the exporting of our manufacturing sector to China has removed a sector of our economy where dictatorial management largely prevailed.

Here in Northern California, admittedly far from a representative sample of life in these United States, the dictatorial boss model has been discovered unworkable when working with well educated employees who are expected to contribute original thought.

What point in this? It interferes with acceptance of the message if the premise, in this case the overwhelming dominance of the dictatorial boss model, does not seem to conform with one’s actual experience. You are writing to people who are:

  • well enough educated to read anything,
  • critical enough to read something that may not confirm preexisting bias,
  • contrary enough to read something from the L.A. Progressive, and
  • intelligent enough to understand what you are writing. This is, of course, a select audience.
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For this population in their personal experience (certainly true for me), it is more likely that the dictatorial boss model is at least somewhat attenuated.

So, your essay needs a paragraph starting “While the dictatorial model is less prevalent in businesses which depend upon the intellectual contributions of its employees, it is still true …” blah, blah, blah.

That paragraph allows your audience to think themselves at least somewhat successful in escaping the dictatorial model, without so readily falling into the intellectual error of going further to think that this is true of everyone and that you are therefore detached from reality (which you are not, of course).

A further passing thought: I haven’t been able to develop the idea at all, but I do suspect that the Greatest Generation, having taken orders from on high in WWII, brought the inclination to work top down into the business world. If that is true, the now largely complete departure of this generation from the business world may tend to reduce the tendency for enterprise to adopt dictatorial management. Or not. Just an idle thought for now.