What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

Peter Drucker

Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye:

1.        A Genetic Code for Genius?Zhao Bowen of Hong Kong is 20 years old and curious about something: What, if anything, do the DNA codes of super-brains have in common with one another? That, according to The Wall Street Journal, is what he’ll be trying to find out with a few thousand DNA samples from high-IQ donors in his work at BGI, a company funded partly by the Chinese government. Some critics say that far too many factors are involved in intelligence to allow for any useful answer. Others say that research like this has a nasty past and a potentially harmful future. But Zhao doesn’t plan on a lot of preliminary discussion. He tells the Journal, “Our data will be ready in three months’ time.”

2.      The False Promise of Free Capital Flows: In the 1990s, economists took a dim view of capital controls, in line with an orthodoxy based on the premise that markets were reliably optimal. In a post at the HBR BlogJonathan Schlefer deems it an example of “the terrifying power of ideas” and notes that the consensus, because of confrontations with economic reality, has been changing. Many developing countries have departed from economic orthodoxy and achieved better results. “Alas,” writes Schlefer, “advanced nations may not have learned their lesson.”

3.      Unauthorized Immigration to the United States: Annual Estimates and Components of Change, by State, 1990 to 2010: As the nation goes through yet another round of proposals and counterproposals for comprehensive immigration reform, one of the mysteries at the center of policymaking is who the undocumented people are. Where do they come from, how many are there, and where are they going? A report by Robert Warren, former demographer of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and John Robert Warren, a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, offers an estimate of an unauthorized population of 11.7 million and comes to other interesting conclusions. They write, for instance, that “the declining size of the unauthorized immigrant population in recent years has occurred not just because of rapidly declining inflows . . . but also because the number departing from the population is large and increasing.”

4.    Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, we examined the retirement of Pope Benedict and asked whether people agreed with Peter Drucker’s recommendation that CEOs—as opposed to senior advisors or lower-ranking executives—should step aside in their 60s.  Reader Maverick18 had this to say:

The idea that leadership abilities diminish with advancing age may have some merit, but, with more people staying healthy and working longer, 75 may be the new 60. A policy that establishes any arbitrary restriction on employment that is age-related and cannot be factually supported is simply age discrimination.


Pope Benedict has set an interesting example. He had an outstanding record of service to the Church and had tried to retire while he was still a Cardinal. He was not in good health when he was elected as Pope but took on the responsibilities and continued to work hard, while his health deteriorated. Finally, as head of the Church, he has announced his retirement for good reasons, and no board or conclave can counter his decision. Perhaps he should be remembered as Benedict the Wise.