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.   ‘Financialization’ As a Cause of Economic Malaise: In 1950, financial services as a share of the economy made up 2.8%. In 1980, it was 4.9%. By 2006, it had become 8.3%. Over at the Economix blog at the New York Times, economist Bruce Bartlett worries that this is partly to blame for economic inequality and slow growth, and he cites a number of studies to underscore the point. “It’s not yet clear what public policies are appropriate to deal with the phenomenon of financialization,” Bartlett notes. “The important thing at this point is to be aware of it, which does not yet appear to be the case in Washington.”

2.   Pound Your Fist If You Must, but Make Me Listen: Peter Drucker stressed the importance of communication up over communication down. In an interview with the New York TimesPaulett Eberhart, president and chief executive of CDI, an engineering and technology professional services firm, agrees. Not that it makes communication easy.  Eberhart explains: “You can’t just tell me once and assume that I grasp it. If it’s critical and important, you’ve got to come back, you’ve got to tell me, you’ve got to come into my office and shut the door. I don’t care if you have to pound your fists on the table.”

3.  Air polluters Like to Send Their Emissions Across State Lines: Businesses have to think about their impacts, but sometimes the calculations are a little easier—or at least less painful—if you get to dump your impacts on your neighbors. Writing in the Washington PostDanny Hayes shines a spotlight on research by political scientists James MonoganDavid Konisky and Neal Woods showing that air polluting facilities in the United States are especially likely to be near downwind state borders. Hayes notes: “With states and businesses constantly making environmental decisions that have cross-border consequences, a decentralized regulatory system may confound pollution control efforts.”

4.  Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when we examined the economy and asked what might be done to persuade Americans that the country was on the right, rather than the wrong, track, reader John Karayan wrote the following:

The single most important thing that could be done to make people believe we’re back on the right track is to focus on what actually should be done rather than focus on manipulating public opinion (e.g., making people “believe” we are on the right track).