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. The ‘Hobby Lobby’ Case: Religious Freedom, Corporations and Individual Rights: Should Hobby Lobby, a business that employs more than 20,000 people, be required to offer health plans that include birth control, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act? It’s a complicated case before the Supreme Court that pits one alleged set of rights against another. Writing in Knowledge@Wharton, Eric W. Orts, a University of Pennsylvania professor of legal studies and business ethics, argues that the case calls for greater nuance on the part of the court in defining a business corporation: “It is insufficient to say that business corporations are amoral ‘money-making’ machines and therefore can be regulated however a legislature may wish. It is also incorrect to equate a business corporation with its owners and extend to these entities rights as ‘persons’ without further analysis of the complexity of relationships involved within modern business firms.”

2. Forces of Divergence: Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a new book by French economist Thomas Piketty, seems destined for unlikely bestseller status. In an age when economic inequality is at the front of people’s minds, a professor who has made the study of inequality his life’s work can command quite an audience. John Cassidy considers Piketty’s arguments in a review for The New Yorker, calling it “a book that nobody interested in a defining issue of our era can afford to ignore.”

3. TECHTOPUS: Most conspiracy theories are untrue, but that doesn’t mean collusion never happens. Mark Ames at PandoDaily has been chronicling the unfolding revelations surrounding “techtopus,” the nickname for a wage-fixing scandal in Silicon Valley. Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe face a class-action lawsuit, and plenty of unflattering materials on the inner workings of these organizations have already been released.

4. Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when we posed the question of how Russian leader Vladimir Putin might better be “managed,” reader Maverick18 objected to such wording and had the following to say:

Could the U.S. have ‘managed’ Putin to avoid this crisis? That’s a misuse of ‘manage’ and the concept of management that I’m sure would have offended Peter Drucker. A company or government can manage itself with goals and objectives in mind, but managing others to suit one’s own goals is more the subject of The Art of War than any management treatise. How well has the U.S. managed Castro, Assad, Kim Jong-Un or any other troublesome leader? … [Putin] is unpredictable and dangerous. But he certainly is not manageable.