what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Saturday, October 31, 2009


A busy 2 days – Friday was the day I was closing the mountain house for the winter. During the night I noticed what I thought was fog outside. It turned out to be snow – and, by morning, was a good 7 cms. Fortunately it was soft – so no problems with the side road connecting the village to the main road after I had disconnected the water and placed the booby traps. Then an enjoyable drive to Bucharest – although not the last hour negotiating the traffic into the gridlocked city.
I didn’t therefore have much time for the internet – but enough to surf for “managerialism” and find an interesting short paper “In Praise of Managerialism” http://www.ashridge.org.uk/website/IC.nsf/wFARATT/In%20Praise%20of%20Managerialism/$file/InPraiseOfManagerialism.pdf

This morning I read Colin Talbot’s all too rare blog Whitehall Watch – which had a reference to one of my old favourites – the development economist AO Hirschman of “Exit, Voice and Loyalty”. He was a real original (still alive at 94) – a rare interdisciplinarian who celebrated the “trespassing” across disciplinary boundaries. “A Propensity to self-subversion” is a good example - http://books.google.com/books?id=LlvD47cU-qAC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=&f=false
That, in turn, led me to “Government and Opposition” - one of the Wiley publications to which I have a month’s free access – and several hours downloading articles from others in their stable such as Public Administration and Development. I generally don’t have much time for this journal – but was impressed to find a couple of articles in a 2006 issue on the theme of spiritual values in the workplace. “Growing numbers across many sectors feel an unprecedented crisis of identity and integrity. In international development, institutions often find themselves subordinated to the military in ever increasing conflict situations (the ‘development-security complex’). Locally, the global tendency is for public administration to be ‘re-engineered’ on the basis of so-called ‘market’ values (the ‘New Public Administration’). Private sector management models are, nevertheless, hardly exemplary. Corporate greed and scandals proliferate in a world featuring increasing poverty extremes, resurgence of old or advent in new diseases (e.g. HIV/Aids), environmental degradation and racism. This article takes, as its starting point, the fact that the workplace has become an insecure and alienating environment.
In pursuing the relationship between spirituality and religion, the article next distinguishes between, the dogmatic, institutionalised and potentially dangerous characteristics of many religions and the more intuitively contemplative character of spirituality with its stress on awareness of self, impact on others and feeling of universal connectedness.
Bearing in mind the often extremism as well as variety of religions (as distinct from spirituality), the second section examines the interrelationship between the two. A number of models are advanced concerning relationships between belief, belonging, salvation and ritual. It is argued that attention needs to be given to the inner side of religion, which requires individuals to embark on a spiritual journey through contemplation and reflection, rather than the more visible side of religion expressed in ritual. In sum, spiritual dialogue is offered as a way forward and as a mechanism for building spiritual community through engagement.
The final part of the article focuses on a trans-Atlantic spiritual engagement initiative. Faith-based discussion groups have been formed amongst business executives and professionals in USA (theWoodstock Business Conference promoted out of Georgetown University) and more recently in the City of London at the St Paul’s Cathedral Institute (the Paternoster Pilot Group). These aim to develop more meaningful work orientation: rediscovery of higher purpose and its relevance to restoration of ethical business and public service values, as well as better integration of personal and social domains
Well said! This links to an earlier post ("living each day" Oct 22). I will let you know more once I have read the article!

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