Thursday, January 3, 2013

Are they shadows that we see?

I still have some photographs from our trip, and I'll post them later, but here are some more recent photographs, showing how the weather changed. We got a lot of rain, which melted snow and ice away, so that depth of snow went down to 31 cm (from 74 cm before Christmas), and there were puddles and slush ice on the streets and paths, and trees were completely bare of snow.

As I noted in a comment at Andreas' blog, in Finland the President traditionally makes a New Year’s Speech on tv. This year there was a new Finnish word in the speech, “residency society” ("oleskeluyhteiskunta"), in the context of “we can not afford a residency society”, meaning that each and everyone must work to support the society, to keep up the economic growth and the global competitiviness of Finland.

(In the English press release about the speech the translation of the word “oleskeluyhteiskunta” was “a society in which one can merely exist”.)

This raises the question of whether all human beings are equal, or should all be judged by their ability to work. And this brings to mind The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the points noted there about rights and responsibilities of each person.

I think that society should recognize also other values than just striving for economic growth, but in Finland the big thing seems to be competitiviness, competitiviness, competitiviness, and everything else is secondary, such as education, culture, or health care.

And it is not only that your work output is thought to be the thing what defines a human being. Nowadays it seems that the only profession that is being valued is management, as if management (and leadership, whatever that means) would be the only thing worth doing.

Management terminology is being applied everywhere, from kindergarten to geriatric care, from artistic work to state governance, as if the world had to defined solely using management/business jargon. Thus we have development action plans everywhere, capacity building, visions and missions, strategic initiatives, etc., ad nauseatum.

(Posting title is from the poem Are They Shadows by Samuel Daniel.)


Andreas Manessinger said...

Well, we need good management. The unfortunate reality is, that we only get bad management. Management should be humble, should enable things, should support those people that actually do the work.

The opposite is true. We have a culture that principally pushes decisions to the top of the pyramid.

I am software developer, so forgive me that I use my own trade as an example. Why is it that the decisions about tools to be used are made by upper management, i.e. by people who are totally unqualified to make technical decisions at all?

It's all about power and ego, nothing else. That's the deeper reason for the mess we all are in.

We know by now that it does not work, but still, it feels good to just say it: "¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre!"

Juha Haataja said...

I'm working for the government nowadays, so I'm in the thicket of managing things, and often it seems like a wonder that those things work at all. But competent people, that is a good recipe for doing good things...