Britain and Europe
those who the gods wish to destroy they first make mad
· INEQUALITY - THE MOST SIGNIFICANT BLIGHT ON SOCIETY ·
· INEQUALITY - WHAT CAN BE DONE ·
HAVING THEIR CAKE:
ECONOMIES, SOCIETIES AND THE QUALITY OF HUMAN LIFE
History of this site: From healthy corporations to sustainable societies - A journey of discovery
“Having Their Cake” had its genesis in a book of that name, published in 2004, and written with corporate treasurer Pat Scott as a result of our experiences as directors of large international companies. It examined the relationships between large corporations and the investment markets - and the effects on the behaviour of top managers - which in turn affected the performance of these companies and the wider economy.
But as the site developed, it was driven by my increasing concerns about the quality of living in many communities, in both rich and developed and poorer nations.
To explain: the roots of the concerns explored in this site lie in my own background. I was born in Ireland. My parents were from the once dominant minority Protestant community. After Irish independence they decided to leave Ireland and migrate to England.
I was educated in a school that took people from all social classes and I learned to appreciate people for who they were, not for their wealth or social backgrounds. Higher education was at the London School of Economics on a local government grant and I worked as a labourer in the holidays. LSE was an institution that had a reputation for left wing politics, but his was totally wrong - we were simply encouraged to think for ourselves and avoid mindlessly accepting conventional “wisdom”.
First experiences as a manager
After university, I was selected for a management traineeship by Unilever, a very international company of Anglo- Dutch ownership, which had a tradition of treating its customers ethically and staff with dignity in the belief that these values would also make it financially successful.
In my later career, I became a director of large international companies whose shares were quoted on the London Stock Market. I worked all over the world; spent a lot of time in the United States, and was also a director of a Japanese and German companies, so had experience of different business cultures.
Concerns about influence of financial markets
Latterly I became increasingly worried about the behaviour of institutional investors and the negative impacts this had on the actions of top managers, who became increasingly obsessed by the investment markets and media - and lost sight of the importance of staff and customers.
In time, I came to understand that companies and markets were not part of a closed system, and began to think about the wider economy. As my exploration continued, it became clear that it was not possible to separate economies from the societies of which they were a part.
Economic dogma, finance and politics - all influence the quality of a society
Put simply, economics, finance, and politics are part of an integral whole and play a vital in determining the quality of life in Society, which is probably the most important issue facing us all today.
So this site has morphed into an examination of Societies in their myriads of different forms.
Whilst this website is based on the best factual information that I can find, it is inevitably underpinned by my own experiences and values. The central one is that Societies should serve the interests of all their members, not just a rich and powerful minority. There is good evidence that societies based on marked inequality are not sustainable. Sooner or later they will suffer from stress or breakdown and cease to function effectively.
So browse this site if you are interested in the ideas that affect our financial, political and social systems - and how these affect all of our lives.
I have written with the serious intention of campaigning for better societies, but sometimes cannot avoid smiling at the ridiculous behaviour of some of those in positions of power and authority. So there is some comical material to enjoy.
I hope the site will stimulate your thinking. If it does, and you would like to make a contribution please do. I would welcome your ideas.
Review of Having Their Cake...
The crux of the book is summed up in the three propositions in Synthesis - the heart of our case
If ever a hugely important piece of work did not get the credit it was due it is this book. The only flaw I could find was in the way it was published - it has a cheap look with a lot of headings in big bold letters. The publication does a complete disservice to the contents. It is a brilliant book written by people who have been there; people whose firms have been taken over and trashed. It is a cry of sanity written before the whole stinking apparatus blew up in 2008. What is special about this book is the quality and the depth of the analysis. Rarely do people with a background in business have the analytical tools to de-configure the entire system and look at its workings. Journalists don't have the time, academics don't have the balls (I couldn't think of a better word) and others lack the confidence/money/experience. Sometimes when I am researching a controversial area the website with the same name pops up and I am left to again sing the praises of these very special people. Thank you Don Young and Pat Scott.- Amazon user Mingulay29