Saturday, August 17, 2013
Evil as Self-Limiting, Chapter 291:
Jacob Shapiro (via Bruce Schneier) discusses the additional managerial overhead that terrorist organizations face. Shapiro takes the reputation of jihadist Ayman al-Zawahiri as a poor boss as his starting point. After considering what he would face in Zawahiri's shoes and looking at similar behavior on the part of other terrorist organizations, Shapiro explains why micromanagement is the only option:
Terrorist leaders also face a stubborn human resources problem: Their talent pool is inherently unstable. Terrorists are obliged to seek out recruits who are predisposed to violence -- that is to say, young men with a chip on their shoulder. Unsurprisingly, these recruits are not usually disposed to following orders or recognizing authority figures. Terrorist managers can craft meticulous long-term strategies, but those are of little use if the people tasked with carrying them out want to make a name for themselves right now.Even criminal syndicates have a more manageable pool of potential recruits than terrorists do.
Terrorist managers are also obliged to place a premium on bureaucratic control, because they lack other channels to discipline the ranks. When Walmart managers want to deal with an unruly employee or a supplier who is defaulting on a contract, they can turn to formal legal procedures. Terrorists have no such option. David Ervine, a deceased Irish Unionist politician and onetime bomb maker for the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), neatly described this dilemma to me in 2006. "We had some very heinous and counterproductive activities being carried out that the leadership didn't punish because they had to maintain the hearts and minds within the organization," he said....
"[M]y graph shows that the part-time share of U.S. employment has remained disturbingly elevated since the U.S. recession ended four years ago." -- Richard Salsman, in "Obamacare Will Foster a Part-Time Jobs Bonanza for Our Limp Economy" at Forbes
"Marriages that fail almost always suffer from a lack of open exchange and a sad overabundance of secretive, resentful sacrifice." -- Michael Hurd, in "I'm Happy When You're Happy" at The Delaware Coast Press
"The irony is that passive-aggressives think they're being 'nice,' but they end up coming across as inconsiderate and flaky." -- Michael Hurd, in "Passive Anger Is the Worst Kind" at The Delaware Wave
My Two Cents
My favorite line from the Salsman piece was the following: "ObamaCare pushers ... didn't know insurers plan ahead." This fact -- amazing to the very people who like to pretend they know better what everyone else thinks than they themselves do -- Salsman then generalizes and uses to great effect to analyze a graph of hiring trends. It is indeed very interesting that the very threat of HillaryCare likely caused the same anemic full-time hiring that we are seeing now.
Symptom of the Present
Someone recenty caught a design flaw in a skycraper being built in Spain and billed as the "Standard for the Future": It lacks elevator shafts. Too bad nobody noticed or spoke up about this until the building was nearly complete.
This brings back memories of a lab building some past colleagues were reluctant to move into when a curious lack of sinks came to their attention.