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9 Responses to “Hunger Games”

  1. John Andrew says:

    Did you read Bezos’ response saying he didn’t recognize the Amazon portrayed in the NYT article, or the point by point refutation by a guy who works there, and made a convincing case that the Times reporters didn’t do their homework very well? (I should add that he did so of his own volition, and did not ask anyone for permission to respond so publicly.)

    I trust you more th an Bezos or the NYT, but it would be nice to have a little independent verification on both sides. Without it, it’s hard to know the truth.

  2. Mike Metzger says:

    Andrew: I agree. The truth is likely somewhere between Bezos and what the writers describe. I only know one individual who worked under Bezos, making me suspect the NYT is closer to the truth. In any event, that’s why I began with a qualification – “If the article is anywhere close to the truth.” And close with: “Amazon appears to be driven by data…”

  3. Kyle says:

    Speaking of a companies culture, what do the continual barrage of customer and employee surveys say about their culture? Is it the lack of confidence that drives this constant need for affirmation? I work for a large communication company and we are strongly pushed to “coach” the customer about how to correctly answer the survey. Even communications between different departments was conducted with a phone call, but now they are mostly “chat sessions” on an app followed by a survey. We are even coached by the other agent as to how the survey needs to be filled out. We call someone insecure when they are continually looking for affirmation from other people, could we look at the stability and heath of a company by taking note of the amont of customer satisfaction surveys they are pushing out?

  4. Dave T says:

    Mike, you wrote: ““the mathematization of the market.”2 This dates from the 19th century with the advent of Darwinian thought. With its ascendency, confidence in the existence of God declined. As Americans became skeptical as to whether a moral universe exists, mathematization became the only game in town.” Could you break this down some?

  5. Mike Metzger says:

    I’ll try. Determining right and wrong in various markets requires a moral sense. Adam Smith said this required virtuous people looking to something transcendent–an overarching purpose or canopy. With the collapse of our sacred canopy (Darwin + “The Gay Science” 1882), we’re left with social conventions to define right and wrong. One such convention is Milton Friedman’s injunction that the sole responsibility of a company is to maximize shareholder return–mathematization.

  6. Mark Jones says:

    I really like your breakdown of mathematization being a result of the collapse of a sacred canopy. That certainly rings true to me.

    The example of this that I struggle with most these days is market based pricing, driven by greed instead of fairness or consideration for the consumer/client. I believe capitalism is far more biblical than socialism, but in our culture today, salaries and pricing of goods and services is based on what someone can get and not based on reasonable levels. For example, I was quoted an $80/hour price for someone to dig a ditch and install a French drain at my former house, simply because the demand was high and suppliers low enough that he could get that (but not from me). He was an independent contractor that had to cover his overhead, but that was way beyond in my opinion. I’m not sure how to push back on this trend in our culture, other than refusing to pay the mark-ups when I can. (In all honesty, I probably benefit from this in some degree in my own salary.) I would appreciate your comments on this area, if you have any.

  7. Barnabas says:

    The sobering aspect of the “Hunger Game” world is that it is the children of a particular age that are selected at random, by a self appointed elite detached and remote from the general population. An appearance of ‘scientific management’, but actually cynical de-humanisation of the masses. Failure to set a watchmen for the welfare of all, in the vested interest of a few.Adults detaching themselves from responsibility.

  8. Barnabas says:

    The games people play

  9. Doug says:

    Under the leadership of Martin O’Malley, Maryland state government became more and more data driven. New systems were required to provide data and “accountability”. The consequence has been a lessoning quality of community in the workplace. I am mortified as HR has become impersonal and people become mere numbers.

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