Political Bias as Addiction Response

This doesn’t surprise me at all: The test subjects on both sides of the political aisle reached totally biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted, Westen and his colleagues say. Then, with their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But […]

Transparency and Decision-Making

On a long conference call today 19 of us were discussing group process in decision-making. Specifically, how to assign consultants to incoming work requests. The issue is fraught with flaws that undermine community. For instance, central decisions might be made too quickly, based on who knows whom, using old bios, overlooking a more qualified newcomer […]

Energy Politics

Mitch Ratcliff speaks for me.

Data Mining 101

Finding Subversives with Amazon Wishlists by Tom Owad. A little geeky, but worth reading to see how authorities might infer intentions. About six years ago, I used similar techniques to scrape auto sites on the web to find inventory on a new VW Golf TDI diesel (indigo blue, standard shift) within 500 miles of my […]


My friend Jon Husband reminded me that worldwide surveillance has been going on for years. You can read all about it. Grim.

(Unintended?) Consequences of Surveillance

If your life is similar to mine, you may have been too busy these last few weeks of the business year to notice an important story brewing in the US capital. It’s one worth reflecting on during the year-end break; here is a summary written in links. * Laura Rozen has a data point on […]

[SoL] Alain de Vulpian on the Process of Civilization

de Vulpian provided a 25-page paper, “Listening to Ordinary People,” in advance of the conference (Word doc). It lays out the main arguments of his book, “A l’ecoute des gens ordinaires. Comment ils tranforment le monde,” (Paris, Dunod 2003). Here is one of the introductory paragraphs from the paper: I have reached the conviction that […]

Politics vs. Goverance

Let me suffer the inadequate Internet connection just once more to comment on how surprising (yet welcome) it is to see opinions such as this from Newsweek. …Bush will go down in history as the most fiscally irresponsible chief executive in American history. Since 2001, government spending has gone up from $1.86 trillion to $2.48 […]

Accountable once a decade, at least

This year I’ve personally observed just how hard it is to fire someone in academia (newsflash!). Some people turn out to be non-productive — that’s to be expected. Much worse if they’re toxic to the people who are ARE productive! But somehow they stay forever. (Note to clients: I’m not talking about any of you […]

Minnesota 308B Cooperative Act

Some time ago I mentioned a Minnesota law regarding hybrid Coop/LLC business structures that was winding its way through the legislature. It passed (a while back) but I just found the actual statute. Here’s the Google query that will bring up relevant results.

Hybrid LLC/Co-op Structure

Thanks to Walden Swanson, we have an outline on forming a hybrid LLC/Co-op business. Following is an edited amalgamation of an email thread we’ve had the last couple of days. Minnesota has a new co-op law that has elements of an LLC. August 1 is the day the law goes into effect. This is the […]

National Center for Employee Ownership

http://www.nceo.org/ Great resource! Quote: “The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) is a private, nonprofit membership and research organization that serves as the leading source of accurate, unbiased information on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), broadly granted employee stock options and related programs, and ownership culture. We are the main publisher and research source in […]

Why Corporate Structure Matters

An extended reply to a comment posted earlier today, regarding the importance of legal and financial structures in setting up humane organizations: When LLC’s first became available, most advisors (lawyers and accountants) didn’t recommend them because they were untested in the courts as regards liability and whatnot. At that time, the operating agreements were expensive […]

Equity vs. Profit-Sharing

One of the most difficult business structure issues to be resolved in cooperative, mutual or producer groups creating “legacy” assets is that of transient employee/owners. Say for example you want to have a worker-owned co-op that produces a software product. In the “normal” producer co-op structure, such as a farm products group, the amount of […]

Mutual Banks & Insurance

The Tutor points out in a comment post that a mutual insurance company is another opportunity for customer-owned enterprise. (Scroll down to the post at 5:56 PM.) Quote: “Another interesting co-op hybrid might be the old mutual insurance company concept. The company is owned by the policy holders and divisible surplus is paid back as […]

Chaordic Commons

Another business structure worth investigating is the Chaordic Commons. This system was invented by Dee Hock, who founded VISA International. You may have heard of their credit card. It’s described in his bio: “In 1968, he developed the concept of a global system for the electronic exchange of value and a unique, new form of […]

Policy Governance

It is worth noting that most non-profits, at least at the local level, suffer from disfunctional boards of directors. One reason is that boards are volunteers, and don’t spend all that much time in the role, so they don’t know what boards should do. They end up focusing on operational aspects of the business, rather […]

George Orwell: Notes on Nationalism

May 1945: George Orwell: “Notes on Nationalism”.

Department of useful government

Mitch Ratcliffe posted a pointer to a fantastically deep report on demographic trends produced by the US Census Department. Lots of good data and analysis in there.