Monday, April 25, 2011


My colleague E is more senior than I am, and actually important enough for my employer to send her for psychometric profiling. She was genuinely excited by what she picked up on the course she attended. I like and respect my colleague, who is an intelligent and capable woman - probably more capable than I am, and I was genuinely surprised by how impressed she was with the course's teaching - a sort of shoddy totemism with a vaguely Myers-Briggs flavour. You expect individuals to have unusual enthusiasms, but this whole thing is part of the management culture of my company. The whole management thing, apparently, is that a person does not have a proprietorial sense of self, but imagines their world as a kind of antfarm, subject to inspection by improbable experts, who can tell you what you're about.

Maybe the content of the experts' teaching is ultimately reconcileable with management goals. On the other hand, when I get home and think about this, it seems like the way the profiling course was set up would have allowed the wildest extravagances from the experts conducting it. And my colleague would've been calmly writing down the instructions of a wild eyed maniac, frantically chewing betal:

"you are a Beano double page spread - of the floorboards of a Victorian house - and in the maze of floorboards is a cartoon mouse - cowering - and the mouse is your soul"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Inquiry into certain faculties (1)

Didn't it come out that Egyptian security services had been behind the bombing of a Christian Church at New Year? I'm fairly sure this was on the news, at least reported as an allegation - then nothing. It would be good with these stories to simply collate what's reported in the press at the time. This site features a number a press sources, as well as commentary.

Friday, April 08, 2011

crisis memo (4) - this cat's thesis

A colleague of mine at work recently graduated, and was telling me about his thesis, which touched on the banking crisis of a couple of years ago. Apparently a credible explanation of this crisis, among economists, and the one my colleague was taught, was that the problems originated with the extension of the right of home ownership to low wage workers. The whole thing was presented as if it was a transgression against nature for workers to own property, which inevitably called down vengeance from heaven.

The crisis certainly followed on from a great period for the issuing of bad mortgages, but both these circumstances were results of the maturation of the underlying asset market. Without bad mortgages the market would have levelled off five or ten years sooner, money would have become tighter, market interest rates would have risen, banks would have become insolvent, (as they periodically do).

tightening of money follows from the maturation of asset markets