a thoughtful web.
Good ideas and conversation. No ads, no tracking.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  5 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 27, 2022

I've read enough books about enough different things to start having original ideas.

One of the things made clear in Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test, Ariely's The Honest Truth about Dishonesty and Yuval Harari's Sapiens is that sociopaths do really goddamn well at capitalism. The competitive nature of the economic system combined with the penalties assessed by loyalty and ethics mean that those with none of the prerequisites of humanity are better at being inhuman.

And one of the things made clear by a dozen and a half books on economics is that capitalism does better for the general sweep of humanity than any other economic system, but that left to its own devices it fosters brutal inequality. The Chicago School has argued for 70 years that "brutal inequality" is not the problem of the economic system, because the economic system is not society. That's something that sets Chicago School economics apart from any other theory that came before - the idea that the participants in an economic system owed nothing to the system.

The result has been a system in which psychopaths become bosses. Full stop.

The Peter Principle was half right - people rise to the level of something. I don't think it's incompetence, though. I think it's viciousness. You rise to the level where you're meaner and more cunning than the people below you, but not as mean and cunning as the people above you. Which is not to say that sociopathic managers can't choose to be humanitarian, and many do. But we all have an ethical line we won't cross on principle. The more sociopathic you are, the better you are at pretending your line is closer to humanity.

Add in a little Jonathan Haidt, and conservatives have an advantage: they can dissociate anyone not from their tribe from humanitarian considerations. A liberal member of the Nazi party is going to have problems with Krystallnacht because they can empathize with the Jews. A conservative member of the Nazi party knows down to their very bones that they will never be Jewish and that Jews will never be humans. That's Union Carbide, Nestle, BP, any multinational you care to name.

Your boss has risen to the level where she can't support her schemes, so you're stuck with her evil. I'm sorry. That's the sort of shit that makes me very happy to not have a boss.

Foveaux  ·  5 days ago  ·  link  ·  

A depressing read! I agree though, she certainly fits the bill.

She hosted a dinner at her place last year, when she came on board and wanted to help her team be cohesive (She manages us 6, each of us 6 manages a team of 10-12). All 6 of us arrived, bringing a potluck dinner etc. It went fine, we talked, laughed and had some drinks. Her husband is nice, but very reserved.

It wasn't until afterwards that I put words to how I felt. I messaged my colleague that something felt off about the house. Colleague responded immediately "It felt manufactured. She had nothing that was 'her'. It was like a real estate agent had come in and prepped the house to be seen as modern and inviting, but it had no fucking warmth". She was right. I'm yet to see a lick of personality from my boss, it's always whatever she thinks people want to see, or need to see.

Apparently she plays in a band, but the instrument changes from conversation to conversation. She enjoys clay bird shooting, but has brought it up once in conversation and never again in the 18 months I've known her. Sure people can enjoy hobbies and not talk about them, but the number of interests mentioned in passing is staggering.

It's.. Wild, man. Truly wild.

Plus! As you've articulated, this is commonplace in those roles. My next step is into that exact role, and I am nowhere near vicious enough. I got promoted because people know I care about them and they trust me but I do genuinely worry I'll have to sacrifice some of 'me' to make it at the next level. I will try, but I don't have high hopes.

If I could 'create' for a living, I would.

b_b  ·  5 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    That's the sort of shit that makes me very happy to not have a boss.

I'm actively working on that. The main reason I took the job I'm in is because I knew enough about science to do what I wanted to do, but I knew fuckall about how to run a drug company successfully. It's entirely a quid pro quo from my perspective. And thankfully I have learned a lot and I'm now on the verge of making my own business. Raising a little cash, which is a little tough in this environment, but I don't need much to start out. I'll be boss-free by the spring if all goes well.