[p2p-research] Fwd: When The Neck Bone Isn't Connected To The Head Bone

Ryan Lanham rlanham1963 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 13 16:20:45 CET 2009

Interestingly another chaos/emergeance versus reductionist kerfuffle...just
like the current mind/brain/machine argument.


On 11/13/09, Kevin Carson <free.market.anticapitalist at gmail.com> wrote:
>  Sent to you by Kevin Carson via Google Reader:
>  When The Neck Bone Isn't Connected To The Head Bone<http://www.evolvingexcellence.com/blog/2009/11/when-the-neck-bone-isnt-connected-to-the-head-bone.html>
> via Evolving Excellence <http://www.evolvingexcellence.com/blog/> by Bill
> Waddell on 11/12/09
>  by BILL WADDELL <http://www.bill-waddell.com/>
> James Weldon Johnson was quite the Renaissance man, if ever there was one.
> A poet and a lawyer, a politician and a songwriter, and a first rate
> educator.  We would be a lot better off had his best known bit of
> songwriting found its way into the curriculum at the business schools.  At
> the start of every class at the Harvard Business School they should have all
> the students stand up and sing a rousing chorus of "Dry Bones":
> *The toe bone connected to the heel bone,
> The heel bone connected to the foot bone,
> The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
> The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
> The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
> The thigh bone connected to the back bone,
> The back bone connected to the neck bone,
> The neck bone connected to the head bone,
> Oh, hear the word of the Lord!*
> The other day I wrote about the wholesale abandonment of manufacturing<http://www.evolvingexcellence.com/blog/2009/11/throwing-in-the-towel.html>in the elite academic circles.  I think it was in large part an unintended
> consequence of the whole theory of Core Competence, first proposed by
> Michael Porter from Harvard, then picked up by a couple of guys named Prahalad
> and Hamel<http://tle-inc.com/PDFS/FILES/resources/The%20Core%20Competencies%20of%20the%20Corp.pdf>from Michigan and the London Business School, respectively.
> Prahalad and Hamel don't seem to have anything against manufacturing - in
> fact a big part of their article is written around using manufacturing as a
> competitive weapon even without much of a brand.  But their basic premise is
> that the business is a bunch of chunks, and some are good and some are not,
> and that you ought to keep the good chunks and toss the bad ones aside.
> Again, Porter, and the other two were not anti-manufacturing, but they
> created an easy out for managers in a tough business environment.  In the
> 1980's Toyota, Sony, NEC and a lot of other Japanese companies were running
> roughshod through America manufacturing and everyone was peddling as fast as
> they could to figure out how they were doing it and what to do about it.
> There was a serious challenge to the American business community, then along
> came the notion of 'core competence' and there was the easy path out of the
> fire:  Simply decide that manufacturing was not a core competence and, v*
> oilà!,* problem solved.
> Just decide that what we are really good at is R&D and marketing, and
> finance and strategy of course, but that manufacturing is dirty, pedestrian
> stuff that is not really critical.  They could give up on solving the tough
> manufacturing challenge and couch quitting in a high-fallutin' explanation
> about focusing on core competencies - and that was cutting edge Harvard
> Business School stuff - no mere buzzword.  And it worked.
> Now there is a bit of a problem.  If you go over and cruise the current
> writing from the big brain guys, they are wringing their hands over the loss
> of the 'industrial commons".  Says Gary Pisano from Harvard<http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/hbr/restoring-american-competitiveness/2009/10/the-us-is-outsourcing-away-its.html>,
> "*The culprit is the outsourcing of development and manufacturing work to
> specialists abroad. The result: a damaging deterioration in the collective
> capabilities that serve high tech. This industrial commons includes not just
> suppliers of advanced materials, production equipment, and components, but
> also R&D know-how, advanced process development and engineering skills, and
> manufacturing competencies*."
> "Industrial commons" is academicspeak for all the bones they disconnected
> from the head bone.
> Oops!  You mean when we were quick to globalize manufacturing, all of that
> other stuff went with it and now it is really hard to *innovate *without
> any of the know how about whether those innovations can actually be made
> into products?  You mean that manufacturing engineering and supplier
> capabilities are important ingredients in new product development?  And you
> mean that when all of you guys were shoving manufacturing to China as fast
> as you could get rid of it you expected the suppliers to stay in business
> just in case one of the multi-nationals had a technical question for them?
> And you thought they would keep all of their manufacturing and process
> engineers on the payroll even though manufacturing was gone?  And you
> thought all of the machine builders would go on in this country as if
> nothing had happened?
> Or do you really mean that you had no idea that businesses can no more be
> carved up into chunks than Harvard professors?  C'mon - you guy's core
> competence is your brains, but that doesn't mean its a good idea to cut off
> your feet to save the price of shoes.
> Said another Harvard boy by the name of Willy Shih<http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/hbr/restoring-american-competitiveness/2009/10/the-us-cant-manufacture-the-ki.html>,
> "*Even though the Kindle's key innovation — its electronic ink — was
> invented and is being made, at least for now, in the U.S., Asian
> manufacturers are capturing the vast majority of the value added by
> manufacturing the e-reader itself. Even more worrisome, the U.S. is almost
> certain to lose control of the e-paper display technology and the future
> innovations that spring from it*."
> Yep, Willy.  The big thinkers thought they could keep the head bone here
> and declare the rest of 'dem bones' unimportant.  Now they are shocked to
> find that the head bone isn't much good without the rest of them.  Old James
> was right - all 'dem bones' are very much connected.
> There's a reason why the best manufacturers tend to be pretty vertically
> integrated.  They take 'core competence' to mean everything in the chain of
> creating value for their customers - not everything that is easy or cheap.
> <http://feeds.feedburner.com/%7Eff/EvolvingExcellence?a=Nq9Q8osZC_w:TPL_NfwOABY:yIl2AUoC8zA>
> <http://feeds.feedburner.com/%7Eff/EvolvingExcellence?a=Nq9Q8osZC_w:TPL_NfwOABY:gIN9vFwOqvQ>
> <http://feeds.feedburner.com/%7Eff/EvolvingExcellence?a=Nq9Q8osZC_w:TPL_NfwOABY:bcOpcFrp8Mo>
> <http://feeds.feedburner.com/%7Eff/EvolvingExcellence?a=Nq9Q8osZC_w:TPL_NfwOABY:I9og5sOYxJI>
> <http://feeds.feedburner.com/%7Eff/EvolvingExcellence?a=Nq9Q8osZC_w:TPL_NfwOABY:V_sGLiPBpWU>
> <http://feeds.feedburner.com/%7Eff/EvolvingExcellence?a=Nq9Q8osZC_w:TPL_NfwOABY:7Q72WNTAKBA>
>  Things you can do from here:
>    - Subscribe to Evolving Excellence<http://www.google.com/reader/view/feed%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.evolvingexcellence.com%2Fblog%2Fatom.xml?source=email>using
>    *Google Reader*
>    - Get started using Google Reader<http://www.google.com/reader/?source=email>to easily keep up with
>    *all your favorite sites*
> --
> Kevin Carson
> Center for a Stateless Society http://c4ss.org
> Mutualist Blog:  Free Market Anti-Capitalism
> http://mutualist.blogspot.com
> Studies in Mutualist Political Economy
> http://www.mutualist.org/id47.html
> Organization Theory:  A Libertarian Perspective
> http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2005/12/studies-in-anarchist-theory-of.html
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Ryan Lanham
rlanham1963 at gmail.com
Facebook: Ryan_Lanham
P.O. Box 633
Grand Cayman, KY1-1303
Cayman Islands
(345) 916-1712
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