Monday, 26 March 2012
It's not personal - just business.
It's difficult to say for sure when exactly "business" became the established religion of this country but certainly the Thatcher-Blair project, the deregulation of the City, the rise of the business schools and the triumphant march of the spivs can all act as historical clues. About the same time that young people were beginning to see "business" as the new rock'n roll we also witnessed the emergence of a completely new type of employee, the professional manager. The manager of the past might have been a reasonable person or the prick of history but having spent years in railways, baking, the manufacture of knicker elastic or whatever, probably had a pretty sound grasp of what the job was all about. This new product of the business school knew nothing but the art of management and was convinced that this pseudo skill was transferable anywhere. In my final years of employment I worked as a lockkeeper on the Thames and at one stage was confronted by a fairly senior manager who proudly assured me that he knew nothing about the river but that it didn't matter as he "employed people to know that". His expertise was in the dark art management itself.
This is the world that we now inhabit and despite Cameron whining about the punters continually putting business down, there are very many kids who are not involved in Occupy and who genuinely aspire to being something in that world so well epitomised by the FT's nauseous weekend supplement, Spend It. Kingston Business School is actually expanding and a new extension is being opened next month by that managers manager and scourge of the organised workforce Willie Walsh. Now we hear that the Somali pirates are operating to a business plan and that the more successful ones are products of the British MBA system. So what exactly is the relationship between the business schools, a certain airline CEO and the pirate strongholds of East Africa. I think that we should be told.