May 29, 2011
David Warsh, Proprietor
The Economist was founded in 1843 by James Wilson, a hat manufacturer temporarily brought low by one of global capitalism’s first identifiable business cycles. By a series of courageous re-inventions over 168 years, it has managed to become, and then remain, one of the most influential editorial voices in the world.
It is time for another of those periodic reinventions.
Wilson’s original prospectus announced his determination to take part in “a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.”
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The shift required – one that already has begun under editor John Micklethwait, but one which still has far to go – involves the recognition that the social sciences have begun to integrate concepts of governance, organization and cooperation into the center of their conception of the world, rather than confining them (as they were in The Wealth of Nations) as something of an afterthought to the last section of Smith’s great book.
Phi Beta Iota: Brother Penguin has brought forth a very articulate statement on the role of humanity in changing–the the point of catastrophic implosion–the Earth. While lamenting the lack of responsibility of governments and corporations, the article stops short of recognizing that the challenge is not about governance, which is a process, but rather about information, which is a foundation. Multinational information-sharing and sense-making among the eight tribes of intelligence is the non-negotiable first step toward illuminating and then eradicating the corruption and waste that is now characteristic of all organizations and individuals that lack integrity. Everyone has intelligence. Virtually no one has integrity. That is where we start. Integrity in information-sharing and sense-making.