2. Management/Administration: The Presuppositions of Strategic Planning

In order to achieve their commercial ends business leaders have developed and make use of certain management tools. One of the most well-known of these is the now ubiquitous practice of Strategic Planning. The annual surveys conducted by Bain & Company, consistently point to the predominance of strategic planning.[1]Describing the tool, Bain’s (2017) summary states that Strategic Planning is a comprehensive process for determining what a business should become and how it…

Church in the Land of Commerce: 2. Management/Administration: Introduction

In the world of commerce, the seminal work of Frederick Winslow Taylor The Principles of Scientific Management is considered to have influenced almost all subsequent thinking on management.[1]According to him “The principal object of management should be to secure the maximum prosperity for the employer, coupled with the maximum prosperity for each employee.”[2]After bemoaning the fact that early 20thcentury American industry was suffering from defective systems of management and thus rampant inefficiency…

Church in the Land of Commerce: 1. Introduction

In the previous eight posts I have been trying to describe a number of basic principles which define the shape of the contemporary North American social imaginary. Taken together they both limit and empower by eliciting and overseeing the ways we live together, the things we value and consider worthy of pursuing. They are like the components of a language that make possible the expression of individual self-understanding within the common life…

The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary: 7. Reflexivity and Self-Love (Happiness)

The concern for one’s own opinion is also indicative of the Enlightenment’s turn inward. This first-person perspective, while anticipated by Plato and Aristotle, is rooted in the work of Augustine. His was a turn to the self. According to Taylor, “It was Augustine who introduced the inwardness of radical reflexivity and bequeathed it to the Western tradition of thought. The step was a fateful one, because we have certainly made a big…

The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary: 6. Progress and the Value Neutrality of Technology

The “modern”mindset also holds that “…as our knowledge becomes both broader and more unified, we will experience continued progress (and they have in mind not only technological progress, but also social, political, and moral progress).”Consider Condorcet’s [1743-1794] optimistic Sketch for A Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mindin which he declares that the whole foundation for belief in the natural sciences is this idea, that the general laws directing the…

The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary: 5. Consilience and the Primacy of Information

Another characteristic of Enlightenment thought, also related to the reductionistic methodology, is the notion of consilience. In essence, this is the conviction that all knowledge is unified, i.e., there is one, single pool of interrelated knowledge that can be accessed by anyone using the right methodology. Wilson speaks of the strong form of this idea, namely total consilience, which holds that nature is organized by simple universal laws of physics to which…

The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary: 4. Criticism and a Free-Floating Moral Order

As might have been expected, Enlightenment thought promoted more than the innocent use of reason. It turned into an insistence, a demand, for the freedom to criticize. According to Peter Gay, the Enlightenment’s thinkers defined philosophy as the organized habit of criticism. The philosophes’ glorification of criticism and their qualified repudiation of metaphysics make it obvious that the Enlightenment was not an Age of Reason but a Revolt against Rationalism. The claim…