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Toqueville and Factions

Kirkhill

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Loachman

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I read the title of this thread as "Toqueville" before I opened it.

I was expecting to see a Dr Seuss-like tale of a magic, rhyming place where no weird-looking beings ever wear gloves as they prance about while delighting in Sergeants-Major's heads colourfully detonating everywhere.

Edit: Now that I look at it again, the thread title is actually "Toqueville".
 
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daftandbarmy

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Beware of 'community washing':

Companies beware the cult of community

The trend for promoting ‘belonging’ risks doing a disservice to the truly public-spirited

In 2017, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, assailed by criticism of how the social media group had facilitated fake news and election-rigging, recast its purpose. Its new mission is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”. ‘Belonging’ at work can become slightly creepy, even cultish. I draw the line at describing office friends as ‘family’ As the Chernobyl experience suggests, the community fad has a dark side. The mildest symptom is what I heard one Silicon Valley executive describe as “community-washing”, where businesses set up communities to help improve, or whitewash, their reputation. “You see it everywhere,” she said. “User communities, customer communities, with guidelines and rules. I see it being woven into society, but not in any useful way.”

The trend may even be counter-productive. In Entrusted, their book on reforming capitalism, Ong Boon Hwee and Mark Goyder warn that social media’s “new forms of connectedness” could replace real, diverse communities, rooted in neighbourhoods or villages, with self-selecting, homogeneous, virtual ones. Tight-knit communities can also be the opposite of inclusive. Staff who do not conform to some ill-defined “cultural fit” are made to feel unwelcome, or never hired in the first place. “Perhaps you don’t belong here” may be one of the cruellest hints to a team member to look for a job elsewhere.

Unlike, say, villages, corporate communities are impermanent. Their members are subject to official sanction or dismissal, which strains the ties of trust that bind them. I understand why the chief executive of asset manager Invesco recently said cutting 12 per cent of its staff was “uncomfortable for everybody”, but I imagine the discomfort was borne disproportionately by those carrying their desk contents in a box to the exit. Recommended FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2021 The Theranos tale exposes the dangers lurking in Silicon Valley “Belonging” at work can become slightly creepy, even cultish. I draw the line at describing office friends as “family” — a term that has crept into corporate communications. Real families are different: much as we may sometimes want to, it is impossible to fire blood relations.

Community and belonging are powerful forces. It is up to companies to make sure they do not abuse them.

Companies beware the cult of community
 

Kirkhill

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The Guardian Faction or the Telegraph Faction? Or perhaps the Times Faction? Which community are you?
 

daftandbarmy

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The Guardian Faction or the Telegraph Faction? Or perhaps the Times Faction? Which community are you?

I was thoroughly agnostic, reading wise, in the UK. Most people I knew were the same.

The 'Daily Prole' always had some great 'blood boiler' on the go, and was usually really well written overall. The Tory-graph had great international coverage from some 'frontline' no one had ever heard of.

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to read all of them. Especially the Sunday editions. And the Economist and the Spectator too, of course.

Sadly, in Canada, we seem to have a dearth of papers, 'quality' or otherwise.
 

Kirkhill

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I enjoy being able to read the Guardian, when my blood pressure permits, without having to pay for it. I agree that it has well written articles. My problem with it is that money that it generates from its sales goes to support a faction with whose positions I generally disagree. The reverse situation applies for a good number of its readers and the Telegraph.

The point is that those papers, started at the beginning of the "liberal" era, those pamphlets, reflected factions that crossed communities and created "communities" that crossed geographical boundaries. The mechanism was the printing press.

The modern era repeats the experiment with the mechanism being the Internet. Just as before, factions are producing their own pamphlets to appeal to their own communities and seek to enlarge it.

Prior to the printing press the mechanism was the itinerant - both priest and pedlar.

Radio, for a very short period of time in the early 1920s also presented a similar mechanism. But it was quickly controlled and licenced by national broadcasting corporations.

In all cases the mechanism, the media, afforded opportunity to redefine factions, usually to the benefit of those factions that were at odds with the establishment faction. In all cases the establishment faction found methods to co-opt the mechanism to its benefit. Eventually.

The difference is that over time the period of disruption created by the new mechanisms, the new media, has dramatically shortened. It no longer takes the establishment as long as it did to co-opt the mechanism. In fact, in the case of the internet, and its step-father Cable, it is arguable that the establishment co-opted the mechanism at its birth.

I return to an old observation. There is nothing new under the sun. People are people. People divide themselves into groups. Groups conflict. And yet, we're still here. Some how or other we manage to cope. And endure.
 
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