Philip Whiteley's Blog

January 9, 2013

Time for a radical shift in 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — felipewh @ 2:16 pm

A Happy New Year to you. I hope that 2013 holds much promise for you. It is set to be a major year for me, as it sees the launch of my first major policy book in March (April in the USA). New Normal, Radical Shift, is co-authored with executive coach and sustainability mentor Neela Bettridge, and is published by Gower Publishing. We’ve received some highly promising pre-publication reviews from Diane Coyle, vice-chair of the BBC and author of The Economics of Enough; and from Jim Neal, founder of the Agema Group and Democrat candidate for the Senate in 2008.

We challenge the central belief of the ‘old normal’, that profits are made by exploiting workers and the environment. In New Normal, Radical Shift we seek to demonstrate that this belief is false, opening up enormous possibilities in a ‘new normal’ of enhanced working lives, environmental protection and business success. It is a challenging read for business – but also for trade unions, NGOs and campaigners for better working conditions. The central case of New Normal, Radical Shift is that progress is prevented by shared beliefs across the traditional political spectrum.

Featuring case studies, and based on considerable evidence and the experience of the two authors, New Normal, Radical Shift creates a positive and practical agenda: that the scope for cooperation to solve some of the bigger challenges is far greater than the bi-partisan political culture of the West would assume.

More details and articles on the theme can be found at the blog here: http://radical-shift.net

During 2013, I will naturally be promoting themes from the book. In addition, I am seeking to expand the range of publications to which I contribute, as I emerge from a period of research and writing for the book. To summarize some of the themes that I can cover, I have categorized them into those that relate to the book, and others.

Themes from New Normal, Radical Shift are summarized in the mini-manifesto, published last November.

Other subject areas that I will be looking to cover this year are:

  • Risk management and how it has to encompass people. It is increasingly well recognized, following the influential books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, that economic and market risk has to encompass a behavioural dimension, but much discussion understates the matter. Behavioural economics is a tautology, not a sub-branch: ultimately, all economic data merely reflects human decisions.
  • Rethinking retirement and the ageing demographic. Increases in the age profile in the UK and other countries is not tapering off. This is leading to sharp rises not only in people above normal retirement age, but also of very old people, and coincides with declining pension fund returns. The Conservatives are talking about abolishing the retirement age. Is this inevitable?
  • Communication, teamwork and engagement. These are not peripheral or ‘soft’ issues, but rather the key to making teams and departments work, as numerous studies show.
  • Business and personal development, hand-in-hand: As the UK economy rebalances, it is essential to encourage start-up companies to grow, including internationally. There is now a body of knowledge on how this is most effective when it combines personal and organizational development (see http://4eandg.com/).
  • Is there too much law? Are we making the law our conscience? In many areas of activity, such as employment relations, taxation and consumer standards, there is a huge body of law and a marked increase in litigation. This makes matters fairer for many, but when a defence of tax minimization or risky trading is: ‘We’ve done nothing illegal’, it raises the question of whether the law has replaced values, and if we are leveling down, not up.
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