What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

Peter Drucker

1. Going Boss-free: Utopia or “Lord of the Flies”?: Some bosses make you feel managed; other bosses help you to manage yourself. And some offices don’t even have bosses. Knowledge@Wharton considers the hazards and benefits of going bossless altogether: “Is it the wave of the future or an idea that will always be a utopian dream, given the inevitable intrusion of human nature?”

2. Economic Measurement: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke isn’t just a numbers guy. He’s also a man who cares about what all those numbers mean in real life—whether they really correspond to the true purpose of economics. In a speech delivered at the 32nd General Conference of the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, Bernanke lays out some of his thoughts: “The ultimate purpose of economics, of course, is to understand and promote the enhancement of well-being. Economic measurement accordingly must encompass measures of well-being and its determinants.”

3. Australia’s Latest Import: U.S. Electricians: If you’re wondering where your electrician went, you might want to look Down Under. Blogging at Bloomberg Businessweek, Harold L. Sirkin of the Boston Consulting Group writes about how Australia has begun to poach scarce electricians from the United States. In today’s small world, skill is skill everywhere, and we might consider producing more skilled workers and fewer college graduates. “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median income of U.S. electricians in 2010 was $48,250 per year, or $23.20 per hour,” Sirkin notes. “Many college graduates earn less.”

4. The Dx Comment of the Week: In response to our question about whether Milton Friedman was really, as Peter Drucker suggested, a disciple of John Maynard Keynes, reader Greg Zerovnik said we had focused on too narrow a stretch of time:

Friedman was, indeed, an early Keynesian. He himself acknowledged this to have been the case. But he saw the light and came to adopt the [Friedrich] Hayekian view, in quite sharp contradistinction to Keynes. His later writings point out Keynesian shortcomings, while arguing for the freedom of markets to find their own level. Ultimately, both he and [Alan] Greenspan believed in free market rationality too much. Friedman and Greenspan both thought that high-IQ bankers and investors were entirely capable of making rational decisions.