Why Can’t We All Get Along?


Money Quote Weds. Sept. 27

Is it because we’ve forgotten how?

Ah, right, this kind of called it.

The theme of this year’s Shift Forum is “Business Must Lead,” but its framework — the how of the event — is “Rational Discourse.” So I’m fascinated by any story that touches on the topic of how we disagree with each other these days. According to this piece, it’s a dying art. Sad! Money quote: “In other words, to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say.” A worthy read.

On a related note, writer Jessi Hempel wonders what’s changed in America (and the world) and boils it down to trust — in people over societal institutions. And she identifies an attenuator of that trust: Facebook, in particular, its CEO. Money quote: “It raises the obvious question: Can Mark Zuckerberg be trusted? This is no less than an existential question for the company. It highlights the challenge with trusting people over institutions: People are fickle. They change. They disappoint.”

Look, I want to learn about tax policy about as much as you do. But this stuff is going to be super important to all of us in business, and it’s worth paying attention when politicians start fiddling with government revenue models, especially when most of the world is pre-occupied with NFL players and North Korean nukes. Money quote (literally): “Republicans plan to collapse the number of brackets from seven to three. The standard deduction would almost double to $12,000 for a single filer and $24,000 for married couples, meaning Trump can accurately argue that many more low income earners would pay no tax under his plan. As we previously reported, the top tax bracket would fall from 39.6% to 35%.”

Trump ran on “The US needs to be made great again,” but the WEF’s new Global Competitive Report puts America at #2. Not #1, but nowhere near the bottom either. Money quote: “The WEF measures competitiveness by considering 12 factors that would determine the level of productivity in a country, including institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health, education, financial-market development, technological readiness, market size, and innovation. It also takes into account a survey of nearly 13,000 business executives from 133 countries.”

I’ll say it in less than 140 characters: I’m not sure why this matters. But everyone is talking about it, which has to make for a happy day at Twitter headquarters. Money quote: “In the end, the 140-character limit symbolized a problem for Twitter: It made it harder to get people to tweet, especially if they weren’t used to it. For many, it could be the difference between becoming a new user and giving up immediately. After all, what can you possibly say in just 140 characters?”

Wired argues that the accepted narrative around Facebook’s ad platform being “out of control” is a ruse. Money quote: “There’s a small problem with this argument: Facebook has repeatedly shown it can police content on its platform, particularly when doing so affects its $27 billion business. “We’re just a platform” is a convenient way to avoid taking full responsibility for an increasingly serious set of problems.”

Leave a Reply