Tag Archives: autopoiesis

Execution, not policy

From a recovering management consultant:

McKinsey is capitalism distilled. It is global, mobile, flexible, and unabashedly pro-market and pro-management. The firm has an enormous stake in things continuing more or less as they are. Working for all sides, McKinsey’s only allegiance is to capital. As capital’s most effective messenger, McKinsey has done direct harm to the world in ways that, thanks to its lack of final decision-making power, are hard to measure and, thanks to its intense secrecy, are hard to know. The firm’s willingness to work with despotic governments and corrupt business empires is the logical conclusion of seeking profit at all costs. Its advocacy of the primacy of the market has made governments more like businesses and businesses more like vampires. By claiming that they solve the world’s hardest problems, McKinsey shrinks the solution space to only those that preserve the status quo. And it is through this claim that the firm attracts thousands of “the best and the brightest” away from careers that actually serve the public.

Read the whole thing; it goes a long way to explaining how we ended up where we are right now. McKinsey is distinguished more by its size than its style; in the UK, your Capitas and KPMGs and Deloittes and PricewaterhousemotherfuckingCoopers are in much the same business, and its in no small part due to them that we don’t really have a government any more.

The vital thing to note is that it’s not a matter of evil people doing evil things; it’s a matter of mostly well-meaning people being shaped by an ecosystemic prioritisation of profit first and foremost. We have to understand that McKinsey is not a failure of capitalism; as the informant above puts it so neatly, it is rather that McKinsey is capitalism distilled, perfected, exemplified.