Wise Society

From climate change to obesity it seems clear that our societies are less wise than we would like — or need. Wisdom can sound other-worldly. But we believe it can and should be eminently practical. That it offers a valuable way to frame an important and essential enquiry into how we can make our societies and institutions work better. Wisdom is an idea that requires us to reflect on ends as well as means — where we are going as well as how to get there. For example, we focus a great deal on growth, but what kind of growth do we want and why do we want it? Conversely, lofty ideals are all very well, but without practical ways to turn them into reality they may be of little value.

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Writings & projects

Writings and Essays

Working From Home Works - Bloom et al 2015

Just came across an interesting paper from Nick Bloom et al (QJE 2014): A rising share of employees now regularly engage in working from home (WFH), but there are concerns this can lead to ‘‘shirking from home.’’ We report the results of a WFH experiment at Ctrip, a 16,000-employee, NASDAQ-listed Chinese travel agency. Call center employees who volunteered to WFH were randomly assigned either to work from home or in the office for nine months.

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A Wise Society is an Awakened Society

The commitment of a wise society is awakening, individually and collectively. What is collective awakening? The next buddha is a sangha – Thich Nhat Hanh Awakening is, by its nature, hard to describe and impossible to define. But it can be alluded to and its presence is unmistakable. Just as awakened beings have certain noticeable characteristics so we can seek to describe the characteristics of an awakened collective, of an awakened society.

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Ursula Le Guin: the fears predominate these days

Actually, I don’t exactly have expectations. I have hopes, and fears. Mostly the fears predominate these days. When my kids were young I could still hope we might not totally screw up the environment for them, but now that we’ve done so, and are more deeply sold out than ever to profiteering industrialism with its future-horizon of a few months, any hope I have that coming generations may have ease and peace in life has become very tenuous, and has to reach far, far forward into the dark.

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