Monday, April 25, 2011

Kuwait Government Can Learn from Warren Buffett

Unlike Jeffrey R. Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, who spends much of his time on airplanes traveling the world to visit the company's 287,000 employees and oversees a giant campus and management team in Fairfield, Connecticut, Mr. Buffett ``manages'' Berkshire's 257,000 employees with just 21 people at his headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.

NEWS ANALYSIS Dissecting Buffett's management ethos

Interesting what you can do and how much you can manage with 21 effective employees.. Compare this with the army of government employees in Kuwait!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Our Renaissance and Enlightenment

I am a brain child of two major turns of history, mainly european history but
those turns had a major bearing on the world history: the Renaissance and the

The Renaissance is essentially an italian story,
starting in the XVth century (the quatrocento), soon developing in the
Netherlands and finally over most of Europe (France was late, when it started we
were just finishing the one hundred year war against England and later we were
busy fighting each other in a civil war between catholics and

The Enlightenment is essentially a french story,
starting in the XVIIIth century (le Siècle des Lumières) which developed over
most of Europe, initially in a peaceful and progressive way until the french
revolution (1789-1799) and Napoléon Bonaparte's rules (1799-1815) gave this
development a sudden and dramatic acceleration. 

In both cases, but more radically with the Enlightenment, the idea was to
question what as been proclaimed as THE truth by the king and the pope acting
jointly. Suddenly, the society decided that men (and women, after a while) were
able to think by themselves, to form judgments and draw conclusions.
Renaissance liberated the arts and still to this days, we are amazed at the
creativity and freedom the arts of the Renaissance produced in an unthinkable
renewal after centuries of only religious art (also called sacred art). It was
also the time Luther and others challenged the authority of the clerical
hierarchy on the church and the faithful. 
The Enlightenment went further in
depending entirely on the ability of human beings to think by themselves. Thus,
there was no need anymore for "TRUTH" to come from the top, whether the sky
(God) or any other higher authority. The king was renamed the first civil
servant of the kingdom. A monarchy could still be acceptable provided it is a
constitutional monarchy (the english monarchy was seen as the model of the type)
but republic was even more trendy after the establishment of the american

My good friend Jacques on two important periods of world history that shaped the Western World. Will we have our own renaissance and enlightenment? It seems, judging from the events in the Middle East, we are finally heading in the right direction. It is too early to say though.. if those events will lead to an enlightened society or further dark age.. will it get better or would it have to get worse before it gets better?!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Historical Perspective

Segregation was the civil war’s long tail. In 1963, two years after the mock inauguration of Jefferson Davis, George Wallace, Alabama’s governor, stood on those same capitol steps and declared that “from this cradle of the Confederacy, this very heart of the great Anglo-Saxon Southland…I say segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation for ever.” Segregation was so unjust that it is easy to see it as inevitably doomed. It was not. It took blood and struggle to end it. But ended it was, and two decades later Wallace himself, the face of segregation, apologised for his words.

The civil war: Finally passing | The Economist

This resonates with what is going on the Middle East currently. As people are waking up and demanding their rights for freedom and democracy, we are beginning to wonder how it seemed acceptable all this time for dictatorships to exist and be considered normal in our part of the world!