Sunday, May 25, 2008

In Which I Make an Excuse, and Ask a Favor

Sorry for my long absence from this page. My excuse: many travels in April (Newport Beach, Honolulu, Chicago, Palm Desert), a 3-week non-serious but inconvenient illness, and too much work. Still working on the work – was invited on short notice to be commencement speaker and to lecture in Lima, and have become a consulting editor for Elsevier’s Scirus pages. Have had to turn down, for the time being, further invitations to teach in Malaysia and Guatemala.

Cleverly managed to miss only two tango lessons during this period, at the price of infecting my beautiful teacher with the bronchitis. She’s forgiven me.

Meanwhile the world goes on, and leaves no shortage of things for me to comment on. You can help me on two remaining projects, and if you do, I can return sooner to the kind of blogging you expect here.

Project 1: An edited book on entrepreneurship and innovation for MBA students in developing countries. About half the chapters are in hand; I need volunteer authors for the remaining chapters. Email me if interested. Much appreciated.

Project 2: Events ranging from the Exxon Valdez oil spill to today’s mortgage crisis have evidenced not only failures of companies and institutions, but failures or absence of mechanisms for coordination of institutions. What dropped between the cracks of the State of Alaska, Exxon Corp., the Alyeska Corporation, and the feds made the difference between a possible recovery from the disaster and the cleanup that never happened.

Mortgage originators, bundlers and securitizers, investors and regulators constructed a shell game in which no one was accountable and (mixed metaphor coming!) the fox guarded the henhouse.

Enron, Andersen, the SEC and Congress? The Pentagon’s untraceable payments to contractors for unknown deliverables? Further examples aren’t hard to find.

Here’s how you can help, as I write non-blog articles on the topic of inter-institutional relationships in a hyper-connected world:

1. Are accountability and foxes in the henhouse the central issues here? Can you suggest others?

2. What are possible solutions that have to be looked into? Term limits in Congress? Better checks and balances? Still more campaign finance reform? More regulation of corporations? Criminal penalties for creating moral hazard?

Think out of the box and send me the results, which I will acknowledge gratefully in any publications. Thanks.

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