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by Shanny Basar, Financial News 22 Jun 2012 

Nature – The Great Teacher

Michael O’Malley, vice-president of human capital at Sibson Consulting, took up beekeeping as a hobby and was surprised to find that it provided insights into his day job of advising on risk management.

WE NEED OUR BEES, ALIVE NOT DEAD

O’Malley writes in the Harvard Business Review that beehives are structured for long-term growth and as a result the pollen gatherers have become masters of risk management, unlike many “too big to fail” banks.

He writes: “When a colony gets too large, it becomes operationally unwieldy and grossly inefficient and the hive splits. Eventually, risk is spread across many hives and revenue sources in contrast to relying on one big, vulnerable “super-hive” for sustenance.”

Other lessons he has taken from his hobby are that queen bees do not appear to be subject to short-term quarterly pollen and nectar targets. “No queen bee is under pressure for quarterly pollen and nectar targets. The hive is only beholden to the long term. Indeed, beehives appear to underperform at times because they could collect more,” he writes.

Instead, decision-making is decentralised with individual bees empowered to take decisive action, bolstered by a “disciplined career development program”: “By the time bees are sent into the field, they are prepared — and, even then, novice foragers are frequently accompanied by veterans who show them how to efficiently and productively move among, and work, the flowers.”……More

Read O’Malley’s full article at Harvard Business Review Why bees are better risk managers than banks.

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Free markets were supposed to lead to free societies. Instead, today’s supercharged global economy is eroding the power of the people in democracies around the globe. Welcome to a world where the bottom line trumps the common good and government takes a back seat to big business.

It was supposed to be a match made in heaven. Capitalism and democracy, we’ve long been told, are the twin ideological pillars capable of bringing unprecedented prosperity and freedom to the world. In recent decades, the duo has shared a common ascent. By almost any measure, global capitalism is triumphant. Most nations around the world are today part of a single, integrated, and turbocharged global market. Democracy has enjoyed a similar renaissance. Three decades ago, a third of the world’s nations held free elections; today, nearly two thirds do.

Conventional wisdom holds that where either capitalism or democracy flourishes, the other must soon follow. Yet today, their fortunes are beginning to diverge. Capitalism, long sold as the yin to democracy’s yang, is thriving, while democracy is struggling to keep up. China, poised to become the world’s third largest capitalist nation this year after the United States and Japan, has embraced market freedom, but not political freedom. Many economically successful nations — from Russia to Mexico — are democracies in name only. They are encumbered by the same problems that have hobbled American democracy in recent years, allowing corporations and elites buoyed by runaway economic success to undermine the government’s capacity to respond to citizens’ concerns… more.. Read Rest of Article: How Capitalism Is Killing Democracy – Robert B. Reich

International Forum On Globalization – Vandana Shiva

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