Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Markets are based on moral imbecility because the people who worked hard to define the ideology are vicious spoilt children. Naturally, their ethics reflect this - qv Bush who is the mushroom-like excrescence on top of a fungoid crap-fed culture of white-bread privilege that has infected the US body politic.

If Aspergers types find economic favour, it's a symptom of that fact, not a cause of it.

Marketista ideology is a direct result of a handful of rich crazies in the US deciding to create a shift rightward. It's been one of the most successful social engineering projects in the whole of history, because they've effectively created a huge propaganda edifice made of many bricks, all different, all apparently unrelated, pushing the same party line to create a compelling illusion of unanimity.

The institutional pathology of a corporation, which drives people to engage in amoral behaviour vis-a-vis the outside is highly dependant upon socialisation within the firm. This is the same principle that governs armies, etc. In fact if you look at the Bush admin you'll see a (too) tightly knit social group. There's a lot of social capital right there.

The amorality of these groups is based upon a simple us vs. them distinction universal to all social animals. There is nothing pathological about that.

It follows that having a social disorder like aspergers that makes it practically impossible to socialise will always be an obstacle to operating well within that setting. People with such disorders will only be hired when they can compensate for that failing with some kind of specially marketable skill.

Now the picture of businesses hiring swathes of people with severe social disorders seems to me to be based upon popular myths spread by hollywood. I'd give 10 to 1 odds that the mathemeticians this receptionist was talking about are at most 'freaks' with no more certifiable social disorders than not fitting into her ideas about corporate representativeness.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 05:53:58 AM EST
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The amorality appears because the pathological types - I mean the crazies, not the followers - define the culture.

I'd guess most followers will do what they're told, within reasonable limits. If this were a formal theocracy they'd be doing theocratic things instead of sitting in offices doing salesandmarketing or product design or corporate law.

The crazies have additional leverage because they control access to basic resources - if you don't work for them, you don't eat and you have nowhere to live.

So it's a combination of physical enforcement (mediated by the illusion of money, and access to it) and passive compliance, with rewards for those who acquiesce without thinking too hard about what they're doing and why.

A limited focus on specific problem solving without any awareness of context is more of a help than a hindrance in this kind of environment.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 07:56:02 AM EST
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I feel kind of odd here defending the morality of our capitalist overlords, but this 'crazy' or 'psychopath' angle might also be overplayed. At least we should not disregard the systemic angle. The way a manager behaves is also defined by things like 'success' (getting a good severance package) and 'belonging' (being able to host a party on one's yacht for the old boys). Of course it can be that these people really lack every last trace of empathy. But it can also be that they're just good at compartmentalising. The only judgement they'll really be confronted with is that of their family and friends, after all. And they are usually on the same yacht.

As for limited problem solving, people in companies are also more effective when they work in a team and to work in a team you need to be able to at least fake being a 'team player'. A sociopath can do that, an autist can't.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 08:39:55 AM EST
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By crazies I specifically mean the Scaifes and other trust-fund brats, who have been funding the neo-lib counter-revolution for the last thirty years.

Many of them seem - at best - to have personality disorders and/or substance abuse issues. The Bush family seems to be part of that group, and displays all of the delightful traits that make them so distinctive as a group.

These are highly toxic and confused people, and we're all paying for their illnesses now.

But beyond that - management probably attracts authoritarian types, but I don't think all management is bad by definition.

The problem - as you say - is which behaviours are rewarded. And with the crazies in charge, they won't be the right ones.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 12:48:50 PM EST
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