Go Read Peopleware

If you spend a bunch of your time processing information (writing code, tax accounting, whatever) or work on a team that spends a significant amount of time processing information, you'll enjoy reading this book. The authors, Tom Demarco and Timothy Lister, cover (I'm not finished with it yet ;) factors that affect team performance, e.g. the environment, flow, policies, monitoring, hiring, team development. The book makes for apposite and entertaining reading, especially after Organizational Behavior.

It appears to me that the prosecution of a War in Iraq by the US is predicated upon several ideas, viz.

  1. Weapons of mass destruction haven fallen so much in price recently, that increasingly, anyone with a Grudge can go out and procure its immediate resolution.
  2. The US can create a happy, Grudge-less global society by militarily intervening in states that appear to be at odds with the US' view of the future.
I wholeheartedly agree with the first; there is no way we're going to put the brakes on global technological development (unless it puts the brakes on us ;). But the latter is a modern-day Manifest Destiny, as flawed as the US' policies in Central and South America. We cannot hope to use swords to create a stable lasting peace (we would only be creating a greater pax americana). Instead of bringing war to other peoples, I would much rather bring ideas.

Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas? -- Joseph Stalin.

What do Singapore, Japan, Canada, the US, Great Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden have in common? They all seem to have a place already in the US' happy global future. I would argue that this is because of two things: a public set of laws to which everyone is held accountable, and a meritocratic economy, where the industrious are rewarded. The "rule of law" creates an even playing ground for society, and provides the basis for all human interaction. The meritocratic economy ensures that the people, who are willing to work to achieve a goal, are tempted to reap the gains of creating things, instead of being forced out of the economy into goals of destruction.

My big question is: How can we virally spread the ideas of "rule of law" and "meritocratic economics"?