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By Peter Neville Lewis, Feb 2 2018 12:49PM

Karl Marx was born 200 years ago. Marx saw a world where capital subjugated labour for its own return.

Big business today is the ultimate expression of capital which spawns technologies that have increasingly little need for traditional labour.

So what, I hear you say, about all the jobs that will be displaced by automation? What has happened to the labour of Marx’s day, the factory workers born of the industrial revolution that he thought should overthrow the bourgeoisie? Nearly all gone (in the developed world) and getting better elsewhere, replaced by better and more effective ways of working. And… in the meantime, much of humanity has been lifted out of abject poverty.

2017 was probably the very best year in the long history of humanity. A smaller share of the world’s people were hungry, impoverished or illiterate than at any time before. A smaller proportion of children died than ever before. Every year, the number of people around the world living in extreme poverty (less than about $2 a day) goes down by around 50 million, according to calculations by Max Roser, an Oxford University economist. Do the Corbynistas and their left wing allies elsewhere ever tell us this?

Let’s not seek to minimize the real struggles however, much less the real displacements that will come from new technologies. Yes there will be pain as these help the industrial and commercial world work better; more and more; eventually they will replace that old world completely.

This, though, is why it is worth remembering that the world is not static: to replace basic human labour is, in the long run, to free humans to create entirely new needs and the means to satisfy those needs. It’s what humanity has been doing for centuries, and the faith to believe it will happen again will be the best guide in figuring out how we navigate the challenges of the future.

Both the developed and under developed world of the 21st century are infinitely better places for humans to thrive in than was the case 100 years ago. Except for places like Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe etc where hopelessly misguided leaders following communist precepts have destroyed living standards for their people.

This is what Corbyn and his motley crew of Marxists, Trotsykites, Momentum followers and outright anarchists will do to us if we ever give them power!

Pedro the Jester

NB Acknowledgements to CapX for basic material for the above

By Peter Neville Lewis, Jan 18 2018 04:39PM

Here’s why Rationality and, by association, business planning often doesn’t work.

Consider these two well known experiments.

1. 10 people were assigned a random lottery ticket, 10 others were allowed to write the number of their choice on a blank ticket.

Before drawing the winner participants were asked how much they would sell their ticket for.

The Irrational answer for those with a chosen number was at least 5 times more than those holding random numbers.

But Rationally since it was a lottery every ticket had the same odds! Hmmm?

2. Soup cans are put on discount at a supermarket. Shoppers normally buy 3.3 cans on average.

But when there is a sign stating “offer limited to 12 cans” purchases go up to 7 average!

Psycologists call this an anchoring heuristic. In the first instance shoppers “anchor” on what they came to buy, but in the second they “anchor” on the 12 limit and adjust downwards.

Behavioural economics such as the above prove how predictably Irrational we can be in making what should be Rational decisions!

Does this happen in your organisation? Does the Rational get swamped by the Irrational and non-relevant “anchors”? Probably!

(For example Fairness and Integrity are part of every banker’s code yet....they sold us a fraudulent product called PPI!

So if this is a people “thing” what measures do you have to improve decision making and limit risk damage?

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, Dec 1 2017 09:28AM

Delighted to announce that our client CHARPAK Ltd was RUNNER UP (highly commended) in the entire UK SME category at the Nov 29, 2017 Business Culture Awards gala event.

Fantastic achievement guys!

Other winners on the night included Easyjet, Vodafone, TFL and the Home Office – so Charpak was in pretty good company.

So proud of them and, of course, the work we have done with them, including the production of their Charpak Charter of core values, over many years.

It’s a lovely payback for everyone!

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, Nov 15 2017 04:06PM

In the light of all the recent scandals my colleague and good friend, Prof Roger Steare, has just done some hair raising analytics based on our MoralDNA stats. It reveals how widely Fear is to be found in the workplace – and in some alarming places – particularly:

• Media (no surprises here)

• Banks (not again...)

• Politics (oops)

• Health Care (a bit of a surprise?)

The real worry is that in all four groups Women are more prone to the Fear Factor than Men, with Banks having the biggest gender gap.

This is the clear evidence for the breaking of the wall of silence by a hitherto intimidated silent minority.

Will Codes of Conduct help? Nope! In fact it will only worsen the fear of being found out.

What though if employees had a greater say in the choice of Managers and their approval?

And would applying some moral standards like Love, Fairness and Humility also help?

Fears never go away – you just get more comfortable at ignoring them (Jason Ritter)

Thanks Roger!

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, Oct 16 2017 07:45AM

Apologies to William of Wykeham (1324 -1404), founder of Winchester College whose original phrase, Manners maketh Man, is the motto of both Winchester and New College Oxford.

What does this slightly out of date aphorism (less heard nowadays) really mean? Wykeham went on to add:

It is by politeness, etiquette and charity that Society is saved from falling into savagery.

In other words the basis of civil society is how we behave towards each other.

People skills in business are critical – they help to oil the wheels.

However we see poor examples every day – and programmes like Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice don’t help as they are mostly populated by ill mannered, uber competitive individuals.

The arch priest of rudeness, and prime example, is sadly the President of the US for whom there is little respect from his global audience.

Autocracy and Power get you so far but without consideration and empathy, plus the willingness to listen to others’ points of view, the ability to influence others soon disappears.

As my friend Eve Poole of Ashridge Business School said recently:

“You get further in life by being liked than by being right!”

Learning to care about the outcomes of your decisions and behaviours is a skill which all leaders and managers need to acquire if they want to be genuinely successful.

“People don’t care about how much you know until THEY know how much YOU care!”

So, please can we all try and behave a little more graciously?

Pedro the Jester


Why The Corporate Jester?


Because there is always a need to “call it out”, point out the emperor’s clothes may not be quite so fancy as he thinks (or others are telling him) and boldly say what others dare not!


The role of court jester was well known centuries ago and they had the licence to attack pomposity or stupidity in their betters without fear of retribution. (Well nearly!) Many of Shakespeare’s plays have a fool who is the commentator on human foibles – the most famous probably being in King Lear, the architect of his own downfall through his wilfulness.  Familiar?


May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?  (Fool – King Lear, Act 1 scene 4)