Who was my favorite student this term?
5 years ago
One of the great pleasures of Reason — as an editor and (I hope) as a reader — is listening in on five decades of freewheeling conversation about how to make the world more free, more fair and more fun," says Mangu-Ward, a self-described "Beltway baby" and "D.C. lifer" who's an Alexandria, Virginia native and lives in the capital.Who would argue that there is not far too little emphasis on fun in American political discourse more generally? It is all grim conservatives going on about the end of civilization and endless war and grim progressives going on about their endless moral purification campaigns.
This is perhaps the most striking feature of “Jason Bourne”: Virtually all the major characters — good, bad and in-between — work for the same organization, at least on a consulting basis. There are dark whispers about external threats, and invocations of the tension between security and privacy in the digital age, but geopolitics and technology are scaffolding for what is essentially a movie about human resources challenges in a large bureaucracy.Maybe it was this labor economics angle that drew me in?
He forced us all to acknowledge that words cannot mean anything we want them to mean; that we have to impose a degree of discipline on our thinking.
A small group of employees also made an alarming discovery that helped explain why certain items appeared to be in stock at headquarters but were actually missing from stores. Within the chain’s replenishment system was a feature that notified the distribution centres to ship more product when a store runs out. Some of the business analysts responsible for this function, however, were turning it off—purposely. Business analysts (who were young and fresh out of school, remember) were judged based on the percentage of their products that were in stock at any given time, and a low percentage would result in a phone call from a vice-president demanding an explanation. But by flipping the auto-replenishment switch off, the system wouldn’t report an item as out of stock, so the analyst’s numbers would look good on paper. “They figured out how to game the system,” says a former employee. “They didn’t want to get in trouble and they didn’t really understand the implications.Quantitative performance management is never as simple as it seems.