The Dilbertization of discourse

What's the nature of professionalism? What does it mean to "act professionally?"

My dictionary defines "professional" as one engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime. In other words, the primary definition of "professionalism" is pecuniary. It's a link with money. Specifically, how to get it and how to keep on getting it.

Professional is often contrasted with "amateur." Particularly where the latter term is use pejoratively as in, "He's just an amateur."

But the root of amateur is the French word for love, amour. Thus an amateur in a given endeavor is one who does it, literally, for love. Contrast that now with one who is in it only for the money.

Who do you think will do a better job?

Fifty Herbert Hoovers

From the Business Insider: "Paul Krugman continues to argue that a return to 'austerity -- an effort by world governments to reduce the massive deficits that have followed the financial crisis -- will bury the global economy. Just as bad, Krugman says, austerity will cause deficits and debt to balloon even more, because tax receipts will plummet."

Guess what approach Indiana is taking to the crisis? The title of this entry refers to the 50 governors of these United States, all of whom are adopting fiscal and economic policies disturbingly similar to those adopted by Herbert Hoover in the early 1930s. With disastrous results.

The Mothership of all research parks

The Mothership of all research parks is, of course, North Carolina's Research Triangle Park (RTP). It came into existence largely because of a tax feud between Edson DeCastro, the founder and CEO of Data General, and the governor of Massachusetts over the tax burden that Data General had in the Bay State.

DeCastro, a man with a well-deserved reputation for ruthlessness in his business dealings and his intentional buggering of Data General's work environment (see Tracy Kidder's fantastic Soul of a New Machine), played chicken with the governor and won, at least in the short term. Data General's major research and development activities decamped from Massachusetts Bay to the rebel states, and the southern economic miracle got a new lease on life.

But not Data General. Within a decade of quitting the colony, it was gone.

A victim of changing times to which it could not adapt.

Gregory Travis can be reached at greg@littlebear.com.