Beyond Starbucks: How Racism Shapes Customer Service

By Alexandra C. Feldberg and Tami Kim of the New York Times

On May 29, Starbucks will close 8,000 locations to administer racial bias training for 175,000 of its employees. The move is a response to national outrage over the arrests of two black patrons while they were simply waiting for a meeting to begin at a Philadelphia coffee shop.

But racial bias training for employees is not enough to address the epidemic of discrimination by American companies.

Over the past two years, we have investigated discrimination in customer service by conducting large-scale field experiments in the hospitality industry. We have repeatedly found that front-line workers exhibit racial bias in the quality of customer service they provide.

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Posted in African-American, Customer Service, Fairness, New York Times, Racism, Thought-Provoking Analysis

How Republics End

By Paul Krugman of the New York Times (originally posted December 19, 2016)

Many people are reacting to the rise of Trumpism and nativist movements in Europe by reading history — specifically, the history of the 1930s. And they are right to do so. It takes willful blindness not to see the parallels between the rise of fascism and our current political nightmare.

But the ’30s isn’t the only era with lessons to teach us. Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the ancient world. Initially, I have to admit, I was doing it for entertainment and as a refuge from news that gets worse with each passing day. But I couldn’t help noticing the contemporary resonances of some Roman history — specifically, the tale of how the Roman Republic fell.

Here’s what I learned: Republican institutions don’t protect against tyranny when powerful people start defying political norms. And tyranny, when it comes, can flourish even while maintaining a republican facade.

On the first point: Roman politics involved fierce competition among ambitious men. But for centuries that competition was constrained by some seemingly unbreakable rules. Here’s what Adrian Goldsworthy’s “In the Name of Rome” says: “However important it was for an individual to win fame and add to his and his family’s reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic … no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power.”

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Posted in civilization, Democracy, Donald Trump, Elections, leadership, Thought-Provoking Analysis

Iconic Leadership

by David Murrin

Leadership should be viewed as service.

One of the key elements in safely resolving the crisis of the western world and ultimately moving towards a Sentient World is the concept of how power is wielded by our political leaders, and all those in positions of authority.

The Greeks recognized two of the expressions of power, which we might naively call “good power” and “bad power.” They believed that power in itself is not good or bad, anymore than anger is good or bad. Yet its expression can be harmful or beneficial, damaging or appropriate.

In ancient Greece, a man might use one kind of power (despos) toward slaves, but use a different kind of power (kyros) to his wife and children. In that patriarchal system, men held the power in the culture – yet vocabulary itself helped men understand appropriate expression of their authority over others. Kyros indicates a legitimate, but boundaried, compassionate moral authority whose wielder takes into consideration the good of those over whom it is exercised. Such restricted power is never abused for self interest. If we combine the concept of Kyros with the perspective that leadership should be viewed as service to those that are being led, then we have a value system that should define…

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Posted in David Murrin, leadership

Five takeaways from the Comey interview

by Niall Stanage of The Hill

Former FBI Director James Comey’s much-hyped interview with George Stephanopoulos aired on ABC’s “20/20” Sunday night, with huge ratings guaranteed. What were the main takeaways?

It’s on — Comey hit Trump full-force.

Comey threw big punches from start to finish, beginning with some derisive comments about the President’s appearance and concluding with his belief that Trump is “morally unfit” to sit in the Oval Office.

There were many other extraordinary moments, including Comey’s assertion that it’s possible Trump is compromised by Russia, an acknowledgement that he considered Trump an outright liar since their first private post-inauguration meeting….

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Posted in Controversial, Donald Trump, James Comey, Politics, The Hill, Thought-Provoking Analysis

Future wars will be fought with physical and cyber robots: Get ready for the Internet of Battle Things

by Katyanna Quach of the Register (UK)

A US Army researcher believes that wars will be fought with human soldiers commanding a team of physical and cyber robots to create a network of “Internet of Battle Things” in the future.

“Internet of Intelligent Battle Things (IOBT) is the emerging reality of warfare.”

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Posted in Artificial Intelligence, Controversial, Internet of Things, Robots, war