Edward Hadas

What companies are good for

By Edward Hadas
May 2, 2012

The debate on executive pay is often just a shouting match, in part because there’s no agreement on what bosses are actually paid to do. The “shareholder value” approach provides a simple answer, but one that it is both practically and morally wrong. Aristotle had better ideas.

Prosperity need not kill religion

By Edward Hadas
April 25, 2012

Thomas Carlyle’s fulminations against the spiritual damage wrought by factories are almost two centuries old, but the sentiment is current wherever industrialisation is rampant. “The huge demon of Mechanism,” he wrote, “smokes and thunders, panting at his great task, oversetting whole multitudes of workmen … so that the wisest no longer knows his whereabout.”

Why “suzhi” should go global

By Edward Hadas
April 18, 2012

What’s the goal of development? A standard answer is higher gross domestic product. A few specialists prefer to talk about building capabilities. I have another idea: development should be about suzhi, a Chinese word usually translated as quality.

Towards a better society in China

By Edward Hadas
April 11, 2012

As a slogan, the Three Represents was puzzling. It was in 2000 that Jiang Zemin decided that the once revolutionary Chinese Communist Party would represent the private sector, which he called “advanced productive forces”; along with its traditional constituencies of intellectuals (“advanced culture”) and workers (“the overwhelming majority of the people”).

More charity, less bureaucracy

By Edward Hadas
March 21, 2012

“Charity is a cold, grey, loveless thing. If a rich man wants to help the poor, he should pay his taxes gladly, not dole out money at whim.” Clement Attlee wrote that in 1920. As British prime minister after World War Two, Attlee turned thought into policy. The welfare state that he helped create has decimated private charities for the poor.

What’s really wrong with Europe?

By Edward Hadas
March 14, 2012

The euro zone debt crisis shows that something is seriously wrong with Europe. But what is it?

The lesson of Fukushima

By Edward Hadas
March 7, 2012

The first anniversary of Japan’s nuclear disaster is a good time to take stock. Opponents and proponents of nuclear power are doing so, and they have come to the same conclusion: “We were right all along.”

Finding a way to make finance less sacred

By Edward Hadas
February 29, 2012

Has finance become a “false divinity in the world”? Pope Benedict XVI thinks so. “We see that the world of finance can dominate the human being,” he has said.  “[It is] no longer an instrument to foster well-being… [it] becomes a power that oppresses, that almost demands worship.”

Don’t obsess about GDP measures

By Edward Hadas
February 22, 2012

An American, a Frenchman and a physicist were talking about some unusual weather. “It was twice as hot this afternoon as this morning”, said the American, “the temperature went up from 40 to 80 degrees.” The Frenchman interjected: “That’s in Fahrenheit. In Celsius, it was six times hotter.” The physicist was scornful. “On the only really scientific measure, the Kelvin scale, the increase was a piffling 5 percent.”

In praise of cooperative thinking

By Edward Hadas
February 15, 2012

Nothing stimulates anti-capitalist feelings like large sums of money changing hands in the hope of huge profits. A recent example: the prospect that Facebook could be worth some $100 billion to its shareholders. The website’s users might prefer less advertising and a lower valuation. But no one asked them. This inspired my Reuters colleague Paul Smalera to suggest that Facebook go co-op. Smalera won’t get his way, but he’s right to wonder whether the hunt for shareholder profits makes the world a better place.