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Facebook

| Nicolai Foss |

As you may have noticed — and as Peter points out in daily emails — my blogging activity has been rather light of late.  Part of this is caused by being a department head, a task that has a notorious (and entirely correct) reputation for letting your brain rot. And part of it has been caused by the completion of some major projects.  

I have , however, done the Facebook thing. FB seems to be overcoming its teenage bias, attracting more mature and normal people, such as academics. (Check the group Unlike 99.99% of the Facebook population, I was born in the 1960s). Indeed, I have noticed a very strong FB herd behavior among academics this last month, no doubt prompted by the summer vacation. Quite a number of people of interest to readers of O&M are now on FB (e.g., professors Jackson Nickerson, Nicholas Argyres, Russ Coff, and many others, including O&M’s own Peter Klein), and there are fan groups devoted to Herbert Simon, Michael Porter, Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Ludwig Mises, etc. started by students and academics on FB.

I have also noted that fewer of academic friends and acquaintances are using Skype. I conjecture that overall blogging activity — not to mention research and writing activity — has also diminished. Possible conclusion? Blogging is becoming passé and the immediate future belongs to Facebook. Who wants article-like treatments of esoteric subjects, when they can have one-liners about going to the gym, reading, etc.?

More seriously, there are in fact blogging features on FB for those who have more to say to the world than “NN has gone kite surfing.” Indeed, FB combines the features of the homepage with the blog — and introduces even greater possibilities of ego massage than these two (e.g., it is terribly easy to upload pics).

18 August 2008 at 4:50 am 7 comments

Stop Using Military Buzzwords Too

| Dick Langlois |

It seems that, like the British Local Government Association, the US military is keen to get its people to stop using buzzwords, at least according to this February 2007 “Army Doctrine Update” I happened to see posted on a bulletin board in the Brazilian military academy where the Schumpeter Society Conference was meeting. Here are some highlights.

  • Know the difference between maneuver and movement (we don’t maneuver networks; we move them).
  • Battlespace is no longer a joint or Army term. Use “operational environment.”
  • Use “civil considerations” (the C in METT-TC), not “human terrain.”
  • Don’t use “red zone” at all; the term is “close combat.”
  • Do not use “kinetic” and “nonkinetic” to describe operations, actions, activities, tasks, or targets. Use “lethal” and “nonlethal.”

 Or perhaps the point is that they want people to use the right buzzwords.

5 July 2008 at 4:54 pm 3 comments

Allen Nevins Dissertation Award

| Peter Klein |

I received an email the other day from the Economic History Association soliciting nominations for its dissertation prizes, the Allan Nevins Prize for best dissertation in U.S. or Canadian economic history and the Alexander Gerschenkron Prize for the best dissertation in the economic history of, you know, what our textbooks call ROW (the Rest of the World). This brought to mind a couple of personal connections:

1. Last year’s Nevins prize went to a University of Missouri student, Mark Geiger, who wrote on grassroots financing of the US Civil War.

2. My dad got his PhD in history at Columbia in the 1950s and, while teaching there as a lecturer, worked in Nevins’ office. Dad told an interviewer:

Allan Nevins had retired, but I was allowed by him to use a desk in his office. He had an office twice the size as this, which was filled with books from ceiling to floor and piled high. And if you were at Columbia you were immediately well known, you know. A newspaper or journal would call me up or a publisher, “Would you review this book for us?” And I wouldn’t know anything about it, “Yes Sir,” and I’d look on Nevins’ shelf and find three books on the subject. (Laughter)

Being at Columbia and around Nevins at that time was a great launching pad for an academic career. Dad, holding the rank of lecturer (lower than assistant professor), was invited to interview for the department head position at Long Island University, which he was offered and accepted. The job came with tenure and the rank of full professor. Dad’s the only person I’ve known to be a tenured full professor without ever having been an assistant or associate prof.!

3 June 2008 at 2:36 pm 1 comment


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Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Peter G. Klein and Micheal E. Sykuta, eds., The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics (Edward Elgar, 2010).
Peter G. Klein, The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur: Essays on Organizations and Markets (Mises Institute, 2010).
Richard N. Langlois, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy (Routledge, 2007).
Nicolai J. Foss, Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Raghu Garud, Arun Kumaraswamy, and Richard N. Langlois, eds., Managing in the Modular Age: Architectures, Networks and Organizations (Blackwell, 2003).
Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, eds., Entrepreneurship and the Firm: Austrian Perspectives on Economic Organization (Elgar, 2002).
Nicolai J. Foss and Volker Mahnke, eds., Competence, Governance, and Entrepreneurship: Advances in Economic Strategy Research (Oxford, 2000).
Nicolai J. Foss and Paul L. Robertson, eds., Resources, Technology, and Strategy: Explorations in the Resource-based Perspective (Routledge, 2000).

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