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MEN, IDEAS, AND POLITICS by Peter F. Drucker


by Peter F. Drucker

Pub Date: July 28th, 1971
ISBN: 1422131602
Publisher: Harper & Row

Though it offers gleanings for students of economic theory and business, on balance this assortment of essays lacks weight as well as integration. Drucker's introduction tries to frost over the latter defect by proclaiming a commitment to "political ecology," meaning that everything human is related to the whole, but this only accentuates the limits of the thirteen articles themselves. First published in journals like Harper's and The Public Interest from the late '40's to 1970, they deal with Calhoun, Henry Ford, the art of being an effective president, the obsolescence of traditional American political alignments, and the American future -- in 1966 Drucker perceives that "foreign affairs are likely to be one of the political storm centers" (but nowhere in the collection is there a forthright comment on Vietnam). When he delves into philosophical matters, he is usually shallow and often inaccurate, as in a piece on Kierkegaard, and he is equally so when anatomizing the younger generation: in 1966 he thinks Sartrean existentialism is big on campus and perceives a shift from the "outer-directed" students of the '50's to "inner-direction," with an embarrassing misuse of the terms. All these efforts could have been left in the files with little loss: the economic essays have more interest, especially a perceptive 1946 article on Keynes' aims and inconsistencies, two pieces on Japanese management, remarks on multinational corporations, and a 1970 essay which, in discussing various kinds of mergers, points out the myths of self-financing corporations and managerial rule. Drucker, a business school professor, has written several books, including The Concept of the Corporation (1964) and Technology, Management and Society (1970).