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Fred PhillipsRSS Feed of this column.

After a dozen years as a market research executive, Fred Phillips was professor, dean, and vice provost at a variety of universities in the US, Europe, and South America. He is a Senior Fellow of... Read More »

Facebook traffic and news items tell us a lot of Americans of northern European extraction are anxious and even fearful about the prospect that White Americans will soon be a minority. A subset seems further offended by court decisions bestowing civil rights on gay people. Another subset is inflamed over removals of the Confederate battle flag from public spaces. Then there are environmental regulations that seem to snatch job opportunities from an already embattled middle class – and other kinds of federal regulation that have set some Whites on anti-government, secessionist, or survivalist paths.

In Akira Kurosawa's timeless 1950 masterpiece (

A true story. To protect the innocent – and the writer – I’ll use no names.

The president of a large, multi-national engineering and construction firm decided to attract more contracts by reducing customers’ risks. A sound decision, yes? 

It was what he did (which was to offer fixed-price contracts instead of cost-plus contracts) and how he did it (by developing his people and by continuous process improvement) that got him fired - even though the move was showing every sign of success.

So why was he dismissed? The answer lies in that ol’ stereotype of the corporation as an externality-generating machine.

You may find these remarks cynical. You may find them helpful.


Following my Ten Commandments for Tech Companies – which changed their behavior not one whit – I offer these shalt-nots for US airlines.

Nonsensical but oddly beautiful Bing and Google translations from Facebook posts in a variety of languages: