This is a book written by an American academic called Joseph Stiglitz. I came across a podcast of the author talking about what he was trying to get across, citing numerous examples of his proposed reform agenda.
He’s canny, in maintaining a nice balance of argument, so that you never quite tell if he’s for or against. Taking it as an inevitable force, he instead focuses on how to make it work ‘better’’.
I listened originally stimulated by a module I myself studied eons ago at uni on ‘international business’, in the days when my only exposure to China or India was their wonderful food (Peking duck pancakes & Baltis simultaneously changed my life!) and bewildering spin bowlers. Yet it wasn’t long before I spotted a useful concept to help my selling.
I’m aware of a recent drive by one of my customers to develop their sales people. They’ve identified eleven elements of the role where capability can be measured and so improved. One such element is “Be A Trusted Advisor”.
Stiglitz believes Globalisation should bring innovation and creativity. He cites the area of intellectual property as being what economists call “inefficient”. (As I’m loving Tim Harford‘s book, Undercover Economist, at the moment, I’ll use his definition of an inefficient market; one where “we can think of something that would make at least one person better off without making anyone else worse off.”)
Why restrict knowledge? What’s the benefit of giving a single firm monopoly over use of knowledge and so by definition, give them a monopoly? We all know monopolies are bad, right? Bad for society yes, but the large corporations that hold them? Not really….how many monopolistic outfits are places of dynamic innovation, where profits allow more creativity? Can’t really think of one myself…… and he examines drug developers that focus more on lifestyle, rather than life-saving pills, when a malaria drug should benefit us more than hair-replacement therapy.
He then quotes an American President, Jefferson; ‘Knowledge is like a candle, when one lights another it does not diminish light of the first’.
So I got to thinking how being seen as a trusted advisor fits in with this ethos. Your client gets to view you as someone to work with long-term when you start benefiting them from the knowledge you pass on. Even better when your knowledge spurs their innovation and creativity, and you can demonstrate that fact.