Deborah Ancona — Occupy Wall Street: Where are the leaders?

MIT Sloan Prof. Deborah Ancona

MIT Sloan Prof. Deborah Ancona

From CBS News

The President of the United States, major news media, bloggers, bankers, stand-up comics, and people all around the world are shaking their heads and wondering what the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protest is all about. Is it a display of leadership or anarchy, revolution or Sunday in the park? And the answer is, we just don’t know yet. This is a new form of drama that is just beginning to play itself out.

Many pundits argue that this is a leaderless protest. But this view of leadership is stuck in the old model of the single heroic leader in command and control mode. What we are witnessing is a different leadership model-distributed leadership. Here multiple leaders take on various leadership activities in an attempt to move toward the collective good. Read More »

Defaulting to big government—the unintended consequences of not raising the debt ceiling

MIT Sloan Prof. Simon Johnson

From CNN World

Leading United States congressmen are determined to provoke a showdown with the Obama administration over the federal government’s debt ceiling. Ordinarily, you might expect House Republicans to blink at this stage of the negotiations, but there is a hardline minority that actually appears to think that defaulting on government debt would not be a bad thing.

These representatives – with whom I’ve interacted at three congressional hearings recently – are convinced that the US federal government is too big relative to the economy, and that drastic measures are needed to bring it under control. Depending on your assessment of “Tea Party” strength on Capitol Hill, at least a partial debt default does not seem as implausible as it did in the past – and recent warnings from ratings agencies reflect this heightened risk.

But the consequences of any default would, ironically, actually increase the size of government relative to the US economy – the very outcome that Republican intransigents claim to be trying to avoid.

See the full post at Global Public Square

Simon Johnson, a professor of global economics and management at MIT Sloan, is the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and co-author of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown