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Daily Archives: December 6, 2022

When McKinsey Comes to Town: The Hidden Influence of the World’s Most Powerful Consulting Firm

London Review of Book, Laleh Khalili – “When McKinsey Comes to Town: The Hidden Influence of the World’s Most Powerful Consulting Firm by Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe. Bodley Head, 354 pp., £20, October, 978 1 84792 625 8: “…Bogdanich and Forsythe’s​ book is a damning account of the way McKinsey has made workplaces unsafe, ditched consumer protections, disembowelled regulatory agencies, ravaged health and social care organisations, plundered public institutions, hugely reduced workforces and increased worker exploitation. It begins with an account of McKinsey-driven cost-cutting at US Steel, which led to the deaths of two steelworkers. Similar measures at Disney resulted in a young man being crushed to death on the Big Thunder Mountain rollercoaster. Decades after the consequences of smoking became clear, McKinsey continued to work for the big tobacco producers. As the extent of the US opioid epidemic became apparent, McKinsey advised Purdue Pharma to find ‘growth pockets’ where OxyContin could be more easily prescribed, and lobbied regulators for laxer rules on prescriptions. McKinsey’s unethical activities pack the pages of this book, while its supercilious vocabulary of ‘values’ and ‘service’ runs like an oil slick over slurry.

The primary product sold by all management consultants – both software developers and strategic organisers – is the theology of capital. This holds that workers are expendable. They can be replaced by machines, or by harder-working employees grateful they weren’t let go in the last round of redundancies. Managers are necessary to the functioning of corporations – or universities, or non-profit organisations – and the more of them the better. Long working hours and bootstrap entrepreneurialism are what give meaning to life. Meritocracies are a real thing. Free trade, laissez-faire capitalism and reduced regulation are necessary stepping stones towards the free market utopia… A US government website records the number of federal contracts given to various contractors. For some consulting firms, the trajectory of spending has risen steadily since 2009. The graph showing McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Booz Allen Hamilton contracts spikes during the Trump administration. The Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon paid all three firms lavishly for ‘engaging human-centred design’, developing a ‘culture of continuous improvement’ and other meaningless bits of management-speak festooned with cryptic acronyms. In many cases, the contracts are labelled ‘solicitation only one source’, meaning that no rival bids were sought. Two contracts with the US government procurement agency, the General Services Administration, which earned McKinsey $1 billion between 2006 and 2019, had to be terminated because the company refused to submit to an audit…”

Twitter’s Rivals Try to Capitalize on Musk-Induced Chaos

The New York Times $: “New start-ups and other social platforms sense opportunity as Twitter grapples with changes from Elon Musk, its new owner…A race is on to dethrone Twitter and capitalize on the chaos of its new ownership under Elon Musk, the tech mogul who bought the social media company for $44 billion in… Continue Reading

Redfin Adds Zoning Data for More Than 70 Million Homes

Redfin: “Today, we added zoning and land use information to home description pages on This information, which is provided by our partners at Zoneomics, will help you understand the implications of your local zoning guidelines and how your property can and cannot be used. In addition to determining what property types and density are… Continue Reading

Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act: Data Integration and Individual Rights

CRS Report – Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act: Data Integration and Individual Rights, December 6, 2022: “Computers and information technologies have increased the amount of data that can be collected, stored, and processed. Computers make it easier to exchange, share, and match data on individuals across programmatic and agency boundaries, enabling the use of… Continue Reading

Darwin Correspondence Project

University of Cambridge: “For nearly fifty years successive teams of researchers on both sides of the Atlantic have been working to track down all surviving letters written by or to Charles Darwin, research their content, and publish the complete texts. The thirtieth and final print volume, covering the last four months of Darwin’s life, will… Continue Reading

Amazon is offering customers $2 per month for letting the company monitor the traffic on their phones

Insider: “Amazon’s Ad Verification program offers select users $2 per month for sharing their traffic data. It is part of Amazon’s Shopper Panel, an invite-only program that offers users financial rewards. The voluntary program could raise privacy concerns over how Amazon handles customer data… Under the company’s new invite-only Ad Verification program, Amazon is tracking… Continue Reading

Extreme temperatures around the world and related links

Via National and Continental Extreme Temperatures includes the national extreme temperatures with dates and sources Monthly Temperatures Records includes the world and continental extreme temperatures month by month.It also includes statistics of temperature records by latitude and altitude. Countries without frost includes a list of the countries where frost has never been recorded. Snowfalls… Continue Reading

Google Search’s new topic filters make it easier to refine results or expand searches

TechCrunch: “Google announced today that it’s making it easier for users to drill down on a search and explore related topics. Search currently has a few filters to help you refine and separate your search results between videos, news, images or shopping results. Now, the search giant is going to start showing users a scrollable… Continue Reading

Legal Astroturfing

Cheung, Alvin, Legal Astroturfing (November 17, 2022). Available at SSRN: or “This Article identifies the phenomenon of legal astroturfing and considers it in relation to other aspects of “democratic backsliding” and contemporary authoritarianism. In particular, I argue that legal astroturfing is especially pernicious not because it is illiberal or anti-democratic (although it is… Continue Reading