KM: We have an MBA president who will be gone in a matter of a few months, and we are going to have a new President in a few weeks although I suppose not until February technically. What advice would you have for the new President of the United States, in terms of how he manages the country, if any?
HM: It is interesting to look at the election campaign actually because if you put ideologies aside and political positions aside, and frankly you should anyways because promises are not worth a damn thing. People should not even be able to run on promises because it is all silly, we are being bribed by our own money or Americans are being bribed by their own money. If you just look at who is capable of managing the Government of the United States, look at how Obama has been governing his own campaign and the people that he is surrounded himself with. Then look at how McCain has been managing his campaign. Obama strikes me, even though both of them have virtually no management experience at all and have not run anything significant, neither did Bush before fooling around with the United States of America although he was in kind of a half-position in Texas. Obama seems to get it. You respect your people, you surround yourself with good people, you are thoughtful to begin with and you engage in dialogue, you encourage dissent and you do all of these things.
KM: Who do you think has been a good President from a management viewpoint? You have seen a lot of Presidents over the last thirty or forty years, has one struck you as being a better manager than the others?
HM: Let me take another sphere, Kofi Annan struck me as being that kind of manager. He came from within the United Nations, he had the respect of the staff, was modest, low-key, got people talking, got them sharing. A Ghanaian friend of mine says that he is very much in the tradition of the tribal elders in Ghana, who used to meet and talk things out, so he is a good example it seems to me.
KM: Then what is a way forward for the U.S.-Canadian economy with all of these troubles? Is there anything that you would suggest is the way forward?
HM: I can only comment on what other people comment on regulation, and all of those things which are obvious. You know, we got it in 1929 or after 1929 that un-controlled markets are dangerous, except we only got it domestically. Now we have to learn again that uncontrolled international markets are dangerous, but we are in a bad situation because the United Nations is not in a position to control things, the international agencies sure as hell are not going to try to impose regulations because globalization has basically been a free-range for global corporations to do whatever they damn well please with nobody controlling them. The American Government was solidly behind that because a lot of those organizations were American, but now it is coming home to roost so there have to be a lot of changes. I am not a big fan of public markets for raising capital in the stock market the way that it is now. I think that it has been horribly dysfunctional, very short-term, and very superficial. Naive and inexperienced analysts come almost dictating to corporate chief executives about what they should be doing, at least with regards to down-sizing and things like that. I think that is absolutely dysfunctional. I think that there are many more long-term, sustainable manners of raising capital through patient capital, patient capital investors perhaps the sort of Warren Buffett type of person, I do not know, through co-ops. There are amazingly successful business co-ops such as Mondragón in the Basque country that has something like eighty thousand employees and is totally a co-op. There are lots of other ways of stimulating and encouraging the private sector or the business sector without this nutty form of capitalism that we are stuck with.
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