Since I’ve lately (and anew…) got quite an unexpected lot of questions concerning the ‘optimal allocation of existing human resources in the Romanian Economics academe’ (never ad litteram formulated as such, but you get the point…), I’ve now decided to briefly depict publicly what I typically answer(ed).
Let me start by saying that I’ve had some great academic mentors so far, inter alia Coen and Dale, who taught me, though mostly between the lines, pretty much the same thing. But I got my definitive, direct, answer to this question from a different discipline… In fact, from an entirely different realm altogether: the military. Here’s a quote from the (still surprisingly underrated) General Kurt von Hammerstein, who effectively mastered the optimal organization of an army. His internal organization principles can readily be applied also to (most) academic/ research entities, and I especially argue that they must be, mutatis mutandis, applied without delay in the Romanian (and not only) Economics (and not only) academic world. Words in the quote below are
crossed and replaced accordingly, in the few places where necessary:
I divide my officers researchers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers researchers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent — their place is the General Staff Permanent Faculty. The next lot are stupid and lazy — they make up 90 percent of every army Faculty and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.
The only needed further qualification to the above, as it now reads, is that the 90% from the text is nowadays almost equally divided between the “stupid and lazy” and the “stupid and diligent” within the Economics academe in Romania– my target of primary interest here. The latter category, in visible expansion since von Hammerstein’s time, will often be found arduously writing (and self-citing) their articles in
mickey-mouse terrific economic journals of… no local reputation, such as Amfiteatru Economic or its many relatives.
Take-away (not entirely) subliminal messages:
- Much better to be “stupid and lazy” than “stupid and diligent”…in any context, in fact. Admit your limits, take it easy, and you might be looked upon with compassion; some sort of use for you might even be found now and then. Otherwise, von Hammerstein implied already what is to be done with you…
- Top, meaningful, research TAKES TIME. That’s really for the would-be, necessary, SCIENTIFIC LEADERS, unfortunately a species long gone missing from the Romanian Econ-academe regnum. They might have to import it…
- A new, would-be, center/ group/ team of research excellence, in a world currently lacking even research decency, needs to first locate such a “clever and lazy” leader and fully rally around her/him…
PS. I’ve got interested in Kurt von Hammerstein more generally, after recently wrapping up an absolutely splendid book about him by Hans Magnus Enzensberger (with English translation by Martin Chalmers): The Silences of Hammerstein: A German Story.