Special Episode - September 2021 - Autumnal Thinking

The Hidden Power

Sep 25 2021 • 41 mins

The start of a new season is a good time to take stock, and as we look forward to the next series, on companies, we reflect on where we are now, nearly a year after the launch of The Hidden Power Podcast, on October 11th, 2020.

But who has time to reflect? These turbulent years have been eclipsed by another Summer of wild fires and wilder floods, as the climate crisis begins to bite - presenting an appalling, stunning spectacle of human tragedy. So we have the IPCC report, with it's Code Red for humanity. And then there's Afghanistan, which one struggles to adequately describe.

In this special episode, we assess the accelerating climate disaster and take a clear-eyed look at what next month's COP26 Conference in Glasgow has to offer. We have a think about whether the UK's "Levelling Up" can have any more meaning than previous political slogans like "Northern Powerhouse" or "Compassionate Conservatism". We also take a look at the storied link between war and business - and see yet again the dark fact of government capture at work.

With all this darkness, we also look forward for some light. In the final series of our Preflight Checklist we will be examining the role of companies in shifting our societies to a sustainably happy future.

Talking points:

The IPCC Report

The COP26 Conference

Afghanistan and Preferential Lobbying

Dominic Cummings Is Apparently Still Relevant

Michael Gove is The Minister of Levelling Up - will he fake it or make it?

What is working in Systems Thinking? Deliberative schema: DAD and EDD

We Need To Talk About Companies.


Structures and systems and thinking (Youtube, 10 minutes into an hour)


Here’s the Big issue piece explaining why the supermarket shelves are often empty, and why HGV drivers are scarce - fed up with being treated as low lifes


Here’s a piece on the futility of the war in afghanistan


And here is a piece on what it cost and where some of it went:


Foreign intervention (article, behind paywall):


'In 2011, as Obama was considering what action to take in Syria, some of his advisers urged him to support the rebels. Before making up his mind, Obama commissioned a report on the history of US covert operations. Robert Malley, then Obama’s Middle East adviser and now President Biden’s negotiator with Iran, read the CIA’s classified report. It was, he told me in 2019, a litany of failure. ‘I think there were one or two, out of I don’t know how many tens of cases, where you could, at a limit, say that there was a success by working through opposition proxies.’ The vast majority of the CIA’s secret wars had backfired, from Albania in the late 1940s through Angola in the 1980s to Afghanistan in the 1990s. Despite this, Obama ordered the CIA to arm and instruct militants in Turkey and Jordan under a programme that permits such activities in defence of American national security. The outcome was both predictable and tragic: the insurgents failed to overthrow Assad and Islamic State emerged.’

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