Daily Archives: November 15, 2008

John Gapper

Matthew Yglesias, whose blog on politics I like, has been prompted by Detroit’s troubles to assert that most chief executives are frauds whose jobs require no particular talent apart from convincing people that they are good at them. He also says that we business journalists treat them with undue deference.

“I think that running a major company is largely a matter of riding around on the corporate jet, etc, etc. But at the same time, I’m 100 percent sure that if you put me in charge of Procter and Gamble, the company would sink like a stone. But that’s because there’s a big element of bluff to the whole thing.”

I have three thoughts about this:

First, at the top of the business cycle, business leaders are lauded as visionaries and people start to buy shares on margin and speculate in property. At the bottom, they are written off as dolts and there are loud calls for blanket regulation. Both attitudes are suspect. Read more