A big tip of the hat to Dwight Towers for emailing me this choice quote from J K Galbraith. He’s writing about the Great Crash of the 1920s but it seems pretty apposite for modern times.
Men meet together for many reasons in the course of business. They need to instruct or persuade each other. They must agree on a course of action. They find thinking in public more productive or less painful than thinking in private. But there are at least as many reasons for meetings to transact no business. Meetings are held because men seek companion ship or, at a minimum wish to escape the tedium of solitary duties. They yearn for the prestige which accrues to the man who presides over meetings, and this leads them to convoke assemblages over which they can preside. Finally, there is the meeting which is called not because there is business to be done, but because it is necessary to create the impression that business is being done. Such meetings are more than a substitute for action. They are widely regarded as action.
Viv and I have been tinkering on little book, provisionally titled We can’t go on meeting like this, on how to break out of these kinds of trances. We mean to release it into the wild before too long…
Meantime, here is evidence of my own previous convictions on this topic.