I alluded in an argument yesterday to a book I wrote several years ago with psychologist Harvey Robbins, titled "Transcompetition: Moving Beyond Competition and Collaboration." (McGraw-Hill/Business Week Books)
It was a book about organizations whose lessons applied equally to nations. Broadly speaking, the book sought to deal better with the excesses of competitive behavior in the workplace — cheating, spying, exploiting, etc.
More narrowly, it addresses the perennial problem of what to do with bullies — on the school grounds, in the workplace, in the presidential palace.
We mentioned Saddam Hussein in it as the kind of intractable dictator that populaces and neighbors found so frustrating. They do what they want, and they answer to no one, and if you try to take action against them, they murder your family in front of you.
What to do?
Our book did not change the world. We only sold about 3700 copies. (Mainly because McGraw-Hill published it in grudging collaboration with Business Week magazine. The upshot of this shotgun marriage was that Business Week never promoted the book, and neither would any other magazine because of the BW logo.)
Our most prominent example of a global bully was Slobedan Milosevic of Yugoslavia/Serbia. At the time of writing he was in his fifth year of regional terror against adjoining Yugoslav member states, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia.
The whole world knew he was a bad guy, but no means appeared at our disposal to rid ourselves of him.
We counseled a revolution via communications technology. The enemy of totalitarianism is people knowing what has happened. That is why the Tienenmen protest in China earlier had been so threatening to Deng Xiao Peng, and why he acted so brutally to keep additional information from getting out, via the "fax revolution."
But in Bosnia, the technology revolution was already more advanced, and soon the whole world knew what Milosevic and his regionally arrayed Serb allies had in mind.
The transcompetitive solution had three parts, all beginning with the letter E:
* EXCHANGE as much information with allies worldwide as you can.
* ENCIRCLE the bully in a noose of awareness, expectation, and joint action — boycotts, lawsuits, sanctions, exposes.
* EXACT reform, or the noose never loosens.
We wrote this study in 1997, during the Clinton administration. We wrote it on our own, without input from foreign policy institutes, or government. We were understandably naive.