George Soros LO29664

From: Mark W. McElroy (
Date: 12/05/02

Replying to LO29646 --

Dear Andy:

Thank you for sharing this with us. In response, I wanted you to know
that a move is afoot to develop an open society model for business that is
being referred to as the 'Open Enterprise.' The Open Enterprise is a
direct application of Karl Popper's philosophy aimed at the level of
organizations as opposed to just societies. At present, I am co-authoring
a book by that title along with Joe Firestone, with whom I have been
collaborating for several years in knowledge management endeavors. We
have largely completed the conceptual development work on the model and
are now striving to reduce it to written form. A short-hand reference to
our model is known as The New Knowledge Management, also the title of my
new book, in which the Open Enterprise and its connections to Karl
Popper's philosophy are introduced for the first time in print form. My
book was just released this fall:

In the combined fields of knowledge management and organizational
learning, the model we are introducing is the first normative one to rely
on "falsificationism" as a basis for learning and knowledge production in
the field. All others are based on some form of "justificationism,"
according to which our capacity to produce certain knowledge is assumed.
Falsificationism, by contrast, seeks to eliminate errors in our ideas, but
never to a point where the remaining knowledge is presumed to be certain
or proven.

The ripple effects of this approach in terms of how to approach KM and OL
are profound. It also has eerily relevant implications in terms of
today's corporate governance crisis, as well as the rising emphasis on the
importance of business innovation. The Open Enterprise is an innovation
engine that also has the effect of mitigating corporate malfeasance in
significant ways.

I would welcome an opportunity to discuss these ideas further with you or
other members of this list, and to also preview our thinking before the
book comes out next year.


Mark wrote:

>Soros writes nearly six years ago,
>"It can be seen that the concept of the open society is a seemingly
>inexhaustible source of difficulties. That is to be expected. After all,
>the open society is based on the recognition of our fallibility. Indeed,
>it stands to reason that our ideal of the open society is unattainable. To
>have a blueprint for it would be self-contradictory. That does not mean
>that we should not strive toward it. In science also, ultimate truth is
>unattainable. Yet look at the progress we have made in pursuing it.
>Similarly, the open society can be approximated to a greater or lesser
>extent. To derive a political and social agenda from a philosophical,
>epistemological argument seems like a hopeless undertaking. Yet it can be
>done. There is historical precedent. The Enlightenment was a celebration
>of the power of reason, and it provided the inspiration for the
>Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The belief in reason
>was carried to excess in the French Revolution, with unpleasant side
>effects; nevertheless, it was the beginning of modernity. We have now had
>200 years of experience with the Age of Reason, and as reasonable people
>we ought to recognize that reason has its limitations. The time is ripe
>for developing a conceptual framework based on our fallibility. Where
>reason has failed, fallibility may yet succeed."
>Copyright 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
>The Atlantic Monthly; February 1997; The Capitalist Threat; Volume 279,
>No. 2; pages 45-58.
>Andrew Campbell


"Mark W. McElroy" <>

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