Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

July 23, 2007

Nation of the apes

It may sound as if the Swedes have begun to outsource government jobs to apes, but that's not what's going on at all.

A reorganization of workers at the Swedish Tax Authority is partly shaped on studies of apes, according to a leaked internal report. Employees are not flattered by the comparison.

The tax authority is currently undergoing its largest reorganization for many years. One of the foundations of the restructuring plan is a report which says that studies of apes show that people work best in groups of 150.
According to the article, which I strongly suspect is a hoax, the report says: "Evolutionary biologists have seen that primates live in social groups of varying sizes." It then compares the size of human brains to the size of the brains of other primates and concludes thus: "Based on this formula we have concluded that the optimum (or largest possible) group of people is 147.8."

A group of 147.8 people? No social scientist could be this idiotic. Oh, wait a minute...

There was a Dilbert cartoon about a dozen years ago that went like this:

Pointy-haired boss: We ranked all the engineers from best to worst.

Pointy-haired boss: We plan to get rid of the bottom 10%. That includes you, Wally.

Wally: Your plan is logically flawed.

Wally: If you fire the bottom 10%, you'll still have a bottom 10%.

Wally: You'll fire and fire but there will always be a bottom 10%, until finally . . .

Wally: When less than ten people are left, you'll have to fire body parts instead of whole people!!!

Wally: We'll have torsos and glands wandering around unable to use keyboards . . . Blood and bile everywhere!!!

Dilbert: How'd it go?

Wally: He fired my hair.

(hat tip: fee simple, who, when asked what this article meant for his own organization, replied, "Sorry, I can't answer right now. I'm on my afternoon banana break.")