Such civilised behaviour might have worked for Lincoln but a different atmosphere prevails in politics and business now. In my experience the corporate world is populated by ruthlessly ambitious individuals who will see a willingness to listen and act on the advice of colleagues a sign of weakness and an invitation to stab the boss in the back, push him (or her) aside and move a rung further up the ladder.

Lincoln’s democracy may have resembled in some ways ancient Athens, the twenty first century corporatocracy has much more in common with ancient Rome. And Athens had its share of ruthless operators, back room deal makers and people who debated by holdng a knife to their adversaries throat.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire the idealism and agree that more civilised attitudes in business and politics would serve us better. I’d like to see it happen but I’m not holding my breath.

Opted for comfortable retirement before I was fifty due to health problems and burn out. Now spend my time writing and goofing around. Home: northern England..

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