Brits apathetic? Apoplectic, more like

Vive la revolution!

Letters There is a distinctly revolutionary flavour to this letters bag. It is stuffed with consumer rights campaigning, anti-capitalist fervour, Brazilian cyber-crime, and DRM bashing.

We Brits faced allegations of apathy and uselessness. Not a nice thing to wake up to on a Wednesday afternoon, let us tell you. This hideous insult to our (ahem) great nation sprang from a survey carried out on behalf of HP. No one was amused:

Oh my God.... HP !!!! How dare they!!!!

As an HP employee, one of many not given a pay rise for four years. Those guys should sort out their own backyard.... they are losing their own "competent" workforce due to apathy and lack of motivation.

All they can offer is to review "rewards and recognition"....damn it, give me some dosh to pay my bills please. ....and if one more HP chief says the word "adaptive" one more time.... ahh I can't be ar$ed !!!

Name witheld

John, I'm outraged by the story about British workers. Let's set some things straight, we Yanks are just as apathetic, and most likely even less skilled than our cousins in the mother-country! All joking aside, from what I've seen in my mid-cap (Nasdaq Financial 100) company, management is just as apathetic to worker bees as we are to working. On the bright side, this tends to backhandedly encourage us to seek out new information and skills, like picking up tech knowledge in British trade dailies. And let's not forget how much work looking busy really is.

Cheers, Dan M.

Could it be that years of British mismanagement of the resource known as People is finally catching up with us? Why should workers give a damn about employers or the companies they work for when the companies clearly don't care about them. perhaps we should cite the clear skills shortage in people management

Worrying about losing their jobs to India all the time probably syphons their energy. Maybe HP can send all the jobs to India, thereby redirecting apathy to the bagging/clerking fields.


The problem isn't technology and can't be solved with it, the problem is "New World Order" business culture. Persuade workers that they have no stake in the personal success of a company and of course they'll do just barely enough work to stay employed, they won't react to problems or opportunities with intelligence and initiative, and they aren't going to take advantage of training programs and tuition reimbursement even at the shrinking handful of places where this is available, if they buy training/education on their own, the motivation is to find a better job, somewhere the hell other than where they are working.

The opposite of this situation is a startup where everybody has founders' stock which will ONLY be worth something if the company succeeds, though even in this case, VCs are starting to push for outsourcing earlier and earlier... in that kind of shop, if you don't put in 18 hour days, one's fellow workers think of you as a "slacker".

This is one reason why my new sig has that Bruce Sterling quote in it. We're beginning to see that many of the "new, more efficient" ways to do business are starting to screw up the businesses that are implementing them to the extent that cooking the books indefinitely to show a profit to trigger CEO stock options is starting to break down. Enron was an early symptom of this.


It's this sort of management-produced bullshit that produces such feelings in a company's workforce. Apathy, resignation, disgust, hatred ... and quite possibly a deep desire to re-enact American Psycho at the next board meeting.

It's also rather typical of management to blame the workforce for a general feeling of apathy and lack of skills, rather than accepting at least a proportion of the blame themselves. Does the management offer incentives for staff to undergo training?

Does the management address concerns of their staff and actively seek to resolve them? Does the management ensure that their staff are well-motivated by ensuring that the staff have an enjoyable working environment and culture, rather than one in which innovation, fresh ideas and intelligence are routinely shafted by management who, other than their expensively- bought MBAs and well-polished shoes, bring nothing to the corporate table other than a desire for paperwork, bar charts and wordy - but useless - reports. The correct title for this article should be "Report reveals Brit management are a bunch of tossers".

John, I was going to reply how some of the problem with the british workforce was the fault of the management. Then I thought - why bother ;)

If HP can turn UK apathy into a competetive advantage, the first people they inform should be the UK government, oh yes, then David Beckham.

Next up, cybercrime in Brazil:

Greetings, I enjoyed reading your Brazilian rebuttal regarding the stats quoted in the news recently. I agree the principle behind your report and most of the data. However Brazil does remain a hotspot for cyber-crime, especially as it relates to banking attacks and Trojan/hacking attacks. They are very specific and targeted, unlike other areas of the world geopolitically speaking. They have been relatively quiet lately and certainly don't compose 8 out of 10 anything! Still, it is an active area with many malicious actors and organized malicious coding groups that I've tracked for many years.

Sincerely, Ken Dunham Malicious Code iDEFENSE

Could be propaganda, "We have 80% of the worlds hackers, so watch out!". Maybe the Brazilian governent are hoping to announce a recruitment of their "hackers" (13-year old spotty website defacers) in an attempt to take over the world... Sounds like a good storyline for a crap movie...



knowing a thing or two about Brazil Federal Police, they are after cash. They are underfunded and overstretched, and in charge from many things, from illegal immigrants to cybercrime to investigating corrupt politicians (the bulk of their jobs, they exist aplenty there). I think it is a ploy to get more money from the overzealous new leftist and pc govermnent.

Of, in a conspiracy theory style, this reports are written by those who would like to pin a 3rd world country south of Miami, instead of going after the big fat cats in the land of the free (??) or other parts of the world.

My tuppence


And lastly, but by no means leastly, the shocking news that things in the UK are expensive. Yes, we are talking about iTunes, and the OFT's decision to investigate:

So, stop whingeing you Brit gits, get used to the idea that we can screw you for what we can get (look what we did to WOW when they tried to sell cheaper legal CDs in the UK if you think you're hard) and just get your f*****ng wallets out.

I don't know, how we're expected to scrape together the cost of a Bentley or a 14-bedroom mansion when these plonkers won't toe the line is beyond me...

And don't talk to me about the Linux nonces, some of them won't even let us install DRM on their PCs, far less pay... (how do they manage to write letters without having Office XP? - I think we need to talk to Microsoft about that one...)

I can't help wondering how many Mac nutters are going to write in telling you how marvellous the iTunes Music Store is, and how unfair it is the the OFT is poking its nose in where it's not wanted.

I just thought as a Mac nutter who thinks that iTMS isn't anywhere near as good as buying Red Book CDs from a proper shop, I ought to point out that not all Mac nutters thing this OFT jiggery pokery is a bad thing at all.

Apple may not quite be in bed with the RIAA/BPI or whoever 'they' are, but Jobs is certainly perched on the edge of the stained mattress of DRM taking his shoes and socks off.

If it turns out that not allowing free access to other European music stores breaches EU free trade regs, then while it's almost certainly the records companies are the driving force behind this iTunes Region Encoding, Apple perhaps should not have agreed to those terms. I suppose they had to, to get a foot in the door, but I still don't think it was the proper thing to do.



We're all off to start a revolution. Until then, take it easy. ®

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