‘Galbraith’ [a friend explains] ‘is complaining about the tendency of US politicians and business leaders to hold a series of pointless meetings in the wake of the crash, whose only purpose seemed to be to give the impression that ‘something is being done’. Exactly the same is happening now with the EU leaders and the EU financial crisis, the G8 etc, but you could also apply it to bullshit activisty meetings:’
“Men meet together for many reasons in the course of business. They need to instruct of persuede each other. They must agree on a course of action. They find thinking in public more productive or less painful than thinking in private. But there are at least as many reasons for meetings to transact no business. Meetings are held because men seek companionship or, at a minimum, wish to escape the tedium of solitary duties. They yearn for the prestige which accrues to the man who presides over meetings, and this leads them to convoke assemblages over which they can preside. Finally, there is the meeting which is called not because there is business to be done, but because it is necessary to create the impression that business is being done. Such meetings are more than a substitute for action. They are widely regarded as action.”
From J.K. Galbraith ‘The great crash 1929’, pp. 158-9.