Jack Butler writes for National Review Online about an interesting development in the consultant business.

Perhaps the most famous depiction of consultants, those outside analysts parachuted into another business to give advice, is in the Mike Judge comedy Office Space. The “Bobs” interview employees at software company Initech, asking, “What would you say you do here?” The seemingly innocuous question is a potential prelude to unemployment, and a testament to the efficiency-driven technocratic mind-set that consultants bring to their projects (which can provide a patina of objectivity to decisions a given company was going to make anyway).

A recent Wall Street Journal report suggests that this mind-set is now being trained on an unexpected target: consulting firms themselves. Per the WSJ:

Big and established consulting firms such as McKinsey, BCG and Deloitte, which are paid to predict the future for the world’s biggest corporations, have gotten their own destiny wrong. The fallout is messy.

Some new recruits are struggling to find work. Firms are losing contracts as one-time clients slash budgets for strategic reviews amid broad cost-cutting efforts. …

… These troubles come after a Covid-era hiring binge, as the services of consultants were allegedly needed to navigate unusual economic terrain. To the extent there are problems at all, that is, which the firms in question naturally deny. “Demand for our services is actually accelerating, not declining,” according to Liz Hilton Segel, a senior partner and McKinsey’s chief client officer. Yet many companies are finding the services of consultants less essential, and/or only accepting lower charges from them.

It is generally unseemly to revel in the unemployment of others. And one ought not to do so here. But McKinsey and similar companies provide little of genuine value, help our nation’s adversaries prosper, ratify a left-wing corporate status quo, and, above all else, popularize and sustain a top-down framework of economic management that is often difficult to distinguish from its public-sector counterpart. Moving past that will require some transitionary costs, as we readjust the paradigm to better adapt to new realities. Surely the consultants among us will understand.