Tuesday, 25 March 2014



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A 21C NAVIGATIONAL DILEMMA


The recent, unaccountable disappearance of Flight MH 370 is both a mystery and tragedy, for obvious human reasons. But it is also perplexing for what it says to me about human systems. For, complex as the machinery inside Flight MH 370 clearly was, those systems (in the plural), inter-operating within a wider system of aerial transportation, were designed by humans for humans.

Alex Malley, CEO of CPA Australia and head of the accountancy profession here has spoken about the need to account for value in Australian Parliament as well as Australian corporates. (It is a position shared, among others, by Prof Margaret Abernethy of Melbourne Business School). Malley argues that accountants ought to become more active in political life and even run for office. The corollary would be better representation and better governance, since accountants are trained to quantify and realise value.

I concur with Malley that we, as a nation, must account more fully for value generated by government and the corporate sector. At the same time, I suggested to Malley that over-representation of specific interests has per se locked out other voices from public life, and that Accountancy and Political Representation are themselves substrates of generalised value. Where value is unaccounted for - for example, in unfunded liabilities or off-balance sheet accounting - the estimation and realisation of sustainable value becomes nigh impossible.

Over the last few years, in light of the GFC and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as such, I have begun to worry about how we, as a human species, account for numeric and political value.

So what is Value? And what does it mean in the 21st Century?


MY BULLET-POINT OVERVIEW OF THE ''VALUE PROBLEM''


- Accounting systems, like aircraft machinery and electronics, are another question about system.

- Financialisation has contributed to liberalisation of political and economic systems. And to globalisation.

- How we account, however, ‘’COMPTER’’ is fundamental to WHO we are and aspire to be.

- Therefore, how do our ‘’entities’’ serve us? And what do we serve? (Cf scholastic debate, Aristotle, Marx, Smith) And of course Compte, who ironically counted on positivist organisation for secular progress.

- When does the rational spill over or elide into the irrational or bizarre, the grotesque or baroque?

- Units of account are generally abstracted, if not abstractions. Through time and inertia valuable, however, units of account in any system fall away from some conceptual or ethical UNITY toward a systemic mess or chaos.

- Which makes it all the more complex and vital to determine real value in our intellectual, commercial and cultural systems (Cf European Union and Euro Crisis, the writing of Ralston Saul, Pacioli, Malley and the humanist ideal espoused by Erasmus of Rotterdam).

- Are we living in an open system, or are we living in a closed, rationalist system which generates increasingly irrational externalities from its core product?

- At the bottom of every system – to generalise (and univeralise) the problem – is Paradox.


ONE PARADOX: A FUNDAMENTAL VALUE DISTORTION OR CONUNDRUM?


- Our political system is itself reducing representation through facilitating it, at least monetarily.

- Liberal democracy is either 1) not the ‘’end of history’’ and/or 2) institutionally threatened or decrepit from within and in need of revitalisation.

- So how do we define and ‘’refine’’ the relevant balance between the tangible and intangible, and, to beg the original question to any large-scale complex system made up of complex entities, what is the simplest thing we are aiming for and how do we reach it?


AND A READING LIST TO JOG YOUR THOUGHTS  : )  

Bibliography

Leszek Kolakowski, Satyajit Das, John Ralston Saul, Tony Judt, Joseph Stiglitz, John Hagel, Alain de Botton, Ron Ashkenas

Saturday, 15 February 2014

FROM BALANCE OF POWER 2 BALANCE OF INTEREST: SURFING THE INTERNATIONAL CYBER SEAS




(Reflections on re-reading The New Digital Age):



*Can we globalize ''positives'' and localize ''negatives''? 


As we move from a Balance of Power to a balance of interest, there will be a premium on -

    #Being geopolitically sensitive and technologically aware
   
In order to avoid Balkanization of the Internet (cf ''deep-packet inspection'', photonics and proxy DNS), cyber-communities will have to preserve/enhance -

     #Cyber-Comity and civility
     #Cyber-Cultural Discipline


so as to navigate the INTERNATIONAL CYBER SEAS.


HISTORY IS ONLY NOW ''UPLOADING'' - [The end of history is over..]

       #Virtual will complement physical space (and indeed override) in the search for intellectual meaning.

        #Hence humint signalling has the power to override or recharge historical narrative...

Within the Global Metanarrative (Cf Jean-Francois Lyotard), there will exist manifold mini-narratives.


Which does the species SUBSERVE, SUBVERT or SUBSUME in the quest for Cyber-Destiny?






Sunday, 9 February 2014

LORD SKIDELSKY AND HOW WE JUST-ABOUT AVOIDED ECONOMIC IMPLOSION




When I re-read Skidelsky's Keynes: Return of the Master, I just thought wow! Or, more like, gasp...



Here's why (note, the statistics, data drawn from econometric series, IMF reports etc are inside):


*The UK and US economies were geared toward fixed-assets such as property beyond any figure imaginable historically

*The GFC, post-Lehman, saw a devastating run on money-markets globally

*Banks were up to their eyeballs in securitised, mortgage-backed ''subprime'' security debt

*Banks, in their Universal guise, were holding this debt as Tier 1 equivalent capital

*Economists - at least the ones markets listened to - said that business cycles were largely a thing of the past

*Under the Rational Expectations Hypothesis, subject to exogenous ''shocks'', markets supposedly cleared now and inter-temporally

*Given wage and price adjustments, commodity prices would apparently remain stable

*Despite the above, none of this was true! 

*The global economy almost experienced a complete meltdown of commodity, property and financial market assets in a period of days



Rereading this book, the asset destruction throughout the GFC was 'eye-watering', as Skidelsky put it.
According to Skidelsky, we assume - that is, policymakers, many economists etc - that recovery will follow slowly - perhaps agonisingly so.

Keynes, however, might suggest that we are about to suffer a long-term demand slump without productive investment in the real economy.

What's the answer????

I hope a ''relapse in confidence'' lol!!!

 

Friday, 7 February 2014