Resilience:: foundation for a sustainable model


Resilience risk complexity uncertainty graphicOrganisational restructuring, talent shortages, and greater technology risks are some of the key transformation-driven risks for the rest of the year ahead, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers‘ latest Risk in Review report.

According to PwC ‘change’ is now happening among the more enlightened…but who are they, where are they and how the hell did the break-out from the thinking that has been a major contributory factor in the run-up to ‘financial meltdown’!

Businesses can use horizon scanning and early-warning systems to spot trends, and employ stress testing to identify key vulnerabilities. More flexible risk appetite statements, corporate-wide contingency planning and a risk-aware corporate culture that challenges conventional wisdom are all powerful tools that can help organizations better manage emerging risks.

Hard not to agree with such a ‘carefully crafted’ statement but forgive my curiosity: USING “HORIZON SCANNING”, CONVENTIONAL PARAMETERS AND TECHNIQUES HOW CAN AN ORGANISATION RECOGNISE AN EMERGING TREND OR PATTERN THAT IT HASN’T SEEN BEFORE…something that is without physical form or description that might aid identification!???

If you have no clues how could YOU, reliably, identify someone or something that you have never seen?

Even if the Global Consultancies, to whom Global and major Corporates tend to defer for ‘guidance’ on such matters, possessed the tools and quantitative justification that Ontonix can provide – they DO NOT – how many organisations can afford a firm like PwC &/or an in-house resource to enable them to anticipate and adapt?

Here is what IBM had to say in their Global Resilience report from 2011.

The economic downturn beginning in 2008 triggered new interest in risk management, driving adoption of truly holistic approaches where managing risk is inherent to every decision. Today, leading organizations are pushing these concepts further to develop enterprise-wide business resilience strategies. They strive to make the ability to respond rapidly to all kinds of unexpected events—opportunities as well as threats— part of the corporate culture. This means building a business resilience strategy that engages everyone in the organization.

Who actually benefits from buying “risk protection”?

The industry perceives TRANSPARENCY as a threat – hardly reassuring for customers – and, as a result, opportunities to seize competitive advantage and to capitalise upon the benefits of Social Business are lost to many established players. A weakness new entrants will readily exploit.Risk v Resilience(1)

I have tried to save reading time for those who understand the need for a sustainable model to have a ‘sound’ foundation, by preparing this graphic [Risk v Resilience] on the right.

If that has helped to fire the imagination, more than another report full of business-speak I will be happy!

Now to test the appetite for change and to identify those with imagination and a genuine interest in doing what they do, just better that is absolutely necessary for meaningful innovation to happen.

The insurance industry is failing itself by ignoring the deep flaws in our rating and pricing models that cost our stakeholders dearly – although they may serve many consultants very well. It is time to stop providing options and start to offer choice…

Resilience product breakdown

10 Responses to Resilience:: foundation for a sustainable model

  1. paradigmrisk says:

    David, some interesting criticisms in the paper. But the prescription worries me. The need to develop routiens that will anticipate events such as the use of civilian aircraft as suicide weapons in 2001 seems far-fetched, at least at corporate level. One thing we need to be is more realistic about what is possible.

    • Hi Peter,
      I know what you mean re the more ‘extreme’ end of things although I do worry about what is happening with the scale of social/financial inequality, stripping of civil liberties in ‘the West’ and, in particular, to the US Constitution.

      Probable, possible and plausible events really MUST be catered for because there are too many variables and infinite potential outcomes to focus merely upon ‘risk’. I believe the message is, instead of overlooking internal weaknesses, trying to predict based on what we know and scanning the current risk horizon for unseen/unknown/unknowable external threats, we need to focus resources upon building and maintaining resilience from ‘within’, from the bottom-up.

      Accepting that we cannot predict the future or prepare for every eventuality is only a problem if that is the myth upon which your ‘model’ is reliant…and just the kind of thing that we have been prepared to, all-too-readily, overlook. Theories that fail in the real world validate what they say about the difference between practise and theory!

      You reminded me of a report I had looked at some time ago. THE FRAGILITY OF THE FUTURE, “JOE 2010″ as it’s called, is designed to provide the various branches of the US Armed Forces a joint perspective on likely global trends, possible shocks and their future operating environment.  If you’re interested in geopolitics and strategy, I recommend that you take a look.

      JOE 2010 opens with a defence planning timeline that business and financial strategy practitioners – and anyone who consumes their work  - would do well to bear in mind.

      I have reproduced it verbatim here:

      1900 If you are a strategic analyst for the world’s leading power, you are British, looking warily at Britain’s Age-old enemy, France.

      1910 You are now allied with France, and the enemy is now Germany.

      1920 Britain and its allies have won World War I, but now the British find themselves engaged in a naval race with its former allies, the United States and Japan.

      1930 For the British, naval limitation treaties are in place, the Great Depression has started, and defence planning for the next five years assumes a “ten year” rule – no war in ten years. British planners posited the main threats to the Empire as the Soviet Union and Japan, while Germany and Italy are either friendly or no threat.

      1936 A British planner now posits three great threats: Italy, Japan, and the worst, a resurgent Germany, while little help can be expected from the United States.

      1940 The collapse of France in June leaves Britain alone in a seemingly hopeless war with Germany and Italy, with a Japanese threat looming in the Pacific. The United States has only recently begun to scramble to rearm its military forces.

      1950 The United States is now the world’s greatest power, the atomic age has dawned, and a “police action” begins in June in Korea that will kill over 36,500 Americans, 58,000 South Koreans, nearly 3,000 Allied soldiers, 215,000 North Koreans, 400,000 Chinese, and 2,000,000 Korean civilians before a cease-fire brings an end to the fighting in 1953. The main opponent in the conflict is China, America’s ally in the war against Japan.

      1960 Politicians in the United States are focusing on a missile gap that does not genuinely exist; massive retaliation will soon give way to flexible response, while a small insurgency in South Vietnam hardly draws American attention.

      1970 The United States is beginning to withdraw from Vietnam, its military forces in shambles. The Soviet Union has just crushed incipient rebellion in the Warsaw Pact. Détente between the Soviets and Americans has begun, while the Chinese are waiting in the wings to create an informal alliance with the United States.

      1980 The Soviets have just invaded Afghanistan, while a theocratic revolution in Iran has overthrown the Shah’s regime. “Desert One” – an attempt to free American hostages in Iran – ends in a humiliating failure, another indication of what pundits were calling “the hollow force.” America is the greatest creditor nation the world had ever seen.

      1990 The Soviet Union collapses. The supposedly hollow force shreds the vaunted Iraqi Army in less than 100 hours. The United States has become the world’s greatest debtor nation. Very few outside of the Department of Defence and the academic community use the Internet.

      2000 Warsaw is the capital of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nation. Terrorism is emerging as America’s greatest threat. Biotechnology, robotics, nanotechnology, HD energy, etc. are advancing so fast they are beyond forecasting.

      2010 Take the above and plan accordingly! What will be the disruptions of the next 25 years?

  2. paradigmrisk says:

    David, my post-grad research was in international relations, so I enjoy the challenge. And perhaps this gets to the heart of the problem – our intellectual structures and mental models. In IR, you have to deal with both irreducible uncertainties and shifting sands of alliances and threats.

    I guess my point, ultimately, is that thinking about resilience from the event end is the wrong place to start. I am also wondering whether it is reasonable to push for a level of resilience that would anticipate the threat against the WTCs in 2001.

    I have seen many analyses that suggest US defence planners should have known of these threats. So, have the F-22s hot on the runway 24 hours, 7 days a week? Or make every boarding passenger on every aircraft take off his shoes? How about underpants? Or, in the case of the hijackers, that day, submit to a brain scan or intensive interrogation? Or take a leaf from the El-Al playbook?

    I wonder if the difference is ‘resilient for’ versus ‘resilient against’? Obviously we need both.

    In terms of extremes, it is clear that we need at least two, very different types of risk management: those where outcomes are Gaussian and those where they are not. Everything about these is different from context to information protocols to response to effect.

    But more importantly, what the examples in your comment show is that we need to prepare our anticipation and resilience structures, corporately and socially and politically, for the horizon over which the entity concerned is planning. Nation-states must plan for the horizon of their anticipated survival (effectively in perpetuity); corporates for at least the horizon of their asset lifecycles or the period over which they want to remain in business in their current incarnation. This is where we are really falling down.

    Large proportions of corporate officers prepare plans over a limited horizon and expect them to work out pretty much as planned. In truth, we need plans over capabilities, technologies and relationships (contractual or otherwise) that stretch considerably longer and business models that can accommodate shifts at least equivalent to those that have been observed historically (per your excellent example, above). So the challenge is how to design settings and routines for coping with threats and uncertainty in the firm’s business model that return at least the firm’s cost of capital over the (newly-extended) planning horizon. What your example highlights is the importance of seeking to understand the lessons of history around uncertainty and variance in complex terms rather than as a sigma statistic.

    Great retort; like it.

    • Thanks Peter. I am very happy to exchange thoughts on the subjects. Particularly because, from past exchanges and having read some of your work, I respect your subject knowledge and the fact that, unlike too many of your peers, you clearly realise the limitations of conventional thinking in this arena.

      As I contemplate all that my response could contain I understand why, even with the ‘promise’ of less uncertainty, a new paradigm is perceived as a threat rather than an opportunity…perhaps this tells us about human nature or illustrates the limitations of the knowledge of those in the “risk business”!?

      Consider this from Confucius: “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”

      Even in the days of ancient China the fractal nature of the world was understood. Since then, mainly over the last half century, we have developed the means to extend our vision into the world of what was ‘unseen’. To such an extent that we treat diseases at cellular scale, can identify the sources of physical/mental impairments in genes and inoculate against ‘invisible’ viruses that, previously, maimed or killed.

      The message is that, when it comes to dealing with complex systems (and they don’t get more complex than our own bodies) the great discoveries have come about as a result of our ability to study natural systems at ever smaller scales. Where we see a familiar ‘pattern’ or cycle. If you view the ‘nested cycle’ in this article in the Confucian context or in that of a complex system, whether in Nature or man-made you will (hopefully) see why the reality of Power Laws is a better starting point that a theoretical, Gaussian one:http://wp.me/p16h8c-ZR

      We know that everyday we are vulnerable to threats, seen/unseen, known, unknown and unknowable. We process many ‘risk decisions’ sub-consciously and, to varying degrees, do likewise with uncertainty. But each of us is conditioned by past experience [heuristics, cognitive biases] and bounded rationality [amount of available information, available time, discounting, etc.]. In theory we are now able to be much wiser after-the-event, as we have the data and means to analyse it,to learn and improve but we still smoke, drink too much alcohol, ski off-piste, don’t get enough exercise, takes drugs, eat man-made food with too much LDL, etc. We ‘know’ what we should do and health agencies try to help us but its not easy with such powerful players like tobacco companies, pharmaceuticals, food and drink all aided and abetted by persuasive marketing campaigns and slick advertising. So, instead of useful, reliable, information we end up immersed in a rising tide of misinformation not knowing who is telling the truth or who to trust. “Big Data” won’t help clarify anything!

      Complex systems are self-organising and self-regulating, with their own self-defence mechanism, so they know in advance when something so small as to be invisible to the naked eye (like >99% of electro magnetic spectrum!) is threatening it. It does not need to be told to get on with the job of trying to maintain the health of the system. The system does not want to suffer from a loss of function but when the COMPLEX PROCESSES that enable function are ‘attacked’ they respond: Resilience is a function of Complexity.

      Health, fitness, resilience…take your pick, the message is the same, that “anticipatory awareness” is a feature of complex systems. If you like, a survival instinct. What one needs, therefore, is the means to tap into that because our man-made control systems lack the requisite variety of the systems we are endeavouring to manage.

      Measure and monitor complexity as a means to be better able to manage resilience because prevention is better (and less costly) than cure. http://wp.me/p16h8c-17m

      “The current paradigm of ‘protecting’ infrastructure is unrealistic. We should shift our focus to that of resiliency. Resiliency is the capacity to maintain continuity of activities even in the face of threats, disaster, and adversity” [Dr. James Carafano, Heritage Foundation, to a congressional hearing in 2008]

      Resilience has four primary attributes: capacity, flexibility, tolerance, and inter-element collaboration.

      Capacity requires that the system be sized to handle the maximum and most likely events, such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters. However, a system cannot depend on capacity alone; the other attributes must be present to handle unpredicted events.
      Capacity includes functional redundancy. 

      Flexibility requires the system to be able to reorganise. For example, plans must be in place to allow the command and control to shift upwards in the event of a serious disruption, such as a terrorist attack. 

      Tolerance allows the system to degrade gracefully in the face of an attack. That is, all resources would not become inoperative after the first strike.

      One of the most important attributes of a resilient system [business or organisation] is inter-element collaboration. This attribute allows all elements of the system to interact and cooperate with each other as in collaborative innovation systems.

      Therefore, to build a RESILIENT SYSTEM; member organisation; community; affinity group, economy, nation and world, requires common values and purpose to enable INTERDEPENDENT interaction of the component parts and processes that facilitate the functionality of individual systems and networks of sub-systems.

      Sorry for going on BUT…

      • Thomas Kelleher says:

        Greetings David, Peter and Vern!
        David, I appreciate the brainpower and passion which is evident in your posts. I have a few questions, but not much time at the moment to formulate them properly. However, before this Sunday ends, I’d like to jump in. Please feel free to speak bluntly if you reply. I am no stranger to criticism and appreciate honest input.
        From my POV, Insurance has done a fine job. Risk Management, though, needs to get their act together.
        Just as the world from the UK’s POV dramatically changed from 1900-2010 as in the example you quoted — so too have the fortunes/shapes/scopes of the tobacco, pharma, food & drink industries you mentioned. Does anyone remember how many cigarette brands used to exist when Big Tobacco was in its heyday – 1950-70’s? Weren’t those produced by the highly profitable firms which effectively invented special-interest lobbying in the US?
        Pharma? Parke-Davis, Warner-Lambert, numerous others who grew as their scientists developed medicines to help cure disease, now gone, — as the “blockbuster drug” era seems to have passed – taking with them countless $millions no longer spent on R&D because Big pharma can’t justify huge R&D expense while trying to compete with Generic pharmas – who simply copy a Big phama drug – these days without much consideration for patent infringement.
        Food & Drink? I don’t normally perform the shopping duties for my family, but last time, I didn’t recall seeing many of the brands/products being on the shelves that were available when I was a youngster.
        Might your “survival instinct” include organizations being capable of recognizing their present corporate model need NOT be protected “as is” ?
        Do you know how many varieties of Coca-Cola are on shelves today??? HUNDREDS!
        Is time well-spent trying to provide modern companies with long-term survival tools – or, would we/they be better-off learning to downsize, out/right-source? Perhaps, reduce their fear of staying “whole” and demonstrating to them organization-saving methods to replace that fear with a desire to be more nimble and flexible going-forward?
        Having said all this, I am a devoted fan of Dr. Grose and his work. I’m going to read more of your work, David, as well as that of Peter Bonisch, too. Thank you all. Tom.

  3. Hi Tom,
    Glad to hear from you, although I’m not so sure I agree re performance of insurance! Refer to this article [http://wp.me/p16h8c-1vI] and feel free to let me know what you think.

    Your point re Pharma is, perhaps, illustrated by the numerous varieties of coke: options (variations) not choice. Not so much from the point of view of Coke/Pepsi and the number of copy cat brands but what is bad for the biological system v’s what is ‘good’ i.e. not harmful/neutral. When you invest vast amounts, the true breakdown of which is rarely known (hidden) then the cost of any resultant medication reflects the scale of the investment. Costs that are, initially borne by the Healthcare sector but, ultimately by the populous whose ‘addictions’ are being skilfully nurtured and manipulated in particularly cynical ways.

    As was beautifully illustrated in Freakonomics, if you are a drug dealer you understand a great deal about how the economy works. You don’t have major R&D but you have high costs/risks associated with ‘distribution’. You certainly don’t want your customers find other/cheaper suppliers or getting clean. Problem is, drug gangs don’t do welfare, so as soon as a customer gets sick that income is, at least, temporarily, lost.

    It isn’t so cut-and-dried if you are a ‘political hub’ for major Corporates! Diagnosing and treating the sick and dying is a VERY lucrative market!!!

    There is one helluva lot invested in dealing with the impact of the products produced by Food, drink and Tobacco! Don’t forget, it took a long, hard fight for the latter to concede what was undeniable, incidentally, a similar story for Asbestosis and for toxic mould. Are these really the industries that one would expect to “look within their core”, to recognise their flaws and failures?

    History shows us that complex systems aren’t good at adaption. The structures that were their strength are too close-coupled to be ‘unwound’, to such an extent that, when simplification is their route to survival, the other path, toward painful, even bloody, collapse and failure is the implicit choice. [insert in Search some of these terms for further realted reading: Jospeh Tainter; Ulrich Beck; Jared Diamond; Arab Spring; Niall Ferguson; Collapse of Complex Societies; Thomas Cole].

    Unfortunately my own time constraints have curtailed my response on this occasion but there should be some more food for thought here.
    Cheers,

    David

  4. Thomas Kelleher says:

    Hi David, I understand some of what you’ve stressed and will endeavor to grasp more ASAP. Without intending to be argumentative or simple-minded, I admit I like to take things down to simple terms for me to better see the foundation to determine if the base is cracked. Insurance, despite your wonderful article, still appears to me to be performing an enormously needed service. I’m NOT referring to Risk Management. By the way, I’m not an underwriter, nor have I been employed by an Insurance Company other than for a two year period 30+ yrs ago.
    This is a quote you referred me to: “No-one wants to be thought of, or treated as, ’another statistic’ or hear how (with the benefit of hindsight) your lifestyle may have contributed and the changes that might help! I strongly suspect that any, right-minded, person would opt for (2) because that is the approach that the medical profession take: based upon an in-depth understanding of human biology, its vital organs, interconnections and multi-scalar interactions. THEY are used to implementing prevention strategies, maintaining and repairing highly complex biological systems…economists, statisticians, actuaries, accountants, business analysts, underwriters, risk managers, etc, etc. are not!!! “
    In my (overly?) simplistic approach, it’s hard for me to imagine a world without “Insurance”, even for basic, everyday life. Most people I know never drive their car without having it insured for PD and themselves insured for legal liability related to driving. This is an instance where a person being “another statistic” is useful and cost-effective. Underwriters and their “Law of Large Numbers” are needed and generally do a good job, I believe.
    Risk Management, risk retention, risk transfer, risk prevention, risk avoidance, risk identification, forecasting of natural disasters and man-made terrorism – not done so well. I agree with you and Vern. I’m trying to understand why CEO’s don’t include more professional, advanced, systematic and refined Risk Management in their decisions.
    Naturally, we’ve seen instances when the CEO was “out for his/herself” first and foremost (I worked at one such firm). This can happen with the Board of Directors is not doing their job properly.
    You properly state “Diagnosing and treating the sick and dying is a VERY lucrative market!!!” My question is: with Big pharma losing revenue to generics, generics NOT spending any money on R&D, Hospitals closing due to financial problems, the AMA predicting shortages of doctors within a few years because young professionals don’t view becoming a doctor to be financially rewarding – exactly who is benefiting from the “lucrative” market? (March 15, 2013 “Workforce experts predict that the U.S. will face a shortage of 130,000 physicians across all specialties by 2025. This shortage will be exacerbated by the increased demand on our health care delivery system as more seniors enroll in Medicare and newly insured Americans seek access to care”).

    You correctly mention tobacco, asbestosis and mold problems, as well as the time it took before companies within those industries to acknowledge and address health issues. What about manufacturers/producers of ANYTHING? I was around when the shocking news (yes, people used to be shocked by “bad” news!) hit us like a blow to the gut that Perrier water was impure. WATER!
    Are ANY firms truly “… the industries that one would expect to “look within their core”, to recognise their flaws and failures? History shows us that complex systems aren’t good at adaption. The structures that were their strength are too close-coupled to be ‘unwound’, to such an extent that, when simplification is their route to survival, the other path, toward painful, even bloody, collapse and failure is the implicit choice.”
    In my observation, organizations (despite their efforts to avoid them) are rife with internal silos, cronyism and separate profit-center mentalities. I’m not yet convinced ANY “complex” firm is “too close-coupled to be unwound”.
    Please don’t despair — I can learn! I can’t help questioning & being methodical. FYI, most of my career has been the face/voice of my clients at my employers (brokerage) firms and as my clients’ representative in the marketplace. I’ve always taken that responsibility personally. I don’t doubt or mistrust you. I merely need to better understand your points. Still friends? Thanks! Tom.

  5. Oh Tom you are working my tired brain hard here! So I will try to respond as succinctly as possible to the various points.

    I am not suggesting that we don’t need insurance. I am more passionate about the industry getting it right than 99% of the people in the industry. BUT I have asked the questions most have not and want to illustrate what and where the flaws are so that someone, a visionary, a leader, can grasp that, by addressing the glaring issues, THE biggest opportunity since the formation of Lloyds is there to be ‘exploited’. Until we move away from assumption, correlation and prediction we will rely upon the equivalent of an artists impression when delicate surgery requires a microscopic view in HD.

    In Complex systems scaling up risks may cause them to cascade rather than cancel out. The bigger and more complex the structure, the greater this risk.

    Why? Because size and complexity increase the chances of cross-contamination of the whole barrel, even if there is only one bad apple. Errors do not cancel; they cascade. There is a flaw of large numbers.

    Risk Management is a major part of the problem but needs to be part of the solution. Check this:

    A Re-examination of risk management?

    Traditional risk management, it seems, is powerless to control many of the potential risks inherent in board-level behaviour. Such risks, indeed, are barely even recognised within traditional risk management frameworks…http://wp.me/p16h8c-QJ

    IN INSURANCE, BANKING & RM ‘CONVENTIONAL WISDOM’ AND THOSE THAT IT SUSTAINS ARE THE OBSTACLES TO BETTER, VERIFIABLE, RISK DECISIONS.

    The problem with unwinding complexity is that, without the complexity that underpins system function you don’t have function! If you don’t have function then you don’t have much of a business proposition. Discerning requisite from excessive complexity is not possible if you can’t even measure total complexity.

    I’m just about outta time but on the potential medical issues, may well be just another version of another bursting bubble as we have seen with the property and financial markets. An adjustment or reset. A return to a sensible, possibly sustainable level.
    Helpful!?

    David

  6. Thomas Kelleher says:

    Thank you, David…I’ll need to re-read this a few more times to comprehend your comments, but I felt I owed you the courtesy of letting you know I’m trying — and not intentionally draining your brain for no purpose. Just a single thought re: yr last comment “…on the potential medical issues, may well be just another version of another bursting bubble as we have seen with the property and financial markets. An adjustment or reset. A return to a sensible, possibly sustainable level.” I’ve seen smaller pharmas do well for years, Wall St/others get antsy. Pharma becomes acquisitive, but to do so, diversifies. Things go well. Wall St/others get antsy. Big(er) pharma divests all “non-core” businesses. Back to square 1, but each time fewer people are employed, smaller revenues and less market share…The end result. ” a return to a sensible, possibly sustainable level”. equates to less people, doing more work, the same ‘fewer’ people being “encouraged” to take less time off (even “volunteer” to give up vaca time), morale is in the dumps, AND this has been going on for so may years that people no longer feel their firms care about their supposedly most important asset – employees. Plus, no longer do people feel free to explore other options. People are aware the “grass isn’t greener” any where else. It’s sad, NOT-sustainable…and no longer do I wonder how Rome fell. I’ll keep trying to understand your comments. My gut tells me you have valuable & rare insight — and passion! Tom.

    • Cheers Tom,
      I really care that people involved (some even engaged!) in FS actually understand the nature and root causes of many of the problems that impact their day-to-day routines, job satisfaction, work/life balance, etc. I reckon that once the cause is understood, the realisation of the folly of the current approach and, eventually, an appreciation of what is required from a more rigorous solution.

      In truth I had anticipated that, after the events of 2007/8 and the enormous opportunity that ‘Social Business’ offers the industry, the ‘demand’ for greater transparency for FS would have seen much of the ‘old religion’ abandoned. Patently I underestimated the power of blind faith and indoctrination upon institutions (and the institutionalised!) and how resistant the faithful are, even when presented with the irrefutable facts re its flaws, resultant failings and the evidence of the damage it has done.

      Interesting then that, having identified the “cycle” in Pharma you mention Rome. The Empire grew, more through acquisition than merger, spread across the known globe and plundered the accumulated wealth of those it conquered but integration isn’t easy and ruling requires resource and co-operation which isn’t easy. Ruling from the Capital too requires a growing resource, political, administrative, financial, intellectual all of which requires an increasing level of funding i.e. taxation. In a time when the boundaries are pushed so far and the natives not necessarily enamoured with membership of the Roman Empire communications over vast distances is a problem so transport/distribution become major issues and sometimes the scale of local revenues merits new infrastructure which needs to be paid for and administered locally, etc. Then, when your new borders are so distant and the neighbours are used to a ‘less pampered’ existence, they aren’t so easily conquered – they may not even be worth the effort alternatively they may fancy a bit of the Roman Empire for their own – and as we know, whether defence or offence it is costly to maintain. NOT that such details are deemed terribly important to those back at HQ growing fat and lazy but whose appetites for power and wealth have grown, yadda, yadda…

      As it was with Rome it was with Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greek, Mayans

      SO, if my memory serves me well enough, when the Roman Empire crumbled it separated into 10 states (and the Vatican) and, at various stages since then these states have gone through a variety of similar cycles of growth and collapse at national scale. But it is an ongoing process at local, community, family, individual and cellular levels…BACK TO MEDICINE & PHARMA and round again!

      I would love to claim all of this as original thought but it is merely a case of joining the dots, albeit as a result of a considerable amount of reading. Yes, fired by my passion to understand better what so many work so hard to make so little understood. The fact that a tailor-made solution can be applied to bring transparency and rigour, sufficient to transform insurance/banking is available NOW and offers huge opportunity is, of course, a source of enormous frustration. In the meantime, such dialogue is good exercise!!!

      I don’t know what your knowledge of Systems Thinking is but, if your appetite is whet try this: http://wp.me/p16h8c-1qa

      AND, if you haven’t already checked out Tainter/Cole try this on: http://wp.me/p16h8c-su

      Happy reading/thinking.

      David

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