Revealed: the capitalist network that runs the world – New Scientist

A timely reminder and some useful, supplementary, information! Don’t be deceived…

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I recently wrote “” and have been boring regular readers about complexity and the threat of excessive complexity, particularly when the inter-connections are “closely coupled” (see below). Amongst others, the World Economic Forum have attempted to highlight the issues.

Financially “influential” firms SHOULD BE, as they have historically been, sources of “systemic resilience”. Instead, in a turbulent, debt-laden, global economy they can, effectively, act as “superspreaders”…hubs of systemic risk:

The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the economy. Superconnected companies are red, very connected companies are yellow. The size of the dot represents revenue <i>(Image: </i>PLoS One<i>)</i>AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters’ worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

The study’s assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. Pushing the analysis further, they say, could help…

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Five Reasons Companies Fail at Business Model Innovation – HBR

We have become so used to the idea of standards as a good thing that we tend to apply them in the wrong places. For example, consider the idea of a “best practice.” The concept of a best practice assumes that there is one ‘best way” to solve a problem. It assumes that every problem can be isolated from its context, and a single best way of solving it can be described and shared. Unfortunately, this has caused a lot of problems in the business world, because it’s impossible to isolate problems from their contexts.

A system is not just the sum of its parts. What makes a system work is not the parts in isolation, but the interactions between them, and the inherent tradeoffs that must be made to achieve different kinds of system performance…

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Several years ago when I first read these words from Clay Shirky they really resonated as far as my own industry [insurance] was concerned.

“It is easier to understand that you face competition than obsolescence”

In the intervening period a great deal has changed…not necessarily for the better. But too much has remained the same. As I read recently “Nowadays, competition is mainly taking place between business models rather than just between products and services…”. It is true.

Business models that are unsustainable but still function in the current environment, are now showing the outward signs of frailty. Fragile businesses lack the agility to adapt for survival in a post-critical financial landscape.

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