Is the "fire" taking hold in the Arab world? Tunisian “burning man revolution” a lesson in Complexity Theory

For obvious reasons this and other blogs that talk about the threat of contagion and systemic risk have focussed, almost exclusively, upon financial and ecological inter-connectedness.

HOWEVER, once again we see a “pattern from nature” in these Geo-Political events. The institutional model is and will continue to be under extreme pressure to change as it is the vehicle of the “elites” and in uncertain or turbulent economic times scrutiny and criticism will only increase. Only those that are “structurally resilient” can withstand the heat of a fire that started in Tunisia with a spark and is gathering in intensity as it spreads through peoples inter-connected on numerous levels. People unified by a common purpose…to bring about a cultural paradigm shift.

I would urge you to read: “Disaster myopia”: Failing to learn the lessons of increased uncertainty

A Fruit seller, whose cart was impounded, and complaints ignored, by authorities, set himself on fire in a desperate act of protest. His actions have since been mirrored across the Arab World. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iran. This is a measure of how disenfranchised the citizens of these countries feel. Whether fuelled by Political or Religious oppression, an increasing gulf between the “have’s” and the “have not’s”, corruption, crumbling infrastructure, a lack of jobs or food the message is the same. The “elites” who preside over institutions that have given them power Read more of this post

UK Economy: A cynic’s summary (in a single page)

Oh how I wish I could lay claim to such a “piece”. Succinct and introducing me to a great new word “KLPETOCRACY

We are living under a volcano.

Banks have been bailed out to the tune of £3Trillion by Central Banks and Governments around the world. They have used this money for two main purposes – to speculate on commodity prices driving the cost of oil and food to record highs and to short European Government Bonds inflicting huge misery and debt on the populations of these countries.

Ordinary people are paying for the bank bail outs through cuts in public services, pay restraint, job losses and higher inflation (due to speculation and quantitative easing).

The Banks are rewarding themselves with unbelievable bonuses and pay hikes. No apologies, no jail sentences for those who caused the crash – just business as usual and the middle finger of £7Bn bonuses.

In the UK, at least £124 billion of the money we have given the banks is being scored on the National Account as government debt.

This gives the Government the excuse to inflict £81 billion of cuts and tax rises on us.

The ConDem Government promised the electorate reform of banking remuneration

But due to their funding arrangements we won’t be getting it [Link]

People are realising that we are not in fact all in it together but have instead a kleptocracy

This copied directly and in its entirety from Robert Peston’s blog on BBC. Some great comments but this one really made me smile

In the shadow of the volcano

The UK government is duplicating efforts on Swiss accounts

I hate being taken for an idiot then treated like one again and again and again! But, I am a voter, have a brain and aWhich has more holes: UK Government policy or Swiss cheese? conscience. So I should be used to it by now I suppose.

Here is another example of the pathetic focus upon creating a "smokescreen" or taking credit for all the things that the Coalition liked about what the previous Government did and rubbishing the things that they now don’t…even when we were in favour at the time.

The mentality is all about "looking like they are doing the right things" in an attempt to convince people (particularly rating agencies) that they are serious about the task in hand…EVEN THOUGH FOCUS UPON SHORT TERM RESULTS WITHOUT DUE CONSIDERATION OF A WORTHWHILE AND SUSTAINABLE STRATEGY HAVE CONTRIBUTED GREATLY TO THE MESS WE ARE ALL IN…thanks to a lethal combination of – you guessed it – Politicians and Bankers!!!

In an effort to look tough on tax avoidance, the UK government is trumpeting the agreement that it has signed with Switzerland to begin negotiations to make Britons pay tax on their Swiss bank accounts. In reality, the EU Savings Tax Directive is already set up to do that, demonstrating that the government’s sabre-rattling offensive is populist and misguided.The declaration of intent between the UK and Switzerland to start negotiating on tax issues follows meetings between the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and the Swiss finance minister, Hans-Rudolf Merz. Formal negotiations are expected to start in early 2011.

However, the UK chancellor seems to have overlooked the fact that there is already an agreement that levies tax on all UK nationals\’ bank accounts in Switzerland. It is called the EU Savings Tax Directive and has been in place since July 1, 2005.

via Datamonitor Research Store – The British government is duplicating efforts on Swiss.

Update: …More lessons from nature

COMMENTS (refer to original item for more):

After a random event like a forest fire some life remains in the scorched earth. However, apart from lost structure as an outcome [criticality] any remaining “structure” will have been starved of nourishment during the fire [ becoming fragile]. Survivors were those , often with the most robust root system, best equipped to survive, repair and stabilise. Then to renew and increase the inter-connections that are the framework and structure [complexity] that defines a complex dynamic system.

As the effectiveness of the interdependencies grows so does the complexity, diversity, robustness, chances of survival and…the ability to withstand [uncertainty] most events that beset a forest!!!

Dynamic systems are inherently complex and robust with sustainability “built in”. Exo/endo events that affect the stability, functionality, interdependencies, robustness are first reflected in the complexity of the system…..

I can’t, wouldn’t, claim credit for this extremely interesting extract from a really well informed blog by Ashwin Parameswaran – the link to the item is below and, if you like this I would recommend a visit. In view of the continuing displays of utter dis-engagement from the real world – where citizens dwell – by [the bankers’ and Corporations’ pawns] those we refer to as “Political Leaders”, I really wanted to get this out there for some thought … Read More

via A heid full of mince but at least it’s my mince!

The Resilience Stability Trade-off: More lessons from Nature (Chancellor take note!)

I can’t, wouldn’t, claim credit for this extremely interesting extract from a really well informed blog by Ashwin Parameswaran – the link to the item is below and, if you like this I would recommend a visit.

In view of the continuing displays of utter dis-engagement from the real world – where citizens dwell – by [the bankers’ and Corporations’ pawns] those we refer to as “Political Leaders”, I really wanted to get this out there for some thought. Surely if a Government “micro manages” a budget, to achieve short term results – which is entirely in keeping with the culture that got us all into this mess – without fully considering social costs they are merely deferring the inevitable and extremely unlikely to achieve their goals at macro level!? The national economy is, in itself, a Complex Adaptive System (CAS) and a node/hub within the global CAS so, unless a holistic view is taken, a sustainable progressive strategy is unlikely.

But please don’t linger too long on my own comments as the full article is worth reading from economic, ecological and social perspectives. Complexity is the thread.

Mancur Olson. In his final work “Power and Prosperity”, Olson notes: “subsidizing industries, firms and localities that lose money…at the expense of those that make money…is typically disastrous for the efficiency and dynamism of the economy, in a way that transfers unnecessarily to poor individuals…A society that does not shift resources from the losing activities to those that generate a social surplus is irrational, since it is throwing away useful resources in a way that ruins economic performance without the least assurance that it is helping individuals with low incomes. A rational and humane society, then, will confine its distributional transfers to poor and unfortunate individuals.” Olson understood the damage inflicted by rent-seeking not only from a systemic perspective but from a perspective of social justice. The logical consequence of micro-stabilisation is a crony capitalist economy – rents invariably flow to the strong and the result is a sluggish and an inegalitarian economic system, not unlike many developing economies. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not limiting handouts to the poor that defines a free and dynamic economy but limiting rents that flow to the privileged.

via The Resilience Stability Tradeoff: Drawing Analogies between River Flood Management and Macroeconomic Management at Macroeconomic Resilience.

I have taken a final thought on the ecological perspective, or learning “lessons from nature”, from a contribution to a recent discussion on “Power Laws and Accidents” by an eminent mathematician:

Adaptive processes tend to be based on sample stats…and hence tend to seriously under-estimate the dangers when the sample stats tend to significantly under-estimate the true parameters.

Epidemics fit this model. Perhaps more surprisingly, so do forest fires: the patterns of burnt ground versus growth at various stages evolve to provide stability. More trees leads to disaster. Less trees leads to more trees. In between there can be a sustainable forest, with periodic moderate fires. If we make an analogy with finance, then in finance we try to build fire-breaks and then to have as many trees as possible. This can work for a while, but at some point the defenses will be breached, and then one has a wipe-out. It is more sustainable to have a forest with random lightning: if it is frequent enough the forest will never grow to a dangerous condition.