The Small, the Big and the Beautiful


I am always delighted to find out that the ramblings on my humble blog do appeal to others sufficiently that they decide to “follow” it. When I can I do try to check out their blogs for kindred spirits from whom I can learn. Sarah Denie is one such…thanks Sarah! This is a mere extract from a great, recent, article.

the key factor of all economic development comes out of the mind of man”. Our actions, transactions and interactions ultimately stem from our mental models; the way we perceive the world and ourselves within it. The darker side of this coin is that all economic destruction – whether it is a collapse of the financial system, serious damage to the worlds’ ecosystems, or the exhaustion of earth’s resources – are also fruits of the mind of man. It is our perception of separateness, from each other and from our natural environment, that has misshapen the concepts of wealth, value and wellbeing into individual rather than systemic qualities. It is for this reason that we find ourselves in a system in which economic gains are considered value-creating, even if they destroy the very source they sprung from.

This piece reminded me of words of wisdom from some of  history’s great leaders and intellectuals, from Jesus, Confucius and Ghandi to Benoit Mandelbrot and countless others who, in one way or another, tell us or have demonstrated the need to look within and at smaller scales for solutions to even the biggest problems. Such is the nature of complex [non-linear] systems where, courtesy of the “Butterfly Effect” the very small – even invisible to the naked eye – can have unpredictably large impacts.

“…in its beginning it is easy to cure, but hard to recognise; whereas, after a time, not having been detected and treated at the first, it becomes easy to recognise but impossible to cure”

– Niccolo Machiavelli

 

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So often in today’s business and social paradigm, we perceive the world as parts, as mechanical, as inputs and outputs, linear chains and hierarchies; whereas life is actually about networks and interconnecting relationships.

The Nature of Business

The network has been recognised as the basic pattern of organisation in all living systems.

Ecosystems in nature are essentially networks of organisms.  As Fritjof Capra points out, organisms themselves are networks of cells, and cells networks of molecules. An ecosystem is a flexible, responsive, ever-fluctuating network. Its flexibility is a consequence of multiple dynamic sense-and-respond feedback loops that keep the system in a state of dynamic balance. No single variable is max­imised; all variables fluctuate in concert around a collective optimum.

Ecosystems in human nature are essentially networks of communication, social networks of relationships and business ecosystems of partnerships.

People are empowered by being connected to the network, where the success of the whole community depends on the success of each member and vice versa.  Empowerment of individuals empowers the network; likewise empowerment of the community empowers the individuals.

So often in today’s business and social paradigm, we perceive…

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Self-help for business: "better questions, new answers" [free White Paper]


So you’re an SME and you reckon you know better than your Bank Manager, Accountant or some Business Consultant, what is good for your business. Instinctively, you’re probably right…but how do you know?

How can you determine that YOU’RE RIGHT AND THEY ARE WRONG?

If you want to find out how to do it without spending a fortune, opening up your business to someone (who may have an excellent CV) who doesn’t know you or your business OR handing-over “control” to people who assess the worth of a business in terms of £’s – read on.

After all, your Doctor will always tell you what you should or shouldn’t do – eat – drink but, whilst you don’t ignore health advice, I doubt you let them run your life!?

I am not advocating self-medication but I am certainly recommending some self analysis before spending big or risking the decision being taken out of your hands. You don’t even have to have any great concern about the health of the business…just a desire to know more about its “hidden” structure OR the determination to make the business the best that it can be. To: measure; monitor; manage and demonstrate it.

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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

Niall Ferguson: An Evolutionary Approach to Financial History (via Catagenesis)


The Lorenz attractor is an example of a non-li...

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There is very little I can add to this (that I haven’t already said before on numerous occasions!):

…Ferguson references Schumpeter as well as other pioneering thinkers on the intersection of the natural world / evolutionary processes and the monetary/economic/financial worlds.

Those who recognize that markets & economies are complex systems, who also understand what complex systems are and how they work, are really the only people who are even getting close to an approximation of reality.

Embedded below is a short clip from a FORA.tv video of a lecture given by Harvard economic historian & theorist Niall Ferguson.  Ferguson discusses many topics which are of interest to this blog – non-linear dynamics and complex systems in the realm of money, finance & economics. Looking at the economy & financial markets through the lens of evolutionary processes provides valuable insights.  For example, Ferguson references Schumpete … Read More

via Catagenesis