Updated: What was Machiavelli talking about?


I make NO APOLOGY for re-blogging one of my own posts and a pretty recent one at that!

I wanted to add Japan to the list of unforeseen events and to re-pose (if that isn’t just a word I have made up) the question: what can we, sensibly, “take for granted” or should we always expect and prepare for the unexpected?

What was Machiavelli talking about? Image via Wikipedia   Or is it really important to know? Because many of his words are so profound that they transcend disciplines, scenarios and centuries! “…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 If I had attributed the statement to: a respected Economist on the subject o … Read More

via Get “fit for randomness” [with Ontonix UK]

What was Machiavelli talking about?


Niccolo Machiavelli 1

Image via Wikipedia

Or is it really important to know? Because many of his words are so profound that they transcend disciplines, scenarios and centuries!

“…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

If I had attributed the statement to: a respected Economist on the subject of sources of the global banking crisis or sovereign debt; an experienced Political commentator about the situation in Egypt;  a GP, talking about Cholesterol; an Oncologist, talking about cancer; an ecologist on global warming; an accident investigator identifying the cause of a man-made disaster; or one of my colleagues referring to business complexity, there may be some scope to debate the finer points but not the “essence” of the message!

Prevention is better than cure!

Read more of this post

All you could ever want to know about why complexity is THE big deal


This video by David Korowicz [Complexity, Economy, Civilisation & Collapse] will answer the questions you may not have even thought to ask yourself (or others). His holistic perspective, born out of inter-disciplinary thinking tells you all you need to know about complexity, the folly of a “silo mentality” and the power of interdependence.

DK provides some superb illustrations including something as, apparently, simple as buying a loaf. At the other end of the scale he deals (briefly) with Thermodynamics and the “unseen” complexity of the Global Supply Chain driven by supply and demand. Complexity is the link. Read more of this post

Complexity – Economics – Risk: A Brave Army of Heretics


I have said before that complexity certainly isn’t a “new concept” it is just that our understanding of the subject has grown in the last 30 years…and accelerated within the last 10.

At Ontonix we are proud of the level of understanding that we have brought to the subject. Although, widespread recognition has, thus far, eluded us (more specifically, our Founder, Dr Jacek Marczyk). For Jacek and his original team it has been a journey with some recognition along the way. The fact is that, despite some significant success and some major clients, we are still in relatively early days when it comes to practical applications in the Financial Sector where, we believe (and events of the last few years confirm), there is an enormous and pressing need.

Galileo had his critics too!It is easy to challenge “conventional wisdom” based upon the facts but, as history shows us, change can be vehemently resisted when it comes up against entrenched “belief systems”…particularly when such change presents itself as a threat to those for whom power and wealth (individually and collectively) has derived from their “mastery” of the civilized world as we have come to recognise it.

This brings to mind the recent passing of “heretic”, Benoit Mandelbrot whose critique of the “efficient markets” hypothesis over 40 years ago was dismissed. Not the first clever guy to suffer for the truth!

Slowly, very slowly, the message is coming together. Thanks, in the main, to the very tools that allow me to write and distribute my own thoughts…WOW! The following extract contains a link to a very interesting presentation from Prof Andrew Lo “Physics Envy” and the following article “Back to Nature” further illustrate the convergence of  disciplines.

Andrew Lo’s reference to inter-disciplinary: Mathematics – Physics – Chemistry – Biology – Economics – History – Philosophy – Religion, as aligned to fields of knowledge in his “Spectrum of uncertainty”, indicate to me that there is something fundamental that is being overlooked. Common in each of the above as well as Sociology, Anthropology and, due to global inter-connectedness, every aspect of modern life. COMPLEXITY. After all each discipline, and I am sure there will be more that I have not even referenced, relate to differing aspects of the ecosystem within which we exist and without which we could not.

Our work at Ontonix is the gauntlet that has been thrown down in front of a host of “celebrated Academics” and the “wise men” of the Financial Sector! We are the only organisation able to offer a clear, verifiable, definition as well as a means of measuring – 100% quantitative, objective and model-free – the complexity of a dynamic system.

Despite this breakthrough we fully understand why the author of this article (which is certainly for the serious scholar) chose the title A Brave Army of Heretics and it ties-in rather well with a blog from February this year:

The case for “Complexity Analysis”: Blind faith, Greek philosophy and risk

 

Video: Reflections on a crisis – typically “lively” conversation feat. Nassim Taleb


Nassem Talib

Image via Wikipedia

Please take the time to follow the link: REFLECTIONS ON A CRISIS

Edge Foundation Inc: Exemplifying, if not leading, the trend for some of the keenest minds on the planet to “breakout” of the traditional silos of their respective subjects and specialism to seek out answers to THE questions through conversation and collaboration. Psychologists, physicists, mathematicians, sociologists, philosophers, environmentalists…

I believe this to be the academic and intellectual manifestation of the inter-connectedness that the internet has brought to us all, through social and business networking. But if that is the positive then the negative has been the systemic risk exposure that has come along with it. It is no coincidence that linear supply chains have and are evolving to become networked. Institutions are under pressure to embrace change or risk a dramatic loss of relevance, power and wealth. Commercial ventures can no longer be solely about the maximisation of (particularly neo-liberal) ECONOMICS to deliver financial results for shareholders. Sustainable stakeholder value – not mere greenwashing – demand full consideration of ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL and CULTURAL issues.

With inter-connectedness comes interdependence and complexity. Shared values, transparency and trust still require governance and management.

PARTICIPANTS: DANIEL KAHNEMAN is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology, Princeton University, and Professor of Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his pioneering work integrating insights from psychological research into economic science, especially concerning human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty. NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB, essayist and former mathematical trader, is Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute. He is the author of Fooled by Randomness and the international bestseller The Black Swan

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