Institutional abuses:: “cut the crap” – from edifice to artifice

So what if, Barclays and others* have been caught screwing the system…AGAIN!

*”Other big names believed to be under investigation include Citigroup, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland”

Cue outcry, righteous indignation, questions in the House and sound bites from every direction. This passes as information but isn’t it just a smokescreen!? Never mind “white collar” crime this is YET ANOTHER case of bare-faced THEFT. £290m is a helluva lot of money to you and me but it will not amount to the collective remunerations to Directors of Barclays (or any other bank) over the last 10 years!!!

What happened to Corporate Governance? Too big to fail was just code for “way too close and too complex to prosecute” without being recognised as accomplices and suffering the, unthinkable but inevitable, loss of office…the jails are too overcrowded anyway!

What is “the system” that they have been abusing?

According to Wikipedia “The phrase in this usage can carry negative connotations”. Damn right it does…PLEASE think about the question. What is it? Why is it? Who pays for it? How can it be changed? But don’t just think about “it” in terms of the banking or financial system, because the culture has contaminated and corrupted Institutions that were once pillars for all that was good in our society.

American capitalism is predatory, and American politics are corrupt: The same thing is true in England and the same in France; but in all these three countries the dominating fact is that whatever the people get ready to change the government, they can change it

Upton Sinclair (1918)

RM needs “unity (and purity) of purpose”:: [re]building the Tower of Babel

If you are wondering what I am babbling about (I understand the word is derived from the bible story) and aren’t familiar with the story here is a brief re-cap:

Genesis 11:1-9, The Tower of Babel – Story Summary:

Up until this point in the Bible, the whole world had one language – one common speech for all people. The people of the earth became skilled in construction and decided to build a city with a tower that would reach to heaven. By building the tower they wanted to make a name for themselves and also prevent their city from being scattered.

God came to see their city and the tower they were building. He perceived their intentions, and in His infinite wisdom, He knew this “stairway to heaven” would only lead the people away from God. He noted the powerful force within their unity of purpose. As a result, God confused their language, causing them to speak different languages so they would not understand each other. By doing this, God thwarted their plans. He also scattered the people of the city all over the face of the earth.

The pace of globalisation may have faltered as a result of the financial crisis but consumer appetites and technology have provided the common language and tools to ensure that we become, if not more connected, then more aware of the “invisible” networks that determine (whether we like it or not) that the future is OUR, SHARED, FUTURE.

Problem is, rather than (co)operate as interdependent components of [non-linear] systems, sub-systems and networks, that transcend borders, sectors, domains and scales, we STILL think in linear terms: within man-made “boundaries”, whether real, imagined or enforced.

We understand competition and are (all too) familiar with quotes, such as, “it’s a dog eat dog world” and “survival of the fittest”, that are trotted out by pop-philosophers intent upon corrupting the wisdom of others, for their own purposes…”greed ISN’T good!”

Greed brought us to where we are today and until people start to question and challenge the business-people who purvey these cancerous clichés as “motivational” WE will fail to grasp the critical nature of the mission we MUST undertake. The exchanges I highlighted in this recent article should serve to illustrate the extent of the dis-harmony amongst some serious heavyweights in an industry that, patently, understands competition more readily than it does, obsolescence!

The nature, and scale, of the problems are such that there should be little room for ambiguity of PURPOSE. But, instead of UNITY and progress, we find the type of undignified hair-splitting and in-fighting surrounding the LANGUAGE of one or other “code” or set of rules! Ironically, NEITHER “solution” possesses the requisite variety to begin to fully understand, let alone address, the problems.

Unsurprisingly, God’s work has stood the test of time and, for us mere mortals, there is a great deal more understanding, humility and co-operation required, just to close the gates of hell

What is Debt? – An Interview with Economic Anthropologist David Graeber « naked capitalism

You may be interested in “eavesdropping” on a very interesting and informative conversation that, beautifully, illustrates how effective we are at ignoring history!

If you are really “hard core” you may want to check out “Mesopotamian complexity” in more detail here.

PP: Which do you see as playing a more important role in human history: money or debt?

DG: Well, it depends on your definitions. If you define money in the broadest sense, as any unit of account whereby you can say 10 of these are worth 7 of those, then you can’t have debt without money. Debt is just a promise that can be quantified by means of money (and therefore, becomes impersonal, and therefore, transferable.) But if you are asking which has been the more important form of money, credit or coin, then probably I would have to say credit.

PP: Let’s move on to some of the real world problems facing the world today. We know that in many Western countries over the past few years households have been running up enormous debts, from credit card debts to mortgages (the latter of which were one of the root causes of the recent financial crisis). Some economists are saying that economic growth since the Clinton era was essentially run on an unsustainable inflating of household debt. From an historical perspective what do you make of this phenomenon? Read more of this post

M.A.D.: The $600 Trillion Time Bomb – Money Morning

My learned colleagues, at Ontonix, recently undertook the task of analysing over 600 macro-economic  parameters from the World Bank for the period from 1970 to 2010 and posed the question: “how much globalisation can the World afford”?

This may seem to be a curious course for a firm whose Founder and CTO is quick to quote Zadeh’s Principle of Incompatibility but should be viewed in the context of a genuine desire to “educate and inform”…and, of course, to showcase Ontonix capabilities!

Read on because “high precision” may not be required. A rough idea of the numbers and the implications should suffice! Read more of this post

Ontonix:: how much globalisation can the World afford?

макет вращающейся планеты Земля, формат - &quo...

Image via Wikipedia

How much globalisation can the World digest? Have we reached the limit? What is the limit, if any? Is globalisation piloted and induced, or is it just a spontaneous and inevitable result of economic (and human) development? These are not easy questions to tackle. However, with the aid of complexity – which is a meta-KPI combining a multitude of conventional indicators into a single scalar measure – we can gain insight into the dynamics of globalisation. Based on data from the World Bank, we have measured and analysed the evolution of complexity of the World as a system. The analysis (see the end of this blog for a complete list of parameters) has embraced 600+ parameters, spanning the period 1970-2010 and covering the following facets of our global society:

Read more of this post