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UCD-STAFFORDBEER  December 2008

UCD-STAFFORDBEER December 2008

Subject:

Re: Viable Economy #3

From:

allenna leonard <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 5 Dec 2008 13:19:05 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (213 lines)

Dear Barry,

While I make no claim to understanding economics myself, it would seem that we are not alone given the mess we're in. Regardless, economists need to understand some basic ideas about systems.  Didn't Greenspan say his predictions were off because he hadn't accounted for the high degree of short term self interest that drive traders? Reward systems anyone?

Speculator expectations seems as good a place to start as any.  It might at least start the ball rolling.

When I did the work for the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants we were always concerned with how 'soft' the basis for determining the figures that went into the 'hard' balance sheet were.

Auditors are supposed to verify three assumptions: 
1. the completeness assumption - had all the assets and liabilities been included?
2. the going concern assumption - would the company still be in business in 12 months? (Plenty of people think 12 months is inadequate for complex organizations or ones like the auto industry that are supposed to be able to provide parts and services for much longer periods)
3. the management good faith assumption (our work said that wasn't taken seriously enough and didn't go far enough - without a mechanism to assure transparency and solicit multiple perspectives)

It was fun hearing the stories my deceased colleague Bill Bradshaw used to tell - like about how a whole audit unravelled when one of the auditors asked the simple question "And how many pensioners do you have?"

BTW, one of the things former banker Bernard Lietaer said was that debt driven expansion was inherently unstable.

Allenna

    
  


--- On Fri, 12/5/08, BARRY A CLEMSON <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> From: BARRY A CLEMSON <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Viable Economy #3
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Friday, December 5, 2008, 10:55 AM
> This is my third rant about developing a cybernetically
> sound regulatory system for the global economy. For the sake
> of brevity, I am going to make some straightforward
> assertions, without much in the way of qualifying comments.
> Please consider all of this as tentative and my challenge to
> you to improve upon it.
> 
> OUR GOALS:
> 1) Every national government in the world should have a
> "Council of Systemic Advisors", similar to the
> existing Council of Economic Advisors.
> 
> In the US we also have a Science Advisor to the President,
> but there is no one charged with explicitly thinking about
> systemic issues. A Council of Systemic Advisors would, in
> the long run, have an enormous impact on government policies
> and on the university and the roles of cybernetics/systems
> within the university (which in turn would feed back for
> more impact on government and corporations).
> 
> 2) We need Obama and his team of economic advisors to be
> aware of and receptive to the cybernetic community's
> insights re. regulation in complex systems.
> 
> To achieve goal #2, we do not need a fully developed design
> for regulating the global economy What we need to begin are
> a few well chosen demonstrations of where cybernetics would
> dramatically improve on the current economic thinking that
> led to the current crisis. At the risk of revealing my
> abysmal ignorance about economics and the stock market, i
> will suggest that the current system is largely a positive
> feedback loop with "speculator expectations" as
> the  key level (to use Forrester's system dynamics
> language). If this is even close to correct, then the system
> is GUARANTEED  to engage in wild swings and ultimately
> collapse. Regardless of the correctness of my example, I
> think what we need to get our ideas on the table is a few
> such examples of systemic alternatives to grossly inadequate
> designs.
> 
> STRATEGY
> 1) We need a group focused on developing the examples of
> where cybernetic thinking would dramatically improve upon
> current orthodoxy. Hopefully there are at least a few of our
> number who understand a little about economics and maybe can
> do this fairly quickly.
> 
> 2) Obama is certainly the most important player right now,
> but other nations should not be ignored. And getting to the
> government of one country might well make it easier to get
> to the government of other countries. Thus, we should all
> work on our own national governments (and, where possible,
> help each other). Thus we need a group focused on how to get
> the attention of the national decision makers.
> 
> 3) This is much bigger than just management cybernetics. We
> need to enlist every system thinker in the world. (NOTE: I
> am now really going to reveal the ignorance resulting from
> spending most of the last ten years as a carpenter and
> ignoring the academic world, but perhaps i can still make
> the point). We need to enlist and ally with groups such as
> System Dynamics, Society for General System Theory (I know,
> it transmogrified into a different group but I don't
> remember the new name), and the organizational learning
> folks such as Peter Senge who emphasize systems thinking.
> Undoubtedly there are many others I don't know about.
> 
> NEXT STEPS
> 1) We need to know who is interested and willing to work on
> this project. Step right up and volunteer. Indicate:
> - your country
> - sketch of your background, what you bring to the table,
> how you see yourself helping.
> 
> 2) A dedicated forum, listserve or some such. Some of you
> are much more knowledgeable than I about what we need to
> support the project.
> 
> 3) Refinement of the goals and strategies. Clearly a
> serious discussion has to refine these before we can do much
> else.
> 
> 4) Think carefully about what other system scientists we
> can drag into this project. Go ahead and recruit those you
> can. Make lists of those you think might be useful but that
> you don't have personal connections with.
> 
> A NOTE ON ME
> I spent eight years teaching admin. in colleges of
> education, then ten years in in  teaching engineering
> management. I was then forced out of the university for
> failing at TV teaching. I also had careers in software
> development (mostly with very large systems) and community
> development. The last ten years I mostly built additions to
> homes and recently became a novelist (discovered fiction is
> a hell of a lot harder than technical writing!). All this is
> by way of saying that I will have zero credibility with
> government decision makers and that quite obviously someone
> else is going to have to be the public face for this
> project. This might not be an issue, it might well be that
> the best public face for the project will become obvious as
> we proceed. On the other hand, I often think of Thomas
> Jefferson's comment that any politician who wants the
> job is thereby disqualified because he will then make
> decisions our of a context of preserving his position
> instead of a context of the common good. So this is
> something to keep in the back of your mind as we proceed.
> 
> PARTING SHOT
> This obviously can only be done if a group of us step up to
> do it. Now is the time! And you are the One! Take one step
> forward if you are willing to help save the world ....
> 
> Grace and Peace,
> 
> Barry
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> What i have not yet seen is any large number of people
> explicitly volunteering to do much about it.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ===================================================
> 
> BARRY A CLEMSON
> [log in to unmask]
> 
> 757-692-6673
> 
> Cybernetica Press at www.cyberneticapress.com
> 
> 
> 
> "It's not how much you do - it's how much love
> you put in it.... Do small things with great love."
>             --- Mother Teresa ---
> 
> The true warrior may be killed, but he can not be defeated.
>    --- my paraphrase of Sensei Hamada ---
> 
> And peace rolled down like a mighty river.
>        -- Inspired by the prophet Amos 5:24--
> 
> 
> "An enemy is a person whose story we have not
> heard."
>            -- Gene Knudsen Hoffman --
> 
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
> 
> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE)
> go to:  www.platformforchange.org
> 
> METAPHORUM eList Archive available at -
> https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html
> 
> Archive of CYBCOM eList available at -
> http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


      

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org

For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:  www.platformforchange.org

METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html

Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
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