Posts tagged ‘Institutional Analysis’

May 30, 2013

Music is a tourist magnet for London

Mental associations pie

It is impossible one to escape the complexity of individual desires and that holds true for tourism. People decide to travel, our inherited desires to explore put aside, for a myriad of reasons. You normally want to go where others are going to, where your youth memories is driving you due to the language you studied, the promise you made to yourself when browsing the internet or watching your view-master if you are old enough to remember such a gadget, maybe the promise you gave to your spouse or your children…the list is endless. To add to the complexity most of the times it is the financial situation of this individual or family that dictates priorities and silence your wants.

That said 15.000.000 of you end up in London every single year and wanted to know why. What is exactly that attracting this mythical average visitor to London?

Until recently to contact a global survey one would need the collaboration an institution like the UN an endless list of participating Universities and endless hours of research and analysis from thousand of people.

Thank God now, thanks to the internet there is a technique, that you may heard of, call crowdsourcing which can reduce the amount of effort needed by several thousands times and is as accurate as any if you analyse it using specific mathematical techniques which I will not get into in this instance.

Anyway we did that and for the first time to our knowledge we reveal what are the actual mental associations of that elusive individual the “average London visitor” when he thinks of London.

Studying the results you may be equal surprised with us or not but several point were of interest and I would like to raise them.

  1. A staggering 30% of all tourists are attracted by the various concerts. That doesn’t mean they will go to one of them during their stay but is you were to ask them they would love to. Music is not just one of the biggest industries and exporting products from UK but a major reason people are coming to London.
  2. For some peculiar reason beyond my comprehension to be honest, and I live in UK for the last 18 years, people associate in their minds London with food!
  3. The third reason is one I was expecting to be the first Attractions and Landmarks with one in 10 coming to London with the hope to be visiting all of them if possible.
  4. People love glamour the palaces and the Queen where associated in almost one in 10 individuals. Maybe the resent royal marriage has something to do with it and finally
  5. We encountered here a significant and not easy to understand oxymoron which has to do with shopping and fashion. From one hand only one in every eleven people in our research associated their visit to London with either fashion or shopping on the other hand a recently published report (http://www.retailgazette.co.uk/articles/12104-tourist-spend-in-uk-shops-hits-45bn ) revealed that an unbelievable 81% of all visitors are actually going shopping during their visit in London.

But enough of me, use the chart we attach and draw your own conclusions and please let us know what you think.

The Gaianomy TT

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November 10, 2012

The end of loneliness

ImageThe friends of this blog must be aware by now, on the type of research we normally undertake. The last eight months were no different. We concentrated on finding these elusive chaotic patterns within the institutional structures, to help us predict new developing institutional forms. See our blog http://bit.ly/s0Q4hK for an introduction to the concept. 

Between others we explored ancient institutions that seem to define attempts to change, at least until recently. Not surprisingly marriage was one of them as the it was family another ancient institution which contain the first. We were very careful with family as according to our research it is one of the fundamental societal bonds and a unit of measurement for social cohesion. Social cohesion that while present, supports Nationalism and in its absence Globalisation. 

To return back to marriage it initially, on the surface, appeared untouched until we start digging deeper. According to the market research firm Euromonitor International, the number of people living alone globally is skyrocketing, rising from about 153 million in 1996 to 277 million in 2011 – an increase of around 80% in 15 years. In the UK, 34% of households have one person living in them and in the US it’s 27%. That is by far higher than global population growth.

We were surprised. That indicated that Globalisation was in the rise, a fact that we actually observed anyway, and Nationalism in retreat which we did not. But what attracted our attention mostly was the fact that the phenomena of social isolation was in the rise (more research is needed on that) which is deeply worrying, as this phenomenon appears to be feeding extremism when occurs in periods of economic crisis. 

Is there a solution we thought? Was that phenomenon present in the past and if yes what societies did to counteract it? Are there any conclusion deriving from history. We went back. A lot of us are Greek anyway so, Plato appeared in the picture fairly soon describing a similar problem.

According to him, Aristophanes was often repeating a story whereby humans used to have four legs four hands and a double faced head. Zeus thought, who was afraid of their inner strength, separated them in two, condemning them in an endless search for their soul-mate. An interesting story nevertheless, a story that in our days may serve only as a metaphor to describe a social phenomenon.

The fact though remains one, people 2500 years ago were faced with the same phenomenon we experience today!

So what societies did to address it? We found new institutions all the way to the present day from arranged marriages to engagement. Institutions that are still present in the 21st century!

What about the internet we thought? Did it offered a pressure release valve? Any institutional entrepreneurs in the social backbone? We found, once more, none to our surprise.

It appears that traditional matchmaking has just migrated (copy-paste) its 10000 years old practices into the internet. Companies saw loneliness as a profit making opportunity, a paid by the month service.

Dating overtook in 2011 porn, another loneliness fuelled industry, to become a multi-billion industry. New companies sprang every day, over the last decade, all promising anything an average person may have in its wish list. The average desperate single based on the latest research will spend $129 per year in subscription fees and another $2300 in dating or as we named it the Zeus tax. 

A critique of this dating industry Eli J. Finkel, PhD (www.news.health.com/2012/02/06/online-dating-pitfalls) highlight a few simple facts the major of which is that the industry wants you to stay single and dependent for as long as they can. The average person retains his subscription for more that 18 months!

Another interesting finding uncovers the second major pitfall of their process.

Although most dating websites feature photos and detailed, searchable profiles covering everything from personality traits to likes and dislikes, this information (they know) isn’t necessarily useful in identifying a partner…That’s partly because daters don’t always know what they want in a mate—even though they generally think they do. Studies suggest that people often lack insight into what attracts them to others (and why), and therefore the characteristics they seek out in an online profile may be very different from those that will create a connection in person,” the review notes.

In other words there is no way, but by accident, that you may find a soul-mate using this approach or services! 

In Gaianomy we generally are not a bunch of idle observers (we are all working) and where ever we can we intervene (i.e. already the Greek Government started to implement some of recommendations even if that is only partly).

We know it takes time to change institutions but if you know their structure, the right triggers, then you’ve got a chance.

So, we debated a lot on how urgently social isolation needs to be addressed under the circumstances (see Global crisis) and we agreed that something needs to be done, as soon as possible, if the migration to a post capitalistic society is to be achieved sooner than later.

Easier said then done taking on as a mission to reverse social isolation phenomena, was quite an undertaking. We went back to our research and we hypothesised that if we managed to alter the way the dating and matchmaking industry, that already owns the 50% of the market, operates we had a chance. The problem was/is that this industry is not in the business of actually matching people, as it will loose its customer base. We needed something more innovative.

A member of our group happens to be the founder of a mobiles VAS (value added services) company. They were working on a product that basically connects human desires with market offers for the last 2 years.

When we put the two together it was a no-brainer. How about finding a way to connect two individuals with the same desires, instead of one with an business enterprise, we thought? In theory it seemed feasible.

There was of course the small matter of financing it and of course the rewards for the company involved, which is not a charity.

You can guess the rest. We found a formula for financing it internally and we agreed on the maximum price the product/service can be sold in order to have a chance reaching mass market proportions. We may well be the first Think Tank that, to our knowledge, has attempted something similar.

As we publish this, we are very near to the actual product that, we hope will revolutionise the way we interact as single humans. We took on the mission to reduce loneliness to its previous, if not better, normal standard within the next ten years (that is the time frame we consider the current form of capitalism will exist) in order to enhance social integration, reduce extremism phenomena and strengthen social coherence through the empowerment of the fundamental social units the family

If it sounds interesting and you want to help, let us know. It will cost you nothing.

We are only weeks away from starting B-testing of the product. Regarding the how you can participate and details of the product we will tell you in the next blog.

Until then, please, wish us good luck.

 

October 15, 2012

To the Greek goverment…and not only. Can you please listen?

We monitor, for over two years now, the situation in Greece, one of the the richest currently fields of institutional metamorphosis and the institutional changes as they happen.

Institutions are, by nature, modular entities not dissimilar to organic proteins and which societies combine together to create new complex institutions, while others acting like enzymes catalyse/forge change causing modifications in belief systems.

Based on the above definition Politics, being an institution, undergoes rapid changes across the Globe and even faster ones in Greece, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Libya etc.

We studied in detail all political manifestos in Greece as they evolve (based on the new developing belief system) and several of them appear to be following viable paths towards a stable meta-economic framework within an environment affected by global influences however each one in its own apospasmatic way.

So, with the hypothesis of political ethos and integrity after the last elections almost a given, we are writing to you in order to propose a very simple solution to some of the Greek problems, which can be implemented immediately.

The way we approached  the solution, coming from a non-economic bounded theoretical framework, but instead a sociological one, allowed us to identify the  institutional root causes of the current problems in Greece and their  supporting mechanisms. Thankfully they appear all to derive from the same one which means that altering the nature of this supporting mechanism one may introduce eventually the desired change.

We acknowledge that the proposition is both radical and unconventional. To counteract the  expected scepticism, we tested it as a hypothesis within the current economic theoretical framework and it proved to be a solid proposition with minimum (at a national scale) social disturbance.

We will not attempt to present the whole analysis in this text even if we are ready to demonstrate it if needed. Instead we will move straight to the point starting from the potential  benefits of the solution which are simply  extraordinary. A small selection of them is listed below.

  • Eliminate the Greek government debt in less then 4.5 years after full implementation (based on current projections on the size of tax evasions)
  • Combat in its totality tax evasion within 12 months from implementation and brings a minimum of 18bn and a maximum of 52bn per year (in subsequent years) of additional taxes without the need for any additional taxation on any sector of the economy.
  • Refinance the Banks without the need for any additional loans within a maximum period of 18 months with at least 18bn (93% probability)
  • Elimination of most of the  black markets (85% within a year from implementation)
  • Eliminate corruption in the public sector (immediately)
  • Decrease street crime, robberies etc.  by more then 70% within a year of implementation
  • Eradicate within 12 months from implementation illegal migration towards Greece (not the transit one though)
  • Eliminate money laundering to a significant extend
  • Eradicate drugs trade within Greece within 36 months
  • Eradicate people trafficking and with it, illegal working and prostitution

In addition secondary effects will cause:

  • Capital repatriation
  • Additional available capital in the Banks for loans
  • Ability to accurately plan fiscal policies due to taxation revenue certainty
  • Increase the GDP and the ability of the country to borrow (if ever this will be necessary)
  • Provide the government with all arguments needed to modify the existing fiscal treaty
  • Eradicate the hysterisis  in ΦΠΑ (VAT) returns bringing the revenue in real time
  • Elimination of the need for tax and ΦΠΑ (VAT) returns from citizens and companies

So, what this solution consists of?

The total abandonment of all forms of paper money and coins across the country in favour of  a paperless e-currency in the form of contact-less debit (not credit) cards in conjunction with fingerprint recognition technologies or any other similar secure technologies.

We cannot emphasise enough the fact that partial implementation of the proposed solution will have no effect.

These (the debit cards) can be issued by any bank and should be free from monthly  or usage charges. Overdraft facilities should be at the discretion of every Bank to issue or the can be regulated by the central bank of Greece. Every adult citizen will be required to have a personal account (in his chosen bank) corresponding to his national insurance number (ΑΦΜ) from the age of 15 (?), while younger members can share their parents accounts and own debit cards in the name of their parents with a predefined upper limit.

The technology is mature and already in place at a minute cost  while mobile phones can play the role of tills. All recorded transactions either through the mobile phones or bank accounts will feed into a central IT tax backbone system. The Existing Greek one to our knowledge can accept this load with minor modifications.

It goes beyond saying that the transition needs to be managed robustly, however with given the successful transition from Drachma to Euro, in the past,  the expertise already exists within the country. The difference in this case will be in the additional amount of technology needed.

The whole approach do not violates to our understanding  any articles of the Greek constitution  or any personal freedom acts or European regulations for that reason (we went though all relevant one’s).

Tourist or businessman visiting the country will be required to use their own credit or debit cards, travellers checks and prepaid cards.

Policing against the influx of  illegal money from abroad will take some planning to be achieved and to our calculations based on previous research will be never eradicated completely. One should expect that anything from 0.3 to 3% of the current black markets will be able to retain funding. The best way to control these amounts is by offering incentives to  the citizens, traders and companies in the use of paperless money, by adjusting the taxation system.

Incentives should be offered as well in order to avoid citizens and groups holding onto paper currency for future illegal use. A possible solution will be in agreement with all European banks to destroy all Greek Euros within an agreed period.

The use of gold or other valuable metals is expected to increase initially, in order  to counteract the lack of cash by the black market, the illegal trade and the drugs traders. However based on global standards the amount of gold available for the Greek market, in private hands, cannot last more then 36 months being in decline from day one.

We anticipate as well an attempt from all types of outlaw operatives to try to utilise prepaid tourist debit cards, prepaid mobile cards or even stamps as alternative currency to avoid detection of their illegal transactions. All of the above can be counteracted by simple regulations (i.e. replacing stamps with bar codes that contain one’s ΑΦΜ.) and we expect the groups controlling the black market to migrate soon after in other countries, which will be easier  then  battling policing methods and the rising cost of money laundering.

We expect as well a rise in the creation of offshore companies and foreign accounts where transaction between them will evade monitoring . However the existing and new coming regulation within Greece and from the EU we believe are adequate to capture the majority of the initial attempts to bypass the enforced transparency in transactions while at a later stage and after the reactions have been studied thoroughly new regulations or bills can be introduced.

Overall we strongly believe that the benefits far outnumber the initial problems and in any case this proposition, despite its unusual nature and the possible reactions it will cause, is by far more realistic and just then everything proposed thus far.

One should think of the thief that cannot sell his illegally acquired goods, the public servant that cannot ask for a bribe, the illegal immigrant that cannot be paid an days work, the businessman that cannot evade the national insurance contributions towards  his employees, the elder that is not afraid to go out in case he is mugged, the abandonment of the idea for additional salary reductions, the money influx into the economy or the ability to have a debt free Greece within 5 years, in order to dismiss any initial “discomfort” this solution may cause to one’s belief system.

Institutional change is a complex undertaking so we analysed it using similar studied institutional actors’ reactions that appeared on very similar in nature issues. The type of arguments that will/may  be used against the proposition by those that consciously or subconsciously (involuntary resistance to change) will try to oppose it are listed below. These arguments we expect to mainly instigated by the following institutions:

  • The church
  • The street markets
  • Hospitality and
  • The black markets

and they will be based on these generic arguments:

  1. Difficulty to implement
  2. Difficulty to police
  3. Will create unemployment due to the closure as unnecessary of all tax offices but the central governance and IT services
  4. Will leave unemployed all private accounting firms and sole accountants
  5. It will increase poverty levels to the very poor, beggars who depend on the black economy for survival
  6. It will be extremely hard to the drug addicts and will increase the cost to the Health System
  7. It will be a shock to the market which is used to be subsidised by the black economy
  8. The European Union may not approve
  9. The elderly will have problem to adjust
  10. The technology to support it will cost a lot
  11. It will affect tourism
  12. It is a “capitalist” trick to control money flow
  13. The market is not ready for it
  14. The “Banks” are behind it

Counterarguments for the above are:

  1. Implementation can be as short as nine (9) months only (mainly dependant on the mechanisms the government will put in place to collect all currencies currently in the market)
  2. We where doing it in the past when there was a need to manage foreign currency in the country. In addition technology now is at its best to counter any attempt to illegal circulation
  3. There are already plan in place for the transition of civil servants to other parts of government
  4. Additional jobs will be created within the banks and the public sector which at last will have capital to expand
  5. Barter will be able to substitute immediate needs in conjunction with an improved social provision that the country will be able to afford
  6. This is a benefit and not a negative argument and actually the cost to the Health System long term will drop to near zero
  7. That is true but it will take less than 18 months and then the market will adjust. (see at the implementation of the tills)
  8. That is equally true but it up to us to sell the arguments. We anticipate that if it will proposed as a reversible if fail  situation or an experiment towards a paperless money economy in the EU it will be accepted. In any case  we believe that they do not have to offer a better solution.
  9. That is not true contact-less technology in conjunction with fingerprint identification will be easier then the transition from Drachma to Euro (see Korean studies on e-currency)
  10. It will cost less the $12 per unit, provided a mobile phone exists and in any case that cost can be taken on by the Banking system
  11. Tourists in Greece will be able to use their own credit or debit cards as well as prepaid debit cards issue at all ports or entry points or their countries provided that they are e-linked to their National Insurance Number and their passport or their ID.
  12. An educated person can distinguish easily between fiat money and e-currency
  13. One needs to look at the trends in the use of e-currency to counteract this
  14. The exact opposite is true. Despite the fact that they will welcome the measure they know that will never again be able to control money supply as they used to returning this way the control to the Central Bank

We have seen the reaction of others (control groups) when the idea was introduced/tested initially and we are aware of the people’s tendency to dismiss ideas that do not “connect” with their belief system. Human nature  favours stability by resisting change. However we believe that you will give the idea due consideration and discuss its practicality and possible impact with other intellectuals you trust.

If nothing else there is no other proposition on the table currently, and believe us we monitor the situation in Greece very carefully, to offer equal benefits. Utilisation of fiscal/monetary solutions within the existing economic framework failed us so far and they will keep doing so, due to the nature of the Greek economy and the expected duration needed to return to growth,  as they ignore the needed management of institutional change.

Finally, in case the government or your party lack institutional analysts to perform any institutional impact analysis ,you may wish to undertake, until such a proposition was put forward, we would like to offer our assistance.

We are happy as well to disclose our findings as well as the methodology used to calculate the amounts and the time needed for any of the suggested effects to materialise, even if we believe that it would be better to be tested by people you trust. We have very many excellent scientists in Greece that can perform these type of economic simulation.

On Behalf of the Gaianomy Think Tank

Sotiris Melioumis Organisational Architect

January 14, 2012

The 12 Olympian Gods and the Hierarchy of Societal Needs

Mythological stories always fascinated me.  Listening about the gods and the heroes was my favourite hour, in the elementary school, in antithesis with history. Not that initially I was able to distinguish between myth and history. To history’s credit, it had battles heroes and kings and the Greeks were always the winners, but something was lacking. Myths appear to be always so much better as stories, then the “boring” history.

I will return home every afternoon, with my mind full of new stories to tell to my poor mother, who patiently will sit next to me and listen. I thought she could never distinguish the actual story from my “additions”.

I never became the hero I always wanted to and the nearest I came to these gods was be climbing mount Olympus and allowing my fantasy to act as augmented reality, there is no app for that yet.

The study of Christianity that followed in consequent years (compulsory back then) took away all the Olympian glamour and forged into my mind a new belief, that one god is better then twelve. There were no more stories for my relieved mother. There was no glamour anymore just suffering, a very different perspective of life.

It took me another 30 years or so, to realise that there was no so much difference after all between monotheism and polytheism. Both of them were there to cover human existential needs, both of them represented a different but not dissimilar philosophy of life and both of them, theology aside, were social institutions designed subconsciously (primarily) and as such build to order, to serve specific societal needs.

At last I had the answer that was lurking at the back of my mind for so many years, “why one is better the twelve” and I realised that based at least on the third perspective the institutional one, that the Greeks and the rest of the monotheism-bounded humanity got it wrong!

I realised as well how difficult the transition must have been and why even now these old religions still have proponents. Beliefs and spirituality aside, it is the social institutions and what they represent what keeps them alive.

I came across yesterday, while cleaning my folders, an image of the twelve gods and exactly next to it, the jpg file with the Hierarchy of Societal Needs. It did not took long before curiosity overwhelmed rational and “in the name of science”  I started to explore the needs, institutionally wise, the twelve gods were designed to cover if mapped against the Hierarchy of Societal Needs (HoSN).

It was a bizarre, to say the least exercise, but then again something that to my knowledge none attempted before which by itself, as every scientist will tell you, was justification enough.

It did not take long after that to find what every one of the twelve gods was representing to my ancestors and map it against the HoSN.

Having read so, far I bet you will be wondering what was different back then. Well it depends upon your expectations.

For one their gods were there, primarily, to cover for all their uncertainties, all their fears and everything else their science could not explain. (See highlighted in yellow the institutions covered from the 12 Olympians).

The socioeconomic framework was there in all its glory, so it was nationalism. All four basic-needs levels namely survival, coherence, progress and prosperity where to a degree represented.

The interest though, some to my surprise, was that:

  • They did not fear about having work or not, they all had!
  • They did not care (fear) that much, about money and currencies and the most important was that they show no need for “wealth as a mean” so, no prayer was spared to gods for gold and riches. Harvest yes, “prosperity” yes but riches was not in demand.
  • Diplomacy and Politics were totally absent from their fears list
  • Banks as well, were absent (as expected?) and so were “Services”
  • Immigration was not an issue nor was Social Integration… slavery was doing an excellent job
  • They did not have any type of complex civil services so they did not have to create a god to protect them from bureaucracy… lucky people!
  •  …
  • And the most important they were at ease with war as an integral part of life!

That last one, to be honest, spoiled the whole image because, I have to admit, until then I was tempted to, triumphantly, declare that my ancestors were wiser then us.

As usual, I leave enough for you to conclude on your own.

SM

January 6, 2012

To get the “truth” in UK you will need at least three news channels. …and the power of mental associations

Association is a synapse-like mental sub-structure, connecting two, recorded (sensed) or pre-existing (genetically imprinted), informational units into one, on a conscious or subconscious level. There are strong indications that associations operate as a membership function of a fuzzy set http://bit.ly/qhKzcQ  varying its strength overtime. It is a fundamental tool within the new synthetic institutionalism proposition but to the average reader means absolutely nothing… until now. You see so far, all research was based on questionnaires and small relatively samples ignoring (due to methodological mainly shortcomings) the subconscious level http://bit.ly/Ibin0. If I ask you to give me your opinion, you employ your rational to do so suppressing subconsciously all information institutionally bounded. It is human nature. If, on the other hand, I never ask you the question but instead I dig through your writings where conscious and subconscious operate in unison your opinion would be crystal clear. What ever you believe for whatever reason will surface. If in addition I combine ALL associations made in writing so far, by all of you, then the probability of accuracy will exceed 97%!  http://bit.ly/19iKDS This is the power of association and that is how we analyse institutions (in case you were curious). As usual, we would leave to your discretion to make any conclusions from the graph, from our part we would make just one. To get the “truth” in UK you will need at least three news channels. Please send us your conclusions and we promise to publish the best.

The Gaianomy T-T

December 31, 2011

Και όμως το 2012 θα είναι καλύτερο για την Ελλάδα (Apologies to our regular readers but this post is intended for Greeks readers only)

Κάθε οικονομία επηρεάζεται και επηρεάζει τις άλλες, ο βαθμός μόνο διαφέρει. Επί χρόνια η Ελλάδα είχε «έλλειμμα» σε αυτόν τον τομέα και στο άμεσο μέλλον δεν υπάρχουν ενδείξεις ότι αυτό μπορεί να αντιστραφεί, με βάσει τουλάχιστον τα λεγόμενα και γραφόμενα στον Ελληνικό τύπο που επιμελώς παρακολουθώ.

Η εξάρτηση αυτή, σε συνδυασμό με τις επιβαλλόμενες έξωθεν μεθόδους «αναδιάρθρωσης», την ανυπαρξία προτάσεων ουσιαστικού περιεχομένου για την έξοδο της χώρας από την κρίση όπως επίσης και την συνειδητοποιημένη πλέων οικονομική δυσχέρεια του μέσου Έλληνα, τροφοδοτούν ένα κλίμα δικαιολογημένης απαισιοδοξίας.

Σε όλα αυτά έρχεται να προστεθεί και η συνειδητοποίηση, στον μέχρι πρότεινως αδιάφορο πολίτη, των συστηματικών αδυναμιών της οικονομίας, της πολιτικής και της δημόσιας διοίκησης και των ζοφερών αποτελεσμάτων της συνδυασμένης αρνητικής επίδρασης τους στην καθημερινότητα. Αναπόφευκτα η απαισιοδοξία μετατράπηκε σε εθνική κατάθλιψη και τα όποια σενάρια για πιθανά δεινά βρίσκουν πρόσφορο έδαφος ανάπτυξης σαν βακτήρια σε ανοικτές πληγές.

Η μοιρολατρία κερδίζει συνεχώς έδαφος με κίνδυνο να τροφοδοτείσει νέους κύκλους λανθασμένων αποφάσεων από τους διοικούντες, είτε διότι οι ίδιοι έχουν πέσει θύματα του ίδιου καταθλιπτικού συνδρόμου τροφοδοτούμενο από παντελή έλλειψη ιδεών, είτε διότι οι φωνές του πλήθους τους αναγκάζει να πάρουν αποφάσεις που μέχρι πρότινος θα θεωρούνταν από πρόχειρες μέχρι εξωπραγματικές.

Το να βρει ο όποιος αναγνώστης πλέον ένα αισιόδοξο μήνυμα είναι σαν να κερδίζει στο lotto.

Η συνειδητοποίηση του πεπερασμένου της σκέψης και του κίνδυνου της επικείμενης ανταπόδειξης των καταστροφικών προφητειών με οδήγησαν στο να γράψω αυτό το κείμενο σαν προάγγελο της επικείμενης συνολικής πρότασης της ομάδας σκέψης που είμαι μέλος για την έξοδο της Ελλάδος από την κρίση, που θα αποσταλεί σε όλα τα μέσα ενημέρωσης στους πρώτους μήνες του 12.

Η επιστήμη που υπηρετώ έχει την τάση να «βλέπει» τα πράγματα μέσα από ευρύτερα πρίσματα αναδεικνύοντας χώρους χωρίς αδιέξοδα όπου η αλλαγή είναι διαρκής και καλοδεχούμενη. Εάν δεν είχε ήδη όνομα (synthetic institutionalism) θα μπορούσαμε να την μετονομάσουμε σε κάτι που να προσωποποιεί την αισιοδοξία.

Δεν θα σας κουράσω μακρολογώντας περισσότερο επί του αντικειμένου. Όσοι είναι γνώστες της αγγλικής μπορούν να πάρουν μια γεύση στο http://bit.ly/s0Q4hK .

Η ουσία είναι ότι:

·Η οικονομική κατάσταση της Ελλάδας είναι παγκόσμια πρωτοφανές γεγονός και γέννημα ενός συγκεκριμένου οικονομικού συστήματος που δεν είχε ποτέ σχεδιαστεί να λειτουργήσει κάτω από συνθήκες συστημικής αλληλεξάρτησης.

·Λόγω του προηγουμένου τα συστημικά προβλήματα είναι ΑΔΥΝΑΤΟΝ να επιλυθούν με οικονομικά μέτρα μόνον. Η ομοιοπαθητική δεν έχει εφαρμογή στην οικονομία.

·Η όποια στρατηγική ανάπτυξης, που όλοι οι συνάδελφοι οικονομολόγοι επικαλούνται, σαν την μόνη αποδεκτή μακροχρόνια λύση για την Ελληνική οικονομία δεν μπορεί να εφαρμοστεί. Πρώτον για τον λόγο που ανέφερα στην πρώτη παράγραφο αυτού του κειμένου και δεύτερον γιατί κανείς δεν έχει την δυνατότητα να σχεδιάσει μια στρατηγική θεσμικών αλλαγών που αποτελούν την προϋπόθεση επιτυχημένης ανάπτυξης ελλείψει θεωρητικού υπόβαθρου για την ανάλυση τους μέσα στα πλαίσια των σημερινών οικονομικών θεωριών.

·Η ποιο πρόσφατη ανάλυση της οικονομίας (σαν κοινωνικός θεσμός) σε παγκόσμιο επίπεδο (αδημοσίευτη επί του παρόντος πέραν του ιστοχώρου μας http://bit.ly/sZDN90 )  έχει παύσει να υπηρετεί τους πρωταρχικούς λόγους δημιουργίας της, έχοντας μετεξελιχθεί, συν τω χρόνο, σε ένα άγνωστο για τους οικονομολόγους πεδίο συμπεπλεκομένων αλληλεπιδράσεων, τα αποτελέσματα του οποίου βιώνουμε σε παγκόσμιο επίπεδο.

Θα μου πείτε όμως ότι, εμμέσως πλην σαφώς, υποσχέθηκα καλά νέα ενώ το μόνο που κάνω είναι να προσθέτω στην κατάθλιψή σας.

Τα καλά νέα λοιπόν.

·Η θεωρητική σύνδεσης μεταξύ θεσμών και οικονομίας έχει επιτευχθεί ανοίγοντας τον δρόμο στη δυνατότητα στρατηγικού σχεδιασμού της Ελληνικής οικονομίας υπολογίζοντας αυτή την φορά (επιτέλους) τον βαθμό αρνητικού εξωγενούς επηρεασμού

·Η ανάλυσης της οικονομίας σαν θεσμός μας δίνει την δυνατότητα να εκμεταλλευτούμε για πρώτη φορά, βασισμένοι επιτέλους σε ουσιαστικές αναλύσεις, τούς ποιο προσοδοφόρους και συνάμα ασφαλείς δρόμους που μπορούμε να χαράξουμε

Πέραν όμως του θεωρητικού υπόβαθρου υπάρχουν πολλά καλά νέα προερχόμενα μέσα από την Ελληνική κοινωνία που δεν μπορούν να διαφανούν με «γυμνό» μάτι και αναφέρομαι στα εξής:

·Ο Ελληνικός λαός σε επίπεδο μόρφωσης και διαδικτύωσης σε παγκόσμιο επίπεδο έχει ξεπεράσει την δυνατότητα των Ελλήνων πολιτικών να πείθουν με ατεκμηρίωτες υποσχέσεις, υπαγορεύοντας έτσι ένα πλαίσιο ορθολογισμού και τεκμηρίωσης ανήκουστο μέχρι πρόσφατα στην Ελλάδα

·Η Ελληνική κοινωνία πλέον έχει αποδεχθεί το γεγονός ότι πολλά πρέπει να αλλάξουν και συστηματικά αναζητά τις ουσιαστικές λύσεις πέραν της Ελληνικής επικράτειας. Το γεγονός ότι δόθηκε η ευκαιρία στον ΟΟΣΑ να πραγματοποιήσει την ερεύνα για το Ελληνικό δημόσιο και το γεγονός ότι επετράπη η παρουσίασή της κατέρριψε πρακτικές εκατονταετιών.

·Η κατάρριψης θεσμικών «αξιών» δεν αποτελεί πλέον σοκ σε κανένα, δίνοντας το πράσινο φώς σε νέες ιδέες που ίσως είναι αδιανόητες για άλλα κράτη και προσφέροντας έτσι στην Ελλάδα συναγωνιστικό πλεονέκτημα εάν το εκμεταλλευτή κατάλληλα.

·Οι υπάρχοντες πολιτικοί οι πολιτικές που εξυπηρετούν και ο τρόπος με τον οποίον αυτό γίνεται έχουν απαξιωθεί στην συνείδηση του μέσου Έλληνα που αναζητά εναλλακτικές λύσεις μια από τις οποίες είναι και ο διαχωρισμός της πολιτικής από την διαχείριση του κράτους, κάτι που θα ήταν αδιανόητο ακόμη και ένα χρόνο πριν, κάνοντας την αρχή με την επιλογή του κ. Παπαδήμου. Παρεμπιπτόντως όλο που χρειάζεται είναι ένα απλό νομοσχέδιο πού να ορίσει το πλαίσιο εφαρμογής ενός τέτοιου μέτρου απαξιώνοντας εν μέρει έτσι τα διλήμματα που ανακύπτουν από την έλλειψη εμπιστοσύνης μεταξύ κομμάτων και λαού.

·Η φοροδιαφυγή από εθνικό σπορ έχει μετατραπεί συνειδησιακά σε κατάπτυστο κοινωνικό αδίκημα και λύσεις για την παντελή απάλειψη της έχουν ήδη προταθεί και είναι εύκολο να εφαρμοστούν http://bit.ly/vFhAEv

·Η Ελλάδα λόγω του προβλήματος έχει αναφερθεί στα διεθνή μίντια σε βαθμό που επηρέασε το αίσθημα της συμπάθειας από όλους τους λαούς γεγονός που μπορούμε να εκμεταλλευτούμε εμπορικά και όχι μόνο

·Οι Έλληνες του εξωτερικού ανέκτησαν εκ νέου ενδιαφέρον στα Ελληνικά δρώμενα μετά την απογοήτευση δεκαετιών γεγονός που μόνο θετικά αποτελέσματα μπορεί να έχει (ευελπιστώ ότι η ύπαρξη και μόνο αυτού του κειμένου μπορεί να εκληφθεί ως ένδειξης).

·Οι Έλληνες του εσωτερικού από την πλευρά τους για πρώτη ίσως φορά μετά την μεταπολίτευση ανακάλυψαν πάλι την αξία του πολιτικού διαλόγου και νέες πολιτικές ιδέες είδαν το φώς της δημοσιότητας προσφέροντας εναλλακτικές

·Έχει αρχίσει ήδη να εμφανίζεται μεταστροφή της αστυφιλίας και νέοι άνθρωποι, μορφωμένοι ως επί το πλείστον, εγκαταλείπουν τις πόλεις με ανείπωτο μακροχρόνιο όφελος για την Ελληνική κοινωνία και τις επόμενες γενιές

·Η ανεργία και η φτώχεια επανεκκίνησε την χαμένη δημιουργικότητα των Ελλήνων μια δημιουργικότητα που είχε ατονίσει για δεκαετίες ενώ σαν επιπλέον όφελος επανεμφάνισε την ανθρωπιά προς τον συνάνθρωπό μας που κινδύνευε να με εξαφάνιση από την υιοθέτηση της παράλογης ατομικότητας

·Νέες ξεχασμένες αξίες βρήκαν ξανά το δρόμο προς την επιφάνεια με τις έννοιες της συμπολίτευσης και του Εθνικού οφέλους να κερδίσουν συνεχώς έδαφος

Κύριοι όλα τα προαναφερόμενα δεν υπήρχαν ένα χρόνο πριν και είναι εχέγγυα μιας νέας αρχής που βασισμένη σε μια μίξη πατροπαράδοτων θεσμών με την σύγχρονη επιστήμη έχει όλα τα χαρακτηριστικά που απαιτούνται για υγιή αναδημιουργία.

Παρά τα όσα απαισιόδοξα μηνύματα ακούγονται εγώ θα επιμείνω, εάν μου επιτρέπεται, να ισχυρίζομαι ότι το 2012 θα είναι ένα καλύτερο έτος για την Ελλάδα και ότι για πρώτη φορά στα τελευταία 2000 χρόνια μας ξαναδίνεται η δυνατότητα να αντιστρέψουμε την θεσμική μας ένδεια σε εξαγώγιμο πλεόνασμα.

Καλή χρονιά σε όλους

Σωτήρης Μελιούμης Αναλυτής Οργανισμών, Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο

 

December 29, 2011

The Economy and the Societal Needs (Part 1)

Ask anyone what the economy means to him or her and you will receive a different answer. Economy is a discourse for quite a while now.  For the North Korean farmer economy finds its meaning in securing the survival of his family and he is organising his life accordingly. For the foreign exchange trader in the City of London economy is a profit exploitation framework satisfying through it his prosperity needs. Putting the extremes aside though, until now none to our knowledge, has ever explored how humanity utilises the economy and what are the needs it tries to cover.

If you are a regular visitor of our blog, you may immediately understand the potential benefits deriving from such an analysis, for the newcomer though it makes sense to put the horse before the car and explain what the problem was, the solution of which is our research.

Politics, you see, is a discourse on its own right, which by the way we are in the process of deconstructing as we did with the economy. Defining it loosely, it was until today, the art of “explaining” to the masses, using normally a political in conjunction with an economic theory, the degree of accuracy in interpreting the nation’s needs and a “justification” for the strategies used.

However, until a month or so ago, neither hierarchy of societal needs nor an actual deconstruction of the economy existed rendering all the explaining and the justification anything between an inaccurate “science” to a plain fiction,  if you were a cynic. That was simply the problem and our hope is to contribute towards transforming the art into actual science.

Of course, we are still a few months away from the point whereby we would be able to analyse specific countries but the power of Synthetic Institutionalism (http://bit.ly/s0Q4hK) in conjunction with our constantly increasing mental-association analysis toolkit provide us with plenty of optimism.

For the time being, we are pleased to be able to offer you an initial mapping of the Economy substructures against the pyramid of societal needs (http://bit.ly/upeNTq) we presented at an earlier stage. Enjoy!

December 25, 2011

The Institution of Christmas… courtesy of Synthetic Institutionalism and Gaianomy

I read an article almost a month ago from a fellow blogger in which she was questioning the way our society treats this yearly event. Her main complain was focusing on the consumerist(ic) personality of Santa. We were too busy back then but today, I found at last the opportunity to do the analysis and I present, for the first time ever (thanks to synthetic institutionalism and a bit of complex maths),  a rough deconstruction of the institution of Christmas.

I have to admit I was surprised from several perspectives.

To start with, Christmas as an institution is indeed massive. Within it now, the substructures the constituting institutions are very few compared with other global institutions, (i.e. Economy).

From these Food and Children are going head to head with a mere 50.000 (out of 1.4 Bn) of mental associations, on all accessible written texts, separating the two. Consumerism and Presents (or the Santa spirit if you wish) is fighting in our minds for the next two positions with these four accounting to a staggering 51% of the overall number of associations!

We seem to give (still?) Hope enough with almost 9% of the overall and all the rest are trailing including the “poor” Love, which in theory is the essence of Christianity.

Just in case what is included in Other to the dismay of most faiths associated with Christmas, Judaism, Catholicism and  Christianity as well as the biggest surprise of all Drinking (the usual suspect nations are excluded).

I leave the rest of the interpretations over to you. As usually, all kind of comments welcomed.

Merry Christmas to all on behalf of the Gaianomy Think-tank

December 24, 2011

Synthetic Institutionalism (in under 3 min) A guest blog from one of our Gaianomy members

When it comes to institutional analysis, there are three schools of thought, sociological institutionalism, rational-choice institutionalism, and historical institutionalism. (J. Mahoney and K.  Thelen 2010 & Hall and Taylor 1996), all of which “compete” in academic literature trying to explain institutional evolution and change.

I went through all of them over the last five years while developing my theory and to my amazement; they turn at the end all to be right to a large degree, despite the discourse.

The part that was missing, I believe, thus far was the use of the right type of maths (and not statistics).  The approach I used adds this component. However, this is only half of the story because, in order for all three to be simultaneously right, they should be interrelated pieces of a bigger puzzle (my theory). Consequently allowing myself a dose of arrogance, I will claim that I managed to unify the three theories into one. Provided I am not, just another mislead arrogant but the actual founder of this theory, (knowledge of all published papers globally is practically impossible) I would like to call it Synthetic.

Now to the point…institutions are social structures. By being a part of the overall social system, they obey its rules. That means that behaviourally wise, they can be analysed using the complex adaptive systems theories.  To my knowledge, this is the first attempt to follow this profound otherwise thought-path.

Practically all of them (the institutions) evolved in the beginning under the influence of primeval instincts. Over time, the most resilient of these institutions, evolved into “axiomatic” sub-structures or institutional components, while all other combinations dissolve.

The fashion according to which this happened can, simplistically, be presented as:

At the same time we know that social structures according to the complex systems theory ought to be synthesised by smaller components (hence the complex). In this case, the components are none else but the axiomatic sub-structures connected together in various ways and over several generations of evolutionary synthesis to, eventually, create the complex institutions we recognise today.

In addition we know as well that these components the sub-structures, genealogically speaking, are themselves institutions as they affect behaviour. The way they synthesise, across all their evolutionary stages, obeys the complex adaptive systems rules with the links between them being of variable strength.

Based on the two above principals we can easily conclude that: simpler institutions assemble into complex ones by linking between them in fractal ways and this is the founding principal behind synthetic institutionalism.

Interestingly, due their social origin, the links that hold the sub-structures together can be nothing else but institutionalised mental associations (Occam’s razor). It goes beyond saying that the stronger these associations are the more resilient the construct, which by the way offers an answer to the “structure and agency” perceived complex relation uncertainty of the current theories.

Change (evolution or devolution) of these structures (the centre point of the discourse so far),  occurs in three different ways: (a) by adding one more institution (sub-structure) in an already existing one (i.e. “googling” an addition to “research”) and which by the way explains emergence, (b) by changing the nature of one of the constituting sub-structures (i.e. post-digital “photography”) or (c) by eliminating one of sub-structures all together (i.e. hunter-gathering from “economy”). For this last one of course to happen, the link(s) holding it in place should be weak enough, at that moment in time.

So, there you have it. Instincts make institutions, which drive behaviours, which create more institutions, which synthesise by means on mental associations (of the actors) into new  more complex ones,  the constant (gradual or radical) change of which contributed in us all having an interesting life… and from now on, the mathematicians and institutional analysts happiness.

My Apologies to two of my favourite scholars, Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott that so passionately thus far argued the case against synthetic institutionalism.

Next time if your problem is Unemployment or Corruption or the Markets or even Economy and you want to change it forget the politicians and call one of us …. to be continued.

Sotiris Melioumis Organisational Analyst

December 11, 2011

Scarcity the driving force behind Politics and the birth of the Technocrat Politician (Credited to the thinker who asked us the question “do we really need the politician”)

Scarcity refers to the tension between our limited resources and our unlimited wants and needs. On an individual level, resources include time, money and skill, while on a country level, limited resources include natural resources, capital, labour force, technology and information.
Because all of our resources are limited in comparison to all of our wants and needs, individuals and nations have to make decisions regarding what goods and services they can pay for and which ones they must forgo.

Whatever, the form of governance societies tolerate, they in practice have “assigned” the decision making to groups that “persuade” them they know exactly what these much needed resources are and that they have the means of acquiring them on the nations’ behalf.

Economics (macroeconomics to be accurate), in turn, aims, in theory, to “study” why these groups make these decisions and how they could allocate resources more efficiently.

The ways these groups employ to persuade nations that they can utilise Economics to provide these resources and the art of justifying their failure to fulfil their promises (by blaming all but themselves) is what we call Politics.

Recently we witness a reluctant power transfer from politicians to technocrats, in two counties under “siege” from the Markets, Greece and Italy. The degree of power transition in both cases was different with Italy going all the way to assign technocrats in all key positions. In both cases, they called the whole structure “transitional government” and in both cases, it was the “influence” groups from abroad that imposed the change. Are there any conclusions we can draw? Is what we experience the end of the politician, as we knew them thus far?

If the experiment succeeds, would that mean that nations would start developing a new way of thinking?

If the actual need of the nations today is to manage their economy, why do they need the “middle man” and not combine the two forms into one.

However, before you start thinking yes this is rational, ask yourself, what actually are these “influence” groups that forced the change, are they not “The Markets”?

Moreover, we know from the above, that scarcity in a way drives “economic” growth. It is doing so by increasing the pressure on societies to come up with solutions, which can satisfy both their needs and wants. However, what exactly is the scarcity that drives this specific change the solution of which is the technocrat?

The profound answer is economic growth (or rather the lack of it and the consequent attempt of debt renewal), which though is a cyclical notion. Remember we started with the notion that it is scarcity that creates growth and consequently, if the growth was not materialised means that there was no scarcity in the first place.

Are we in a dead end?   The apparent puzzle is similar to what a two dimensional men has when find itself within four connected into a square lines on a piece of paper and he wants to escape.

Luckily, we do know that there are more then two dimensions so I wonder why do we insist to simulate the two dimensional men.

We know that the universal problem of all nations is debt. We know that what created the problem in the first place is the economic framework within which we operate. We tried to give solutions to perceived scarcities by means of it and we failed.

Let us do the right thing this time around. Let us go beyond the “two dimensional” economic framework, jump on the “third axis” into the socioeconomic one where scarcity can be analysed holistically, https://gaianomy.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/hierarchy-of-social-needs-by-gaianomy-at-last/  .

There the politician 2.0, https://gaianomy.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/the-politician-2-0-and-an-introduction-to-post-democracy/ takes a different form and so does the technocrat. In there, we can decide what mandate to give them and if we need them both?

However, do remember in the socioeconomic environment the definition of the technocrat goes far beyond the economist. The scarcity we are faced with is the lack of institutional entrepreneurism mainly (that is why the “system” is trying to produce them i.e. occupy movement) and there is where the emphasis should be given, in a more organised way though.

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