Economics is a notoriously unreliable science for predictions. My take on this is that this is due to Economic forecasting being based partly on empirical numbers (which can be quite well predicted), but also on human behaviour, and there is the rub.
As a favourite saying goes, “business is simple, people are complex”, and human behaviour (aka “consumer sentiment”) drives so much of economic activity.
So, today an example of a central bank looking to influence consumer behaviour around inflation. (more…)
As a leader, where do you go for alternative learnings, ideas, thoughts to stretch yourself ? Where do you go beyond your known knowns and known unknowns ?
As for me, I’m intensely curious, a voracious learner.
An example was that yesterday I went to an event hosted by the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity, otherwise known as CUSP. The event was an afternoon of panel discussions plus a keynote, titled :
NATURE OF PROSPERITY: ETHICS AND UTOPIAS
Last November I went to the Kilkenomics Economics and Comedy Festival (written about often on this blog, I loved it.. and the “craic” !).
Both featured brilliant thinkers and both events could not have been more different.
Kilkenomics, at the core, is centred around traditional economic theory and principles, about how can we do capitalism better (to wildly simplify).
The Ethics and Utopias event was, again to simplify, about Sustainable Prosperity, which, as the event notes define: “involves a more wholesale rethinking of the nature of value, human flourishing and our conception of the future“.
In my experience as a leader and working with leaders, I see value in all the arguments made, which for regular readers is unsurprising. I am a ‘recovering’ Chartered Accountant, so get the numbers and economic principles, although on the flipside, I do have some esoteric thoughts, and one note I made during the event was :
“Fascinating conversation about poetic language to express ideas. Sentio ergo sum. Rational language cannot create transcendent shifts of belief.”
I do believe that we need both a foundation of understanding of numbers and core principles, but also that our world has moved to a point of “progress” (quotes intentional) that alternative models are the future.
Oh, and perhaps other than me, the only bridge between these events is Kate Raworth, who also lectured for CUSP recently on her alternative model, Doughnut Economics.
To develop new models for sustainable prosperity not based on “groupthink”, we need really open and brave dialogue. I applaud CUSP for creating this through their “nature of prosperity dialogue” series.
My key learning from this event ? From one of the speakers, Ruth Levitas :
“Utopias give you a space in which you can imagine radically different systems”
They say “you are what you measure”, and to add to that I have also posited that we are not simply rational beings, but driven far more by emotion and energy (or e-motion, if you will, energy in motion), as I wrote in “sentio ergo sum“. I also attended the wonderful Kilkenomics festival in November 2017 and observed a theme of the inadequacy and incompleteness of classical economic models that effectively try to boil down everything of “utility” into monetary terms.
So, in coming posts, I will look at various equations that focus on what one of my business heroes wrote about several years ago in looking take meaning from his own suffering. I’m not only inspired by Chip Conley and his idea of Emotional Equations, but also the fact that he was inspired by the book that, above all others, has the most meaning to me.
A few weeks ago I wrote “How do we know what we know ?” and said I’d let this sit with me and marinate my thoughts a little around Epistemology , or “the study of the nature and scope of knowledge and justified belief”.
Bridging the gaps between knowledge and belief so as to support leadership for transformative change.
A reminder of the genius of one of the greatest comedy series of all time:
Sir Humphrey: “Have you read the Financial Times this morning?” Banker: “Never do” Sir Humphrey: “Well you’re a banker, surely you read the Financial Times?” Banker: “Can’t understand it, Full of Economic Theory” Sir Humphrey: “Why do you buy it?” Banker: “oh, you know, part of the uniform”
This clip illustrates how far and how high a senior executive can climb with limited knowledge and only lots of belief in themselves and their ideas.
Am recently back from Kilkenomics and seeking to distil learnings from so many amazing people, including so many brilliant economists with so much knowledge to share.
How comedy about an economist adds impact. Learnings from Kilkenomics.
Did you hear the one about why the Irish Economics professor did not one, but two research studies before publishing his new theory?
To be sure, to be sure!
Yup, I made that one up. Apologies, couldn’t resist! I’m not an Economist, nor a Comedian (to be sure!), nor am I at all sure how I know what I know (see the previous article on knowledge here).
However, I was at Kilkenomics recently. Having seen the brilliant David McWilliams speak a few years ago in the Cayman Islands, combining great knowledge with humour to land his opinions, I was irresistibly drawn to this festival for many reasons, a key one being to get a sense for how injecting humour would support learning and shifting of opinions among both the panellists and the audience.
How do I know what I know? Thoughts on knowledge, learning and communication.
At the same time as I arrived in Kilkenny a few days ago for a weekend of Economics geekery at Kilkenomics, I was messaging on Twitter with a brilliant friend of mine to get their ideas on future themes for my writing on this site. They messaged :
write about epistemology? You don’t write about things you can evidence in a repeatable study But what you write has value and conveys knowledge How do you know what you know? And how do you know that you know it?
I’ve never focussed on Epistemology, nor even studied Philosophy in any depth, but the timing of the idea really switched on my radar as I listened and spoke to the many experts at Kilkenomics, both about what they thought and shared, and also for myself. How do I know what I know?