As regular readers of this site would appreciate, some of the lyrics of Frank Sinatra’s I did it my way apply to me in spades:
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew,
When I bit off more than I could chew…
That has become chronic, now that I am trying to finish the second edition of Debunking Economics by the middle of February (to be published hopefully in September by Zed Books). Once I’ve sent the draft off to Zed, I plan to start work on my “magnum opus” Finance and Economic Breakdown for Edward Elgar Publishers–a task that will take at least a year, if not two.
Given these huge writing tasks plus my workload from the blog, my academic career, and media interviews, many things that I simply have to do are not going to be done, unless I get some assistance.
First and foremost this relates to the Centre for Economic Stability Incorporated, a research charity that I formed with the help of Debtwatch members back in March 2010. While an organisational structure and a preliminary web presence were developed by Matt Carroll, this organisation now needs some formal input if it is to fulfil the requirements for on-going registration as a research charity, let alone to become an effective body.
The most pressing need is to have the accounts audited to meet the requirements of the NSW Office of Fair Trading, under which it is incorporated. The Association was incorporated on March 12th 2010, so a financial report is needed for the period from then till March 11th 2011 inclusive.
The revenues and expenditures of the Centre have been modest to date: these were mainly associated with the costs of the Walk to Kosciuszko back in April 2010, some technology and software purchases, and some very small payments to Matt while he worked on the Centre’s web presence. I have kept paper and computer records, though to a standard that reflects my “Frank Sinatra problem”, rather than to one that would make an auditor happy, so there will be some work involved in bringing it all together.
There is a small amount of money in the Centre’s accounts–provided by donations through the donate widget on this site–which could pay for the audit if required. So the first bit of assistance I would like is from a qualified auditor in NSW (preferably Sydney–I live in and largely work from my house in Surry Hills, so someone within easy reach of here would be best) to prepare an annual financial report. This report could be commenced anytime after March 11th 2011.
Secondly, an annual meeting has to be held, at which attendees would have to fulfil the fee payment options decided by the inaugural meeting to form the centre back in March 2010. These were that members with incomes should pay $100 per year, and those without $25. The meeting does not need to be held any time soon–the rules require a first meeting to be held within 18 months of incorporation, so we have until September 11th (what a coincidence…) to do so–but it would be good to get a committee together to start organising that event.
Speaking of a committee, this was the management committee as formed at the meeting back in March:
President: Steve Keen
Public Officer: Matt Carroll
Vice President: Craig Tindale
Treasurer: Melina Forrest
Secretary: Chris Osborne
Other committee members: Joe McIvor; David Lawson
Largely because I have been so busy, no formal meetings of this committee have yet occurred. If the Centre is to grow, I need to be able to leave its development in the hands of these and other individuals, while I am consumed with my research and writing commitments. If these and any other individuals who would be able to devote some time on a regular basis to making the Centre a functional body, I would like to hold a meeting with you in late March or early April in Sydney to organise both the Centre and the AGM.
I chose a particularly inappropriate venue for the last meeting–a restaurant whose “private dining room” was simply cordoned off from the rest of restaurant by curtains–so I’ll try to arrange a more suitable venue this time (somewhere like Humanist House in Chippendale, or the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts in the city–if there are any readers who can help arrange a room booking at either venue, please contact me), both for preliminary meetings and the AGM itself.
I am pleased to say that some Web-design and business professionals are doing pro-bono work to improve the front end to both this blog and, ultimately, the CfES home page. Anton Andreacchio and colleagues at Convergen are developing a new interface for Debtwatch which will go live here shortly, and Colin McKay of HomeLink is assisting as well. So hopefully the blog’s appearance will improve dramatically in the near future, and the membership procedures and the like for the Centre will be automated as well.
On the Centre itself, I am aware that a fee of $100 is a substantial ask, and I need to provide some “value for money” to motivate membership. Helping to develop a realistic approach to economics is a good reward, but something personally beneficial would also be good. However I don’t want to make this something that made this blog less accessible–I want to keep this freely available–so what I am considering is offering a monthly “Master Class” in economics.
This would be derived from my many lectures on economics which are available on this site, but would use the screen recording technology employed in this post, and be audience participation seminars as well using software like GoToMeeting. I’ve recorded one such seminar with Phil Dobbie of BNet Australia, and it worked really well.
I will also see if I can arrange discounts on my books with Zed and Edward Elgar for members of the Centre.
So if you can help out on any of the above, please contact me at this email address. Thanks in advance, Steve Keen.