Vision — Action — Lead­er­ship 2011 Con­fer­ence

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Below is a video from the 2011 Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Vision, Action and Lead­er­ship, hosted by Aaron Wiss­ner. The con­fer­ence used the Del­phi method was used to draw upon some com­mon­al­i­ties and dif­fer­ences around the inter­pre­ta­tion of the cur­rent finan­cial cri­sis from panel mem­bers, includ­ing Tom Greco, Steve Keen and Nic­hole Foss. This fin­ish­ing group inter­view shares an inter­est­ing per­spec­tive on the out­comes of this con­fer­enc­ing tech­nique.

About Steve Keen

I am Professor of Economics and Head of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University London, and a long time critic of conventional economic thought. As well as attacking mainstream thought in Debunking Economics, I am also developing an alternative dynamic approach to economic modelling. The key issue I am tackling here is the prospect for a debt-deflation on the back of the enormous private debts accumulated globally, and our very low rate of inflation.
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  • Steve Hum­mel

    There’s been lots of vision, but almost no action. The Occupy move­ment was an attempt to kick start action, but it unfor­tu­nately has mostly dis­si­pated due to the fact that its out­rage got too caught up in eco­nom­ics and par­ti­san polit­i­cal views on the same. 

    We absolutely must draw from some­thing deeper. Even deeper than the phi­los­o­phy of eco­nom­ics and money them­selves. We need to wed the power of BOTH human spir­i­tu­al­ity AND the true eco­nomic self inter­ests of indi­vid­u­als. And we need to do this before chaos and stress make some witches kitchen of ego­tism and nihilism the spir­i­tu­al­ity of choice like it was last cen­tury.

    If any­one has a bet­ter spir­i­tual canon to offer up than faith as in con­fi­dence, Hope, Love and a sense of Grace.…by all means com­mu­ni­cate it.

  • RickW

    Steve’s pre­sen­ta­tion to this group prior to the panel is worth a look. Prob­a­bly the least rushed, yet con­cise pre­sen­ta­tion on his mod­el­ing.

    The way the com­plex­ity is built by incor­po­rat­ing more agents in the sim­u­la­tion shows the value of mod­els to aid com­pre­hen­sion of multi-vari­able sys­tems.

  • daniel clarke

    on how greece could exit the euro by redom­i­nat­ing bank accounts, asset prices and plac­ing restric­tions on cap­i­tal flight. this is a real ques­tion for peo­ple in the euro­zone e.g. i’ve heard in ire­land too. sorry to use greek exam­ple, sub­sti­tute for any euro zone coun­try of choice 

    how would this work on assets in greece owned by peo­ple out­side greece juris­tic­tion ? e.g. if a french per­son liv­ing in france owns bonds or a house in greece, can hte greek govt redom­i­nate that asset ? I guess they could if the reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing trade of that asset mean the trade has to hap­pen within greek juris­tic­tion.. on the ohter hand this is a kind of expro­pri­a­tion (your asset was worth x now it’s worth y) and pre­sum­ably there are inter­na­tional rules pro­tect­ing inter­na­tional investors against such things ?

    then the sec­ond case; if i’m a greek liv­ing in greece and I have a bank account in ger­many. would the greek govt con­trol be able to touch my assets located abroad ? could that govt force me to repa­tri­ate the assets I hold in another juris­dic­tion ? on what legal basis ? if so it would make sense to make such asset acqui­si­tions in secret from cur­rent govt over­sight so that it’s an effec­tive hedge against future cir­cum­stances.

  • Glenn Stehle

    @Warren Raft­shol

    This debate, just like pro­fes­sional wrestling, is indeed great enter­tain­ment, but one should not mis­take it for a true con­test. For the sim­ple fact is that both Pedro Schwartz and Krug­man are on the same team, the cred­i­tor-class team, and in both of their ide­olo­gies debt is placed on a pedestal and deemed sacro­sanct.

    To char­ac­ter­ize some­one like Krugman—-a neo­clas­si­cist mas­querad­ing in Key­ne­sian drag—-as a “Key­ne­sian” requires quite a leap into fan­ta­sy­land. (For a great dis­cus­sion on how char­ac­teropaths take benign ide­olo­gies and cor­rupt them for their own dis­or­dered pur­poses there’s the book by the Pol­ish psy­chol­o­gist Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Polit­i­cal Ponerol­ogy.) In fact, Krug­man does such an out­ra­geous imper­son­ation of a Key­ne­sian that he reminds me of “The Drag Queen of the Cen­tury,” Har­ris Glenn Mil­stead, aka Divine, who can be seen in action here:

    On the other side of this enter­tain­ing debate of wrong vs. wrong, error vs. error is Pedro Schwartz. I’ve always admired the erru­di­tion with which Han­nah Arendt took down the patho­log­i­cal ide­olo­gies ped­dled by schools of “thought” like the Aus­trian School:

    [I]n our own cen­tury this coun­try has shown a deplorable incli­na­tion to suc­cumb to and to mag­nify almost every fad and hum­bug which the dis­in­te­gra­tion not of the West but of the Euro­pean polit­i­cal and social fab­ric after the First World War has brought into intel­lec­tual promi­nence. The strange mag­ni­fi­ca­tion and, some­times, dis­tor­tion of a host of pseudo-sci­en­tific nonsense—-particularly in the social and psy­cho­log­i­cal sciences—-may be due to the fact that these the­o­ries, once they had crossed the Atlantic, lost their basis of real­ity and with it all lim­i­ata­tions through com­mon sense. But the rea­son Amer­ica has shown such ready recep­tiv­ity to far-fetched ideas and grotesque notions may sim­ply be that the human mind stands in need of con­cepts if it is to func­tion at all; hence it will accept almost any­thing when­ever its fore­most task, the com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of real­ity and the com­ing to terms with it, is in dan­ger of being com­pro­mised.

    Han­nah Arendt, On Rev­o­lu­tion

  • Glenn Stehle

    @Steve Keen

    Two points:

    1) US pol­i­cy­mak­ers have pro­mul­gated laws which are 180 degrees from your pro­posed “jubilee shares.” 

    Specif­i­cally, the tax code has been rewrit­ten over the past 80 years to favor “the War­ren Buf­fet thing.” Spec­u­la­tive income is given favor­able tax treat­ment over div­i­dend income in two ways:

    a) Spec­u­la­tive income (share appre­ci­a­tion) is real­ized as cap­i­tal gains and div­i­dend income is real­ized as reg­u­lar income. Cap­i­tal gains are taxed at a much lower rate than reg­u­lar income.

    b) Tax on div­i­dend income is levied in the cur­rent year, whereas tax on spec­u­la­tive income (share appre­ci­a­tion) is not levied until the shares are sold, so when shares are even­tu­ally sold and taxes paid (cor­po­rate taxes have been reduced to the point where they pay few taxes in the interim) the tax bite is less bur­den­some because it has been reduced due to the time value of money.

    All the sor­did details of this his­tory can be found in this report:

    Present Law And His­tor­i­cal Overview Of The Fed­eral Tax Sys­tem”
    The Joint Com­mit­tee on Tax­a­tion, Con­gress of the United States

    2) The ugly spec­tre of mil­i­tary coups and other anti-demo­c­ra­tic move­ments and polit­i­cal vio­lence is quite real. The sen­ti­ment that Keynes expressed in The Eco­nomic Con­se­quences of the Peace was prob­a­bly nowhere more con­cisely artic­u­lated than by Charles Dick­ens when in A Tale of Two Cities he wrote:

    It was too much the way…to talk of this ter­ri­ble Rev­o­lu­tion as if it were the one only har­vest ever known under the skies that had not been sown—-as if noth­ing had ever been done, or omit­ted to be done, that had led to it—-as if observers of the wretched mil­lions in France, and of the mis­used and per­verted resources that should have made them pros­per­ous, had not seen it inevitably com­ing, years before, and had not in plain words recorded what they saw.


    Crush human­ity out of shape once more, under sim­i­lar ham­mers, and it will twist itself into the same tor­tured forms.

  • imper­ma­nence

    I thought it was par­tic­u­larly inter­est­ing to note the dress, body pos­ture, and man­ner­isms of the par­tic­i­pants.

  • Tadit Ander­son

    Nicole Foss was in her own right knowl­edge­able of her field, Steve K was par­tic­u­larly at ease it seemed. Thomas Greco really didn’t con­tri­ibute much of any­thing of sub­stance at all. Adam was bit of a xxxxxx in his basic under­stand­ing. The appar­ent value of the process seems close to nil. I have to won­der why Greco was there at all other than as a stand-in. He pro­claims com­mu­nity and lib­er­tar­i­an­ism inces­santly, claims to have a degree in busi­ness, and basi­cally writ­ten one book with sev­eral titles appar­ently as a mar­ket­ing intent. He is essen­tially a low, low level Bernake for the “pop­u­lar” level of eco­nom­ics. I was hop­ing that Greco would over reach, but mostly he seemed inco­her­ent.

  • RJ

    I stopped lis­ten­ing at the half way point. It was awful.

  • Steve Hum­mel

    Yes, the mod­er­a­tor appeared to be stuck in molasses and with Steve stretch­ing and play­ing with his hair (an under­stand­able reac­tion and was actu­ally the polite way of not yawn­ing or look­ing at his watch). We don’t need deriv­a­tive opin­ions, mere the­ory or idle acqui­es­cence in the slow motion eco­nomic train wreck cre­at­ing the neo-feu­dal­ist future.……we need ACTION.
    We need a BOTH/AND awak­en­ing and mobi­liza­tion of indi­vid­u­als. Fuck the econ­o­mists, politi­cians, pun­dits et al. They don’t count. Every­body else and their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren do. Its tire­some. Reduce/eliminate the cur­rent debt quickly and pre­vent it from out grow­ing income in per­pe­tu­ity. That is the mes­sage. That is what is in the inter­est of every­one. The wealthy and pow­er­ful are indi­vid­u­als also. They will see the truth­ful­ness of this when the urgent but eth­i­cal mass move­ment we need makes that clear.

  • Had Enough

    If allowed and I am able to, I’d like to take part in your and Mish’s debate. One com­ment to make from Mish’s post to start:

    Sav­ings accounts have no reserve require­ments. Effec­tively, money that peo­ple think is in their check­ing accounts is not really there at all. In fact, it has been lent out mul­ti­ple times over.”

    The way the account­ing peo­ple have explained it to me is that medium of exchange from check­ing accounts, sav­ings accounts, and CD’s are NOT lent out.

  • Georg Hasta

    I found it inter­est­ing, that you men­tion a tech­nique like Del­phi to pos­si­bly improve the out­comes of a con­fer­ence. It reminds me to a guy in Switzer­land, Fred­mund Malik. He is pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics and the owner of Malik Man­age­ment.

    Together with oth­ers he devel­oped a method, called Syn­te­gra­tion, for a bet­ter func­tion­ing of orga­ni­za­tions. I will not go into details how a syn­te­gra­tion works. But it’s widely a cer­tain com­mu­ni­ca­tion method, based on cyber­netic prin­ci­ples, that leads to a bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion and though to a bet­ter exchange of knowl­edge between the com­pa­nies staff. Remark­able about Syn­te­gra­tion is also, that even for large com­pa­nies of sev­eral thou­sand work­ers the process never takes more than 3–4 days to find a roadmap to boost effi­ciency by 100, 200, 300 per­cent (I know this sounds odd and I do not belong to his com­pany).

    This alone wouldn’t be so extra­or­di­nary, there are prob­a­bly sev­eral tech­niques out there to improve man­age­ment. But since Maliks efforts of his life work all go around a bet­ter func­tion­ing of orga­ni­za­tions, his com­pany is start­ing to get more and more jobs from munic­i­pal­i­ties and even states. Recently he became his biggest man­date to “syn­te­grate” the largest Aus­trian State Niederöstere­ich.

    Maliks con­vic­tion is that the most impor­tant fac­tor for fail­ing soci­eties of today is the miss­ing of mod­ern “tools” for deci­sion mak­ing. He believes that the process of deci­sion mak­ing is hope­lessly anti­quated. Like try­ing to build a rocket with stone age tools. We sit together in end­less chat­ter, per­me­ated by hier­ar­chy and rhetoric, with very thin out­comes. So he focuses on the devel­op­ment of intel­lec­tual tools and tries to get them used in the polit­i­cal process. And he seems to have first suc­cesses.

    He just came back from a week in Greece, not for hol­i­day, hav­ing talks with mem­bers of the gov­ern­ment on the level of min­is­ters there. He thinks that the restart of the coun­try with new meth­ods of think­ing is nowhere so high as in Greece. But any­way he doesn’t make to much hope. You can read a lot more about all that on his com­pa­nies home­page. There is also a Blog, unfor­tu­nately it’s in ger­man, but parts are trans­lated in eng­lish.