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The Collapse Of Complex Societies

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/09/2021 - 3:01pm in

All the signs are present that the empire is far more vulnerable than we think.

So is our societal decline preordained or will we be the first civilisation to cheat the inevitable?

The post The Collapse Of Complex Societies appeared first on Renegade Inc.

The Collapse Of Complex Societies

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/09/2021 - 3:01pm in

All the signs are present that the empire is far more vulnerable than we think.

So is our societal decline preordained or will we be the first civilisation to cheat the inevitable?

The post The Collapse Of Complex Societies appeared first on Renegade Inc.

Introducing! The podcast reader

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/08/2021 - 12:59am in


innovation, Media

I thought you’d like to know of a venture I’m on the board of which is a global monthly magazine being published out of Melbourne dedicated to publishing the best podcast interviews of the month as a printed magazine for sitting back and enjoying though it’s also being distributed as a digital magazine.

You can download our first edition from this link.

Please enjoy and feel free to let others know of its existence! The website is here.

If you’re particularly keen and think there’s a fair chance you might subscribe and/or you’d like to show the magazine to others, please email me your physical address and I’ll see what I can get you.

Truth and love must overcome lies and hatred: The contemporary relevance of John Macmurray

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 02/08/2021 - 5:39pm in

Below is the introduction to an essay I’ve written about a Scottish mid-20th-century philosopher John Macmurray. Like my essay on Polanyi, this was partly a way for me to go through his work and set it down for myself. But the interest is through the lens of aspects of Macmurray’s philosophy that were prophetic for our times. This is brought out in the introduction which is reproduced below. The last couple of sections also outline the way in which our society is increasingly built on pyramids of lies. So you can also skim through the sections on Macmurray and just read the intro and the concluding two sections — which I’ll also extract at some stage and write up as their own essay.

I’d be grateful if you’re interested in having a look at the essay and if you email me on ngruen AT Lateral Economics, I’ll send you a link with commenting and suggesting permissions.

Truth and love must overcome lies and hatred: The contemporary relevance of John Macmurray

Sometimes the problems which life sets … men or to nations … have a philosophical side to them. That happens particularly when the driving forces of a nation or even of a whole civilization are spent.

John Macmurray, 1930.


On December 10, 1989, Czech dissident Vaclav Havel improvised a line at the end of his speech which, like Martin Luther King Jr’s improvised conclusion of his “I have a dream” speech, burned itself into popular consciousness far more effectively than his prepared remarks. “Truth and love must overcome lies and hatred.” Havel had become famous in the West as a dissident anatomising the system of official lies that drew everyone into complicity with them.

He insisted that Stalinist totalitarianism had been replaced by post-totalitarianism, which must be understood as a set of institutions rather than the dictatorship of one man. And he drew parallels between post-totalitarianism and Western consumerism. Today we all ponder the dramatic speed with which our own public lives are transitioning to new ‘post-truth’ realities. And, as we look around for their antecedents, we find them well beyond political campaigning. For instance, here are the opening paragraphs of a recently published report from the front published anonymously by a local council employee. The recognition may be recent, but it’s been decades getting here:

I spent 10 years of my life writing. I wrote neighbourhood plans, partnership strategies, the Local Area Agreement, stretch targets, the Sustainable Community Strategy, sub-regional infrastructure plans, funding bids, monitoring documents, the Council Plan and service plans. These documents describe the performance of local government and its partners.

I have a confession to make. Much of it was made up. It was fudged, spun, copied and pasted, cobbled together and attractively formatted. I told lies in themes, lies in groups, lies in pairs, strategic lies, operational lies, cross-cutting lies. I wrote hundreds of pages of nonsense. Some of it was my own, but most of it was collated from my colleagues across the organisation and brought together into a single document. As a policy, partnerships and performance officer in local government, this was my speciality and my profession.

Why did I do it? I did this because it was my job.

Against this backdrop, this essay introduces some of the central aspects of the thought of a mid-20th-century Scottish philosopher. Though both inspire us with their extraordinary courage, Havel’s and Macmurray’s thought and life experience were very different. Nevertheless, John Macmurray’s central ethical vision aligns perfectly with Havel’s catchcry quoted above. Macmurray saw all human relations and human culture as a dialectical relation between love (through which we find our way to a truthful and productive relation with reality and with others), and fear (which leads ultimately to solipsisitic, and duplicitous self-absorption, and thus to atomised isolation).

There’s something dated about Macmurray’s writing — perhaps because his imagined audience would have included those with an upbringing such as his own devoutly Calvinist one. He can be too quick to moralise, as he was when describing economic depression as a failing of social morality. But through all this there’s a deeply admirable combination of simplicity, sincerity and seriousness in all his writing. More particularly, he offers a useful treatment of contemporary mid-20th-century issues which looks increasingly prophetic for our own times:

  • Macmurray treats natural science as a paradigm of rationality while being keenly aware of its limitations as a source of all knowledge.
    • Science’s central strength is its constant striving for fidelity to experience. This is part methodological (with experience being the ultimate authority trumping theory and authority) and part ethical (requiring us to embrace the teaching of experience, however disillusioning or discomforting.)
    • But science is inadequate as a universal discourse. And its representation of nature as object obscures human agency (or freedom). This is true in the simple sense that science facilitates technology but provides little guidance on how to value or deploy it. It’s also true in a deeper sense that the problem science sets itself — to know more about the natural world — tends to presuppose a dualism between our own subjective mind ‘in here’ over and against objective reality ‘out there’. This offers an impoverished metaphysic for thinking about human selves in relation.
      Macmurray proposes the centrality of communion across difference as the ground of all our experience and our humanity.
  • From this he builds the case for radial humility as the starting point of ethical thought. On this basis he argues the centrality of faith — faith in embracing love over fear — as the basis of a good life and a good society.
  • This alternative discourse is alive to the myriad opportunities for bad faith to infect our thought and conduct and for us to disguise it, from ourselves and others. In this way of seeing things, one of the chief ways bad faith manifests itself in the world is as a counterfeit of good faith.

These things bear on the human experience at a sufficiently deep level that diagnosis is just the first step of a never-ending labour of understanding and action. Thirty years after the publication of his book proposing that emotion was as important as intellect in constituting ‘reason’ — a position since rehabilitated in both philosophy and science — Macmurray wrote that while he wouldn’t change the burden of his analysis, it offered no immediate solution to the world’s problems. “Indeed, in the field which it cultivates, no quick and easy solutions are thinkable”. That having been said, I think Macmurray’s thought does lend some theoretical depth to many practical contemporary issues. To illustrate the claim, I’ll conclude the essay by outlining the way in which Macmurray’s thought helps articulate some ideas I’ve been pondering regarding evidence-based policy and practice.

The structure of the essay is as follows:

Doing the philosophical work of his generation: Some biographical background
BBC lecturer
Fear and death, love and life
Reason, science, emotion and the other
Engaging with the other: the real and unreal
Faith in action: the upside of generosity
Diversity and disadvantage
Radical friendship

Publication or Innovation? Goal displacement and lessons from the publish-or-perish culture

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/07/2021 - 8:00pm in



Drawing on a survey of academic economists in the Netherlands, Harry van Dalen¸ explores how publish or perish culture is perceived and enacted within academia. Arguing that the current arrangement of the academy along lines that promote outputs (publications) displaces both the goal of more intrinsically motivated forms of scientific innovation and those who pursue … Continued

To fix the financial system, nationalise money, not the banks: Guest post by Michael Haines

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 06/06/2021 - 7:25pm in



Michael Haines

Michael overheard me pontificating with a friend at my local café and we got talking. After lengthy emails on various topics including universal basic income, I invited him to post on Troppo — with this being the result. Michael has had 40+ years in senior management and consulting roles (including at CEO and board level), across: government, telecommunications, brewing, construction, consumer goods, car manufacturing, transport and logistics. He was a Board Member of Australian Logistics Council and Chair of its ICT Committee, as well as Member of Austroads Intelligent Transport Industry Reference Group. In 2011, he established VANZI, a ‘not-for-profit’ Initiative in collaboration with a range of national stakeholders to broker development of the Digital Built Environment. In 2016, he led the team that wrote the Road Map for 3D Queensland.

To fix the financial system, nationalise money, not the banks: Guest post by Michael Haines

This post outlines a novel way to stabilize the banking system by:- a) converting all bank deposits AND loans to ‘Central Bank Money’, and b) appointing each bank as ‘Agent for the Central Bank’.

At present, only 3-4% of our money is ‘risk-free national money’ (cash).

Most is in the form of deposits, created when loans are made by commercial banks, other deposit-taking institutions, and ‘fintechs’ that have a banking licence (together called ‘banks’).

This Bank of England paper explains the process in detail.

The deposits are liabilities of the banks; placing our money ‘at risk’ if our bank fails.

As banks underpin the financial system, it is generally agreed that they have a responsibility to lend only at the ‘low risk’ end. Risky ventures are seen as the preserve of equity

Unfortunately, banks often abrogate their social responsibilities by taking on unreasonable risks.

This is largely a ‘system problem’, that requires a system solution.

The system shields bankers from the consequences of their decisions, resulting in ‘moral hazard’.

We see it as some banks increase their risk profile to get more business, pulling other banks into the vortex to stay competitive; knowing deposits are guaranteed by the government.

While formal deposit guarantees are limited to a set amount, in practice, governments are forced to underwrite the solvency and liquidity of all the major banks, to prevent system collapse.

The system places the Central Banks in a dilemma.  They need to support the banks, while also deciding when to pull the plug against many powerful interests.  In practice, some banks may be shuttered, while the broad system is underpinned via massive bailouts, reinforcing ‘moral hazard’.

Essentially, the problem is how to put banks on the same footing as any business, so that instead of the Central Bank having the main role in insolvency; the directors and auditors have principal responsibility under corporate law for deciding when to call in an Administrator and/or stop trading -without impacting depositors or anyone else.

I suggest appointing all banks as Agents for the Central Bank.

We can have the Central Bank buy all outstanding loans from the banks, with the money used to pay out deposits and inter-bank loans; all redeposited with the Central Bank. This can be achieved by having a ‘round robin’.

The result would be that the loans and deposits would shift from the banks’ books to ‘subsidiary ledgers’ of the Central Bank. This would have no effect on the net assets or profits of the banks.

Each bank would continue to manage the deposits of their customers, as Agent for the Central Bank.

Banks would also continue to assess borrowers. However, instead of making the loans as principal, they would do so on behalf of the Central Bank, with the right to earn the interest and fees, as now.

In consideration for the profits earned in the process, the banks would be required to guarantee the repayment of any loans to the Central Bank, effectively reversing the guarantee that is now in place.

Faced with the realization that the risk environment had changed, some banks may feel suddenly ‘overly exposed’.  To mitigate the impact, we could provide a lead-in of (say) 5 years to enable them to alter their capital ratios, just as they must do now when the Central Bank believes there is a need to reduce risk across the whole sector.

Once in place, it would mean that if any bank loaned unwisely, so that its capital was lost, it would be wound up like any insolvent business.

This could be done without impact on depositors, or on any borrowers who were not in default.

Importantly, by taking inter-bank liabilities and deposits off the banks’ balance sheet, it would eliminate any possible flow-on effects because of any single bank failure.

In the event of a failure, all deposits and loans would remain on the books of the Central Bank, managed by the Administrator using the failed bank’s operational staff and systems, until they and the remaining business could be sold as a ‘going concern’ to another viable bank.

The bank officers would lose their jobs, the shareholders would lose their investment, and the defaulting borrowers would be chased for recovery.

Everyone else would carry on as normal.


What does not Change

  • the bank’s relations with its customers
  • the banks basic business model: hold deposits, operate the payments system, make loans
  • the bank’s net assets
  • the bank’s net profit (though profits could be boosted when the switch is made, as a sweetener)

What Changes

  1. Loans and deposits move from the books of the banks onto the books of the Central Bank.

This change is key to stabilizing the banking system:

  • no deposits at risk
  • no loans that are not in default at risk of being called in if a bank fails
  • no need for interbank loans, eliminating flow-on effects from a single bank failure
  • no more liquidity concerns, as the deposits and loans would not be on the bank’s books
  • no more bank runs
  1. The ‘guarantee’ would be ‘reversed’.  Instead of the Central Bank guaranteeing deposits.  The banks would guarantee repayment of the loans to the Central Bank.This change is key to reducing risk across the banking system
    – eliminates ‘moral hazard’
    –     eliminates any need for Central Bank intervention in the case of a bank insolvency
    –     ensures directors alone are responsible under corporate law to halt trading if insolvent

    This reversal of the guarantee places banks in the same situation as all other businesses.

  2. It opens the opportunity to create a Central Bank Digital Currency, turning ‘deposits’ into ‘digital cash’ with instant settlement, while maintaining the current levels of privacy.
  3. The ability to offer instant settlement, with deposits and loans free of the risk of bank failure, would provide the banks with a competitive advantage
  4. It would enable more detailed real-time analysis of the money flows in the economy.

Porter Tells The Nation’s Scientists To Hurry Up And Invent A Time Machine Or That Gun From Men In Black

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 31/03/2021 - 7:00am in

Australia’s newest Minister for Industry, Science And Innovation Christian Porter has called on the Nation’s scientists to “get cracking on inventing a time machine or better yet one of those guns from Men In Black that erases peoples memories.”

”It’s time for our scientists to start working on practical and useful inventions, like time machines or memory wiping guns,” said Minister Porter. ”I mean how many men could a memory wiping gun help?”

”If I had one of those I’d still be the Attorney General.”

When asked why he was so concerned with wiping people’s memories or travelling back in time, the Minister said: ”Well how else am I going to become Prime Minister?”

”It’s my destiny you know, everyone from my Grandfather to my Nanny, to our Families Driver has told me so.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am still on sick leave. Suing the National Broadcaster is stressful work you know.”

Mark Williamson


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Refugees Have Entrepreneurial Potential – Report

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/10/2015 - 11:30am in



Creating Digital Connections

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/10/2015 - 10:49am in

Venture Philanthropy Fund Launches in Queensland

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/10/2015 - 9:53am in