BenkingNews’s Weblog

September 22, 2008

700 000 000 000 Dollar ?

How to avoid risk at unprecedented scales without idea & conceptualization, touch & feel and sharing with too much daring out of proportions and without perspective?

Very roughly by rule of the thumb: 2 000 Dollar per capita, for every person in the USA ? or 100 Dollar for each inhabitant on this planet ? – for money given away for bad risks? - and how much alltogether already for such trash funds? 1.5b Dollar?, money given away for bad risks?
The problem seems to be not just of grounding and ethics, but the whole thing is intangible and abstract, so we have to imagination, no senses for what is going on and at stake.

The problem seems to be not just of grounding and ethics, but the whole thing is intangible and abstract, so we have to imagination, no senses for what is going on and at stake. I write since about 20+ years about scales, proportions, and consequences. I learned it in the field of ecology, where you have slow and rapid change, dynamic interactions across subjects and sectors, and levels.

Milliards or Billions 10 power 9 or 12 – are quite different in German and English. We need 1000 Billions in German words for 1 Billion used in the English language space! Confusing isn’t it ? So some people propose to speak about Giga (power9) and Tera (power 12). Why I focus on this many zeros? Beside the examples below I had my kick when someone entered our office and told us about the data stored on all their CDC computers in the world. It was Penta (power 15) ! So now consider all the data stored today in earth-sciences or worse on all GOOGLE servers today !

So who would be educated and experienced to discuss the magnitudes involved here, and can help us get a clue on how to not loose “touch”, come to grips, and help us to jointly confront and grapple with the issues related with such “new dimensions” ?
Our leaders and journalist all too often fail – they confuse by factor 100 or 1000 on a daily basis. But how to make a difference, when not to learn, imagine, and communicate in new ways.

I want to present below what I learned and “collected” as examples, as a approach-repository established in the last 100 years to help us build on towards the challenges we face today with globalisation and cyberculture, and how I hope we can jointly build not again such a world economy, but an ecodomy build on ecological principles. See about ecology, ecumene, and oikos here: [link]

1. Gregory Bateson asked us to develop “antenna” for time horizons when he observed how generations have cared for the long view for preserving nature or looking into how to rebuild houses after generations in a sustainable, caring, not exploiting way.

2. Heinz Haber, fore-runder of the German “Picture of Science” magazine, Bild der Wissenschaft, explaining the he only became a geo-paleontologist, because he collected as a young boy in inflation times, and so developed a “rulers” with the knuckles of his two hands, with each finger one power more, 10 power 1,2, 3,… 5, … 10 – and so creating a visualization for magnitudes. A concrete image and model for the scales, proportions, consequences we are confronted here at our capital markets today. So he had as a young boy a “realization” of Billion. Who in charge today in politics, economics, science has a similar conceptualization and is able to cope with scales and changes.

3. The founder of a Planning Science called Ekistics Doxiadis [link] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekistics or [link]
created a schema or grid to relate structures and scale platforms so patterns and their overlap between the issues can be visualised and so issues between “scale levels” become visible and so can be addressed and communicated.

4. Paul Weiss is another person who “visualized” in concrete models issues between the levels and to show the dynamics between the scales, [link] – in an organismic, perspective, holistic way. The author of this blog has show the graph Paul Weiss used in Alpach in 1968 to show the interactions across scales. Please see this presentation about the necessary cognitive, evolutionary leap-frogging of possible embodied thinking:
[link] and [link]

Why I focus on the dynamics and interactions along and across scales?
Because we need to go beyond out splendid isolation in our self-created “boxes” and even into the next valleys or into other “worlds”.
Possible common frames fo references to share the positions have been long proposed for confronting the global dimensions and interactions, see cognitive panorama and spaces: [link] and presented before and after Rio ’92: [link] http://benking.de/Global-Change/FIGXX-Melbourne-1994.htm and that we need to overcome isolated measures by not confusing Show with Schau” [link] and using new dimensions (scales) and qualities to compare and avoid consequences, like short and long term, heavy and light suffering: [link][link]
Please see also the need to widen the horizon of compassion and reducing the suffering in the world: [link]

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