Traders at the New York Stock Exchange: we need to think in terms of our future wellbeing, not just nominal returns. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
- suspend belief in unprovable economic theory and employ those most intrinsic British qualities: common sense and moral compass.
- Since I am by profession an investor, let me start by asking a rather simplistic question: what is the purpose of investment? Common sense would surely steer one away from what most assume Milton Friedman’s answer would be – to maximise financial returns within the bounds of the law.
The question of sustainability has become an important economic, political, and social issue. Major international conferences have been held to discuss the issue of global sustainability. A President’s Council on Sustainable Development was formed to address sustainability questions confronting the United States. After nearly a decade of indecision, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has officially embraced sustainable agriculture as a priority issue for the future. Questions of sustainability has also become commonplace both in professional publications and in the popular media.
The Issue of Sustainability
Sustainability is a long run, people-centered concept. There have been many attempts to define sustainability, but most are rooted in the general concept of intergenerational equity. Sustainable development, as used in this paper, means meeting the needs and wants of people of the current generation while leaving equal or better opportunities for people of generations to follow. What is to be sustained? — development of resources: natural, human, and economic. What is the purpose of development? — positive change or human progress, not necessarily growth in numbers or size. Who is to benefit from such development? — people of the current generation and of generations to follow. For how many generations is development to be sustained? — for all future generations, forever. Thus, sustainability is about sustaining a desirable quality of life for people, forever.
Sustainability, as a consequence of its long-run nature, will remain a question with no definite answer, a direction without a precise destination, a process without a final product. We can never know with certainty whether any particular approach, method, or activity is sustainable or not sustainable. Just because something has been sustained until now, does not mean it can be sustained forever. Just because something has not been sustained up to now, does not mean that it could not have been sustained, until now and into the future. We cannot prove empirically that anything is or is not sustainable in the long run. The long run is forever
Inadequacies of the “old” economics
Economic theory does not exist in the absence of the term “ceteris paribus” — other things held constant. The most fundamental “law” of economics, diminishing marginal returns, is meaningless without the assumption of “ceteris paribus.
Economics of Sustainability
So where do we begin to develop the “new” economics?
Axioms. All theory is based on axioms. Webster defines an axiom as “a maxim widely accepted on its intrinsic merit, or a statement accepted as true as the basis for argument or inference”
Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones: knowledge, communication, organizational skills, integrity and people skills.
Knowledge. Trainers shouldn’t even consider training anyone until they themselves have an advanced knowledge level of the topic.
Ability to communicate. All the knowledge in the world won’t mean a thing if the trainer is not able to effectively communicate it to others. The ability to communicate successfully is often overlooked when selecting individuals as trainers.
Organizational skills. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Working from a plan offers many benefits, like
- Consistency and accuracy. Trainers can be assured that using a lesson plan will ensure the level and quality of information taught will remain constant. For organizations that utilize more than one trainer, this consistency is carried between them to the point where one could take over for the other mid-stream and not miss a beat.
- Focus and direction. Occasionally a trainer can come away from a given topic in order to draw an analogy or make a point.
- Pacing and use of time. Using a lesson plan provides trainers with veritable checklist that can be used to adjust the pace of the training as required, allowing them to use their time most effectively. For example, a trainer may be able to determine that they are behind schedule simply by looking at their plan and adjust the pace and/or content of the program accordingly.
- Interest and integrity. If you want others to be interested in what you’re saying, you should be interested in what you’re saying. Trainers need to believe that what they are doing is the right thing to do. In fact, they should be downright passionate about it. If a trainer is going to get up in front of a group and just pay lip service to the issue then they can expect the same level of buy-in and commitment from their trainees. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, do yourself and everybody else a favor and don’t do it at all.
People skills. It’s not just a certain type of person that makes the best trainer, it’s a certain type of personality. A trainer should be empathetic, approachable, friendly, perceptive, observative, adaptable, and very patient.
It is common experience that trainers, when they get together, often wonder what are
the characteristics of a trainer. This is often a poser by those who aspire to be a trainer.
Often, persons having the necessary attributes are not sure about the qualities that
make a good trainer.
It is in this context that it is necessary to identify some of the significant qualities that
go to enhance the performance of a trainer. Some of these qualities are: –
Empathy: This is the ability to put oneself in the shoes of another. It is the faculty for
recognising the fears and uncertainties in the minds of trainees when learning
additional techniques or skills. Empathy enables a trainer to point out personal
difficulties encountered by him in similar learning situations, so as to put the learners
Honesty: This is the courage to recognise personal strengths and weaknesses and to
be frank about these aspects to the personnel being trained, for their own benefit.
Patience: This is shown in the willingness to compliment slow progress and refrain
from the anger when mistakes are made. It includes the techniques of repeating
instructions, breaking down a task into small units and allowing time for learners to
Pace: This is closely integrated with empathy and patience. This is an external speed
governor, which acts more to slow down than to speed up. It is far better to move
slowly and attain complete mastery, than to push for rapid and sloppy completion.
Democracy: This refers to the kind of atmosphere created when learning takes place.
The trainer should be supportive and non-threatening in presentation. The tone of
voice and facial expression should lead the learners to feel comfortable in raising
questions, offering suggestions, reinterpreting instructions and generally to feel
relaxed while they learn.
Purpose: This emphasises the element of tenacity in achieving the training goals. A
good trainer conscientiously moves a group of learners along to a pre-set destination.
There may be stops and shifts, but the eye is always fixed on certain performance
standards and levels.
An ability to listen: The trainer must hear questions raised by trainees and understand
if the questions reflect other problem, which are not being mentioned. He should have
the posture of a listener through training towards the speaker and maintaining eye
Respect for experience: Adults will learn more effectively if respect is given to the
experience and qualifications they can bring to a situation. This will encourage greater
participation and activity by trainers.
Prestige: A trainer should command the respect of his colleagues in the organisation.
The training programme will then be strengthened by its acceptance among older and
Number 10: Follow procedures and adhere to policies. Effective leaders are essentially good followers. They know it is not a good idea to behave as a lone wolf, but that they must instead keep their work priorities aligned with the organization’s goal and have an appropriate sense of self-importance.
Number 9: Submit to the authority of others. Closely related to number 10 is the recognition that we are all under the authority of someone, whether it is a supervisor, director, president, board of governors, or whomever else.
Number 8: Take risks. Sometimes it is necessary for leaders to step outside the box, to be innovative. Leaders must be flexible enough to know when it is time to try a new procedure or implement a new policy.
Number 7: Commitment. Any person who assumes a leadership role needs to be committed to the group. An effective leader is a person who can commit to using his or her ability to lead others, perform technical skills, and conceptualize situations, thus helping to ensure goal achievement.
Number 6: Be proactive. Covey (1989) points out the need to be proactive. Individuals who assume leadership must take the proverbial bull by the horns and move forward to be successful.
Number 5: Expect conflict. Conflict among people is a natural, inevitable, and constant factor of human interaction. An effective leader expects conflict and is able to manage it in a productive manner.
Number 4: Tell the truth, but with compassion. To some degree conflicts occur because people are not able to differentiate between task-related conflict issues and their personal investment in a given situation. Bracey, Rosenblum, Sanford, and Trueblood (1990) point out the importance of truthfulness in leadership. Yet at the same time the leader must compassionately tell the truth (e.g., about a faculty member’s job performance, etc.).
Number 3: Listen. Communication plays a vital role in the achievement of interpersonal and organizational goals. Communication is a two-way process. Effective communication requires leaders capable of effective listening. Covey’s (1989) Habit #5, Seek First to Understand, Then Seek to Be Understood, reflects the epitome of effective listening.
Number 2: Love people. Roger D’Aprix stated that leaders must be “loving in [their] organizational relationships” (cited in Goldhaber, 1993, p. 217). “Loving” in this context means that we acknowledge the value of our coworkers and respect them with the dignity they deserve.
Number 1: Check your attitude. Amid the natural chaos and interpersonal interactions, effective leaders are determined to ensure not only that personal goals are reached, but more important, that the group achieves its objectives and fulfills its mission.
Bracey, H., Rosenblum, J., Sanford, A., & Trueblood, R. (1990). Managing from the heart. Atlanta: Heart Enterprises.
Covey, S.R. (1989). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change. New York: Simon & Shuster.
Shapiro, P. (2005). Too many leaders?…or do we use the term “leader” too freely? News & Tools Leadership, 1(2),
Wergin, J.F. (2007) (Ed.). Leadership in place: How academic professionals can find their leadership voice. Boston: Anker.
Goldhaber, G.M. (1993). Organizational communication (6th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Dr. Willis M. Watt is the director of organizational communication and leadership at Methodist University.
The following is commentary that originally appeared at treasurechests.info for the benefit of subscribers on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010.
The title a quantum physics enigma likely best captures (as opposed to ‘ A Parallel Universe, etc.’) the essence of describing two things occupying the same space at the same time, as is the case with both inflation and deflation within the matrix of our sordid economies. Because this topic is of growing interest at present with deflation spreading into increasing sectors, it does in fact appear timely to take a good look at the condition our condition is in, where parallels in central bank policy compared to the 30’s can be made in the sense it might be a ‘Fed mistake’ (lack of inflation) that sparks the next Great Depression. Of course if central banks do respond to the risk of deflation spreading across the larger economy with further quantum leaps in quantitative easing (QE), better known as hyperinflation, the nature of the present depression could be quite different from the last, a hyperinflationary depression that would go full circle, so why bother. (i.e. because the bureaucracy will attempt to preserve itself.)
So the great inflation / deflation debate rolls on, with inflationists stuck on the belief the government / central banks will respond to the threat of deflation taking control of the macro conditions, possibly leading to hyperinflation at some point, which in fact will likely occur in response to collapsing asset values, something that appears to be accelerating as we speak. Because we have arrived – arrived at the tipping point of acceleration in the demise offractional reserve economies – which in the reverse, will bring about a return to a gold standard. Of course some (deflationists) believe gold would eventually succumb to a wider deleveraging in the larger economy. For ourselves, we are not so sure this will be the case, at least not on a lasting basis considering participation rates in precious metals amongst the greater population are still so low.
The founding fathers of quantum physics were beginning to realize that Nature herself and the structure of our own minds are not merely interrelated reflections/reflex-ions of each other, but are an inseparable unity. Nature isn’t outside and separate from the mind, but rather is an expression of it. The mind IS pure nature. Instead of thinking that the outer world was different from the inner world, they realized that if something was happening within themselves, it was simultaneously happening within the universe as well. Coinciding with the collapse of the boundary between the subject and object, just as within a dream, the demarcation between the inner and the outer was becoming harder to find as well. In the holistic world that the new physics describes in which separation between the parts doesn’t exist, the innermost processes of the psyche can spill out and become as much a part of the seemingly external world as the rocks, trees, and stars, as if reality itself is a mass shared dream.
When these brilliant scientists began to metabolize and assimilate within themselves what they had discovered, it was as if they had “come to their senses,” waking up from a centuries-long slumber. We can tell from their writings that their discoveries truly changed the way they envisioned life itself. As if remembering something they knew long ago, they became inwardly transformed. This realization of the dreamlike nature of reality is itself the very expansion of consciousness which galvanized them to realize that consciousness plays the primary role in both physics and the creation of the universe.
As the spirit of the quantum materializes in form in the third dimension, which is to say that matter is recognized to be an unmediated revelation of spirit, matter becomes “divinized.” Once the universe is recognized as an oracle of and for itself that is speaking in “dream-speak,” which is to say “symbolically,” quantum physics reveals its heretofore hidden “hermetic” side. Notice the similarity to Jung’s idea of synchronicity, in which mind and matter reciprocally inform and reflect each other, as if inseparably interconnected at their core. This world we live in is idea-like, as if it’s a thought giving itself form, like a dream that seems unmistakably real while we are in it.
Quantum physics is a flag-bearer of an epochal paradigm shift currently taking place within human consciousness — deep within the collective unconscious — concerning the nature of reality itself. The question naturally arises: what is the “reality” which quantum theory has been invented to describe? Are we discovering this “reality?” Or creating it? The discoveries of quantum physics are directly pointing to the hitherto-unsuspected powers of the mind to cast reality in its image rather than the other way round. In any case, though seemingly subtle in nature at the present moment, this shift in paradigms that quantum physics is initiating is an earth-shaking affair, with ramifications beyond our present imagination.
The revelations of quantum physics can be used to destroy life, or to enhance it beyond measure. The words of Hoffmann’s book The Strange Story of the Quantum, published in 1947, are even more true today: “Now is the terrible crisis of our civilization. Now is the fateful hour of high decision. For better or worse, We, the People of the Earth, must choose our Future.” Quantum physics tells us that the future is not written in stone, but rather, is indeterminate, filled with infinite potential. How the world of the quantum — our world — manifests depends upon how we dream it. As it says in the Bible (Deuteronomy 30:19), “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” The choice is truly ours.
A book titled “Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the Nature of the Universe“ has stirred up the Internet, because it contained a notion that life does not end when the body dies, and it can last forever. The author of this publication, scientist Dr. Robert Lanza who was voted the 3rd most important scientist alive by the NY Times, has no doubts that this is possible.
Beyond time and space
Lanza is an expert in regenerative medicine and scientific director of Advanced Cell Technology Company. Before he has been known for his extensive research which dealt with stem cells, he was also famous for several successful experiments on cloning endangered animal species.
Lanza points to the structure of the universe itself, and that the laws, forces, and constants of the universe appear to be fine-tuned for life, implying intelligence existed prior to matter. He also claims that space and time are not objects or things, but rather tools of our animal understanding. Lanza says that we carry space and time around with us “like turtles with shells.” meaning that when the shell comes off (space and time), we still exist.
disappearing into the thick mist!
This phrase disappearing into the thick mist : How apt?
Quantum Activism is the idea of changing ourselves and our societies in accordance with the principles of quantum physics.
Theoretical Quantum Physicist Dr. Amit Goswami is a revolutionary amongst a growing body of renegade scientists who, in recent years, has ventured into the domain of the spiritual in an attempt both to interpret the seemingly inexplicable findings of curious experiments and to validate intuitions about the existence of a spiritual dimension of life. A prolific writer, teacher, and visionary, Dr. Goswami has appeared in the movies What the Bleep do we know!?, Dalai Lama Renaissance, as well as the award winning documentary, The Quantum Activist.
Here we can note one of the mentions spiritual life to spiritual dimension of life for which i will add spiritual dimension to life to comprehend.