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Primary Global Reserve Currency: the Con?

Explores the cognitive role of prefixes, especially con-, in framing strategic discourse.

Primary Global Reserve Currency: the Con?
Sustaining confidence: the integrative function of "con"
Confusing distinctions and consequences of prefixes
Recursive language of global discourse: self-referential role of "con" and "re"
Exploration of prefixes fundamental to global discourse
Concept of a global currency
Global confidelity
Embodying the binary ambiguities of currency
Configuring a system of pre-logical biases
Embodiment of identity in conscious creativity
The "Ultimate Con"
Final confusion, conflation and collapse

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Confidence is essentially intangible and it is therefore somewhat extraordinary that it should be so fundamental to what might otherwise be considered the most tangible aspects of the material world -- as evident in the world of business and finance, necessarily so economic with the truth. "Confidence" is supposedly not even a matter of consideration in any evaluation of the financial condition of a commercial enterprise or a national economy. This supposition is in fact quite incorrect as the financial crisis of 2008-9 has demonstrated through concern with assumption of risk and "credit ratings".

Of great interest however is the essential role in psychosocial organization of other words using the prefix "con". Just as "con-fidence" reflects a vital mutuality of "fidelity",many other words prefixed in that way offer related or complementary insights: convention, congress, consensus, conviction, consumption, concern, conversation, conscience, consciousness, etc. Such words, as a set, would seem to imply a system of processes of poorly acknowledged importance.

Just as "confidence" has been disguised and seemingly marginalized within the economic system, it also underlies a range of other preoccupations with which "confidence" is not necessarily associated. One purpose here is to draw attention to a variety of what might be termed surrogates of confidence in order to point to confidence as a common intangible, if not the most fundamental. The nature of this intangible -- as an existential, subjective experience -- is arguably a special challenge to individual and collective engagement with any common global reality. This challenge defies simplistic assumptions and calls for careful consideration as the dynamic cognitive "glue" that ensures the connectivity and coherence presumably essential to global governance and to viable strategies for the future. Emphasis on "hope" in political discourse is necessarily a characteristic of this "glue".

The suggestion here is that, unknowingly, global society is partially trapped within an impoverished "con" metaphor -- whose neglected dynamics effectively constitute a fundamental form of currency. Hence the title of this exercise and its reference to the unusual term "confidelity"-- already in use in reflection on the confidelity, integrity and availability of service-oriented architectures. The question here is the nature of the global confidelity that might be fundamental to such a global currency.

This reflection is produced in anticipation of the 2011 G-20 Cannes Summit -- the sixth meeting of the G-20 heads of government in a series of on-going discussions about financial markets and the world economy. At the previous 2010 G-20 Seoul Summit, the president of the World Bank had called for a revamping of the global currency system, immediately reinforced in commentary in the Financial Times. Following the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008-2009, the so-called Washington Consensus was held to have ended. At the Seoul Summit, the G20 then agreed on a new Seoul Development Consensus.

The contentions which follows might be understood as consistent with the emerging concern regarding the elaboration in the G-20 conference of a concept configuring factors relevant to constraining conversion of currencies within a suitable context -- in the light of the learnings arising from the recent confusion consequent on the limitations of the Washington consensus. Adapting the insight into "metaphors we live by" (George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, 1980), the question is whether global strategy and discourse are cognitively constrained by "prefixes we live by"  -- effectively constituting an array of pre-logical "biases" by which global preoccupations are "pre-fixed". The use of such prefixes is explored in Annex A (Exploration of Prefixes of Global Discourse: implications of a cognitive prefix for sustainable confidelity, 2011). This justifies consideration of the interplay between consciousness, creativity and the embodiment in identity in Annex B (Embodiment of Identity in Conscious Creativity, 2011).

With respect to the current calls for a global reserve currency -- as with the earlier gold standard -- the concern here is with the potential implication of individual and collective conscience and, more fundamentally, with the nature of consciousness itself. Both are essential prerequisites for the confidence vital to the sustainability of such a vehicle, especially given the assessment of John Ralston Saul (The Unconscious Civilization, 1995). It is in this light that the more fundamental "reserve currency" may be recognized in the interplay of the underlying integrative cognitive processes implicated in "con" -- and as yet to be fully explored.

As is to be expected, global adoption of such a reserve currency will be contested and the subject of controversy -- framed as a confidence trick, as with the euro (recently so variously challenged). It is in order to "re-cognize" and encompass this dynamic memetic complex that the global reserve currency could be appropriately named as the "con", especially given its fundamental dependence on collective consciousness.

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