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Systemic Crises as Keys to Systemic Remedies

A metaphorical Rosetta Stone for future strategy? (Part #1)

Systemic crises
Dangerous neglect of underlying patterns
Metaphorical descriptions of systems
Interplay of metaphors in strategic discourse
Systemic insights to be derived from the financial system crisis: an example
Systemic challenge: opportunities vs threats (fears)
Self-reflexivity in systems representation
Interplay of metaphors as an integrative system of correspondences
Cross-system strategic "puzzles": enabling a different form of connectivity
Modelling credibility crises of the future
Archetypal hope-mongering
Avoidance of responsibility
Oversight: Need for a Global Monetary Authority -- or a Global Birdwatching Authority?

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The drama of the financial crisis and "credit crunch" -- sufficient cause for grave concern -- is presented here as exemplifying underlying cognitive patterns that should be cause for even greater concern. A case is presented here for looking at environmental overshoot "through" the cognitive framework of the financial system -- the systemic role of its actors, instruments, concepts and dynamics, as well as how long and short-term risk is managed in a context of both fear and hope-mongering, as engendered by fact and rumour, and variously exploited. The approach is to suggest use of cognitive tools of finance, and its crisis, as a source of metaphor through which to reframe understanding of other imminent crises -- for which there is a similar lack of preparedness

As what history may see as a foretaste, the financial crisis is therefore to be understood as a magnificent, only too realistic, metaphor of institutionalized approaches to international risk management at this time, notably as articulated just before the full crisis in The Economist (Confessions of a Risk Manager, 9 August 2008).

The remedies to emergent crises, as failures of risk management, may therefore be seen as metaphors of strategic propensities.

In the case of the financial crisis the emphasis has been placed on "injection" of liquidity from a source that in some ill-defined way is "meta" to the system in crisis -- a curious term in a society with a pervasive drug problem in which "injection" may indeed be framed as a remedy. More curious is the widespread belief that humanity can be "bailed out" by extra-systemic processes, whether by "God" (framed by some as the "opium of the people") or by "human ingenuity" (of the quality that gave rise to the crisis in the derivatives market). These issues are epitomized by the fact that there is indeed a risk that the next president of the country exemplifying these propensities will be someone who welcomes the possibility of complete civilizational collapse as a means of evoking a divine "bailout".

People are challenged to work out what credibility is to be given to warnings. This challenge is exemplified in the current promotion of terrorism as a threat -- supposedly exceeding in significance many other situations faced by humanity and the planet (Promoting a Singular Global Threat -- Terrorism: strategy of choice for world governance, 2002).

The argument here is a development of these points, as explored in a previous exercise on a complementary challenge, namely how to determine the credibility of those who engage in hope-mongering (Credibility Crunch engendered by Hope-mongering: "credit crunch" focus as symptom of a dangerous mindset, 2008). Where arguments there are appropriate to their development here, they have been included -- especially points made in the introduction and conclusion.pment here, they have been included -- especially points made in the introduction and conclusion.

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