Governing Board of the European Baha’i Business Forum (EBBF). 2009-06. “An Ethical Perspective on Today’s Economic Crisis: A statement from the European Baha’i Business Forum.”

“The world is passing through an economic and financial crisis unprecedented in modern times. Its global scope transcends the cyclical adjustments of national economies and the corrective instruments usually used by business and national governments. The general malaise and loss of confidence point to deeper issues and more fundamental flaws in the economic system, extending to a crisis of leadership and values. This unprecedented crisis, together with its accompanying social breakdown, reflects a profound error of conception about human nature itself. We are being shown that, unless the development of society finds a purpose beyond the mere amelioration of material conditions, it will fail to attain even this goal. That purpose must be sought in spiritual dimensions of life and motivation that transcend a constantly changing economic landscape and an artificially imposed division of human societies into “developed” and “developing”. The European Baha’i Business Forum recognizes in this situation an opportunity to reshape the fundamental concepts and structures that will not only lift us from this crisis but set us on a road towards a new set of institutions and behaviours which will enable humankind to prosper. As the present crisis is fundamentally one of trust and integrity, and therefore ethical in its foundation, its solution cannot be a mere institutional reorganization or some additional regulatory measures. It needs an ethical response at all levels: the individual, the corporation and the government and regulatory entities. There is no quick fix to this situation. Several principles must be considered while reshaping our thinking on institutions and the individuals that compose them. We need to replace the concept of self-centred materialism with that of service to humanity, competition with cooperation, corruption with ethical behaviour, sexism with gender balance, more authoritarian legislation with personal ethics, national regulation with international supervision, protectionism with world unity, and injustice with justice. EBBF promotes and welcomes engagement with the widest possible community to develop together the new framework. Given the importance of the business community in the world, we should draw on its special capabilities and resources, in collaboration with governments, international organizations and NGOs, to design the institutional framework and the guiding principles of the new economic system. We call on peoples from all businesses, countries, and walks of life to work together to build a new economic system based upon equity and justice (EBBF 2009-06).”

Who’s Who

“EBBF is a network of over 400 women and men, a community of people passionate about bringing ethical values, personal virtues and moral leadership into their workplaces. Its membership is diverse and crosses generations, borders, sectors and beliefs. It began in 1990 and is now present in over 60 countries. EBBF’s vision is to enhance the well-being and prosperity of humankind. It believes that positively influencing the world of business, starting from the inspiration of action by each of its members, is an important step in this direction (EBBF 2009-06).”

Notes

“EBBF promotes seven core values that it feels are of strategic importance in enhancing business performance: Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainable Development, Partnership of Women and Men, A New Paradigm of Work, Consultation in Decision-Making, Values-Based Leadership (EBBF 2009-06).”

Webliography

Governing Board of the European Baha’i Business Forum (EBBF). 2009-06. “An Ethical Perspective on Today’s Economic Crisis: A statement from the European Baha’i Business Forum.” Chambery, France.

The credit crisis erased $14 trillion (McKeef 2008-12-31) from world stock markets in 2008. Where does $14 trillion in world stock markets go? How can that much capital disappear from the market? The infamous year 2008 will be known in the future as the year that fundamental concepts in the moral mathematics of the market were forever changed. This credit crisis was the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s but its ramifications may be even deeper.

                                                                                                                                                                          
100,000,000 dollars How can we visualize a billion dollars? How much more difficult is it to imagine a trillion dollars?

The most recent wiki entry (2009-01-01) describes how any attempt to visualize numbers higher than a million is complicated because there are too systems of numeric names and the difference between the two scales grows as numbers get larger. Million is the same in both scales, but the long-scale billion is a thousand times larger than the short-scale billion, the long-scale trillion is a million times larger than the short-scale trillion. The short scale system is used in the US and a long scale system is used in the UK. The short scale system of numeric names means every new term greater than million is 1,000 times the previous term: “billion” means “a thousand millions” (109), “trillion” means “a thousand billions” (1012), and so on. Long scale refers to a system of numeric names in which every new term greater than million is 1,000,000 times the previous term: “billion” means “a million millions” (1012), “trillion” means “a million billions” (1018). (wiki).”

6 zeros = 1 million, a thousand thousands or (106)1, 000, 000
8 zeros = a hundred million (108) 100, 000, 000 this image
9 zeros = 1 billion in the short scale system used in the US = a thousand millions or (109) or 1,000,000,000
12 zeros = 1 trillion in the short scale system used in the US = “a thousand billions (1012) or 1,000,000,000,000
12 zeros = 1 billion in the long scale system used in the UK: 1,000,000,000,000
18 zeros = 1 trillion in the long scale system used in the UK is a million billions (1018) or 1,000,000,000,000,000,00


1,000,000 6 zeros = 1 million, a thousand thousands or (106)1, 000, 000

This Adobe Photoshop image posted in my ocean.flynn Flickr account was my attempt to visualize 100,000,000 dollars

 “World stock markets ended on an uptick for the year on Wednesday, after some bourses registered their worst annual losses in history. Global stocks as measured by the MSCI world index ended up 0.76 percent for the day and posted their first monthly gain in seven months, but lost 43.36 percent for the year. About $14 trillion (9.6 trillion pounds) in market capitalisation was erased from world stock markets in 2008 in the wake of the worst credit crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. “It has been a shocking year, hardly anything was spared in the carnage,” said Michael Heffernan, strategist at Austock Group in Australia. U.S. stocks edged up on Wednesday and saw their first monthly gain in five months, but the year has been the worst for Wall Street stocks since the Great Depression (McKeef 2008-12-31).”

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McKeef, Clive. 2008-12-31. “World stocks end up after historic losses.” Business News. Reuters.

Deborah Yedlin (2008-12-30) of the Calgary Herald’s Business section succinctly summarized the economic nightmare of 2008 in which the investment banking industry collapsed, Chicago school economics theories were debunked and their heroes dethroned, trusted risk management managers were vilified, and the axis of financial power shifted from the West to the East.

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Citations

“The consequences of the lack of regulation in the shadowy subprime housing market, and the ability of banks to get loans off their balance sheets and have investment banks repackage them as rated securities, allowed for the spreading risk. It was a practice that was supposed to ensure if something went bad, the damage would be contained because the exposure would be spread out. It was an axiom that was lent an even greater reliability because U. S. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greens-pan was a believer in it. As many are now painfully aware, the dominos began to fall when two hedge funds at Bear Stearns collapsed in late 2007. This started the clock ticking on the 84-year-old investment bank, which proceeded to lose the confidence of investors and counterparties and was sold post-haste to JP Morgan Chase in March for $10 a share with the “help” of the U. S. Federal Reserve and its investment banking veteran, Hank Paulson (Yedlin 2008-12-30).”

“Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, in opining on the multi-billion fraud perpetrated by Bernard Madoff, suggested one of the reasons he was not discovered was because of society’s worship of the wealthy. Too many, he said, have drawn the conclusion that people who have made huge sums of money must be very smart and to question these individuals would be to insult them (Yedlin 2008-12-30).”

Webliography and Bibliography

Yedlin, Deborah. 2008-12-30. “Storybook year ends in economic nightmare.” Calgary Herald.

US Circumlocution Offices [1]: Federal Reserve approved General Motors (GMAC) Financial Services’ application to become a bank-holding company which will let them benefit from government bailout dollars. New York University sued Merkin GMAC chairman for feeding money to Madoff and concealing involvement from investors like NYU.

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Notes

1. Charles Dickens invented the term Circumlocution Offices to describe governmental and bureaucratic indolence and incompetence. By passing work through many hands of the Circumlocution Offices, it is easy to avoid doing anything. Dickens’ character in Little Dorrit, Mr. Merdle, who embarked on a fraudulent scheme is now being compared to Madoff and institutions such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), etc are being compared to Circumlocution Offices.

“The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday approved GMAC Financial Services’ application to become a bank-holding company, a status that would give the auto-financing arm of General Motors Corp. access to government bailout dollars and the Fed’s discount window. The move complements a $17.4 billion emergency loan package the government extended to GM and (Wall Street Journal 2008-12-24)…

“Merkin, who is chairman of GMAC LLC, is named in the lawsuit brought by NYU, along with his Gabriel Capital LP fund and Ariel Fund Ltd. GMAC is the finance business owned by General Motors Corp and private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP. The Funds ‘feeding’ money to Madoff, including Ariel, made a conscious effort to conceal Madoff’s involvement from their own investors,” the NYU lawsuit said. “This concealment was a requirement dictated by Madoff, which was agreed to by Merkin and other ‘feeder’ funds (McCool Reuters 2008-12-24).”

“The Bank of England will announce Monday a scheme which will see it lend money to banks in return for collateral in a bid to help the troubled U.K. mortgage market, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said Sunday Wall Street Journal . Following Business and Financial News in 2008 has been an exciting, mind-boggling, incredulous (mis)adventure. It has become difficult to choose those stories that will remain relevant in the future as part of the social and economic history of this chaotic period. See also http://snurl.com/25asj and http://snurl.com/25aus

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“Nice deal… nationalize risk, privatizes profit.”

digg users comments are themselves very revealing. I don’t think active digg users represent a broad spectrum but I am not sure? Are the demographics on digg similar to other services offering trendy tech tools? young male techies writing for young male techies?

Along with evangelical Ron Paul supporters, there is a very active core group writing anarchist, anti-government, minimal government, avoid-banks-buy-gold, avoid-banks-cash-only diggs with some nasty digg between digg users.

A United Way report Losing Ground: The Persistent Growth of Family Poverty in Canada’s Largest City claims almost 93,000 Toronto, Canada households are raising children in poverty. That’s 30% compared with 16 per cent in 1990.

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Third world votes lured by msoft freebies but European courts stall adoption of proprietary ISO standards. Open source for the public versus private ownership?

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