Archive for June, 2015

New Module: Ethics in Business

Patrick launches a new module ‘Ethics and Responsibility in Business’ on the Manchester MBA programme in January 2015.

Combining Kantian ethics with game theory reasoning and analysis, using case studies and examples, the module offers a new and refreshing approach to
business ethics, governance and anti-trust regulations. It builds and extends on the range of issues discussed in the International Journal of Social Economics.

Lying is the Norm in a Noosphere: ‘Telling it slant’ and ‘white lies’ prevail.

In a paper presented at the Adam Smith Seminar Series, Ludwig Maximilian’s Universitat, LMU, in Munchen, January 2015 Patrick explored the meaning of lying and the meaning of truth. He concludes that the poet’s truth prevails; scientific truth is, on the contrary, fleeting, irrational, and dreamlike. A painter who cannot paint, is, as Socrates says, ‘no painter’. In the paper, Act I provides a critical overview on the meaning of truth in philosophy and literature. Scientific truth is truth as perceived by others. Act II introduces two hypotheses in support of lying as a norm and prepares the foundation for our definition of truth as an aversion to lying. To confirm that a lie is concealed within the meaning of truth as perceived by others Act III adapts a Turing machine in the search for the identity of a liar behind a closed door. This prepares us for Act IV wherein a topology is described with an equivalence between the sets L (lies) and T (truth) that spans a family of subsets, a brotherhood of rascals – the white lies and fairytales that fall under the truth set, T. Act V explores the interaction of the human mind with other minds, and first and foremost with itself. In other words, it introduces a noosphere and the conscious awareness of lying in everyday life’s experiences. Truthful honest Mr T enters a binding Noahic covenant that conceals within a lie the meaning of truth as perceived by others; his conscious awareness of others defines a Jacobean tragedy of truth aversion in a noosphere. By Act VI the paper reaches its denouement – as rational and irrational individuals we wait for the (scientific) truth, we wait for Godot.

Seminar Paper

Figure 1 Diagram

Presentation Slides

Wistful Economics

Economics of times past, of Adam Smith and Keynes alas! Has economics become an illusion? Yes. It is an accidental tourist in the political landscape. Economic policy making is[1] ‘but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage’ of natural numbers, coupled with policymakers throwing[2] ‘sixes and fives in games of chance’ and ‘as wise folk know the conditions in every country’ – targets and trends, patterns and probabilities. All the policymakers are merely players; they have[3] ‘their exits and their entrances sans teeth, sans eyes, san taste, sans everything’. There are no hard lines of distinction. Deflation may be temporary if capacity is absorbed by the real economy. However, a finite measurable increase in sales (thus, output) cannot be secured by small marginal reductions in price. Some industries are depressed and household balance sheets are insolvent. Ah, there’s husbandry in heaven and ‘a heavy summons lies like lead’ upon[4] the ECB: US dollar strength against the Euro is due to deflation in Europe and deflation in Europe is driving up the US dollar. Policymakers ‘cannot sleep’; with their ‘eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, full of wise saws, and modern instances’ they are actors in a Shakespearean play of infinite length as big data, social media and the Internet of Things transform real lives.

In a deflationary period a mismatch in prices and quantities occurs as companies and consumers both fear to spoil the chance of getting a better price later. This fear in a moment in time creates a short period. Competition breaks down and imperfections – for example, short term working, poverty and inequality, exchange rate volatility, competitive devaluations and lower wages – emerge with lasting impact.

Without China’s continued growth, there is no economy in the world large enough to absorb further contraction in the EU and the US. Only those who believe that economic policy making is akin to a Shakespearean play ‘full of strange oaths’ will enjoy the summer recess. But action is required now if deflation’s short period is to be defeated, best illustrated by the life of the mayfly than that of an elephant. A menu of policies should include a return to managed global exchange rates for a period of time, fiscal stimulus in order to ease domestic debt burdens and a continuation of QE in the EU. Falling prices are little comfort for the indebted householders and unemployed. The policymakers[5] sentence all of us to the sentence: ‘there is to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, to the last syllable of recorded time’. It is better to end austerity now than regret doing economics by numbers.

[1] Act V Scene V Macbeth spoken by Macbeth

[2] Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales The Man of Law’s Tale 1st Part 130-134

[3] Act II Scene VII As You Like It spoken by Jaques

[4] Act II Scene I Macbeth as Banquo enters.

[5] Act V Scene V Macbeth spoken by Macbeth