Three long-term economic trends all point towards zero: 1- official interest rates (5,000 years); 2- dividends from stock markets as a proportion of total returns (70 years); and 3- economic growth rates (2,000 years). What are the potential consequences for our economic model if these mega-trends are correct and if they persist – what next?
I wrote this text in 2018 as a thought experiment. It was never published at the time because I was not sure how such a heretical narrative might be beneficial… but now, as the COVID-19 pandemic triggers a global financial calamity, I hope people find it useful as they navigate the crisis and contemplate the systemic changes that may be necessary. Continue reading
To find the answer, we need to go back to the origin of the word “data”. ‘Etymology can give a startling new perspective on many of the phrases we frequently toss around in business’, says Gillian Tett in her FT column Language matters: the real meaning of Big Data. The word “data” comes from the Latin verb “to give”, and could therefore be translated to mean “a gift”. If the original meaning of words is important, then we should be careful how we use them or risk distorting the effects they have, without even realising it. Continue reading
Introducing “Triple Entry Bookkeeping” – an accounting methodology that incorporates the non-financial #impact of commercial transactions. It is a way to factor in #externalities, positive or negative, within market prices and asset valuations.
It sets out rules for #ProgrammableMoney that can account for impact (+ & -) and adjusts purchasing power accordingly, for both buyers and sellers i.e. creates market based incentives for doing good.
It offers an arithmetic framework that could support proposals by @YanisVaroufakis for the #Kosmos (a synthetic digital currency modelled on the #Bancor by John Maynard Keynes, originally proposed as a unit of account to track international flows of assets and liabilities).
Read the full paper at www.sumptuousaccounting.org
Money, finance and capital markets are social constructs that have ostensibly evolved for societal purpose. Yet paradoxically finance and enterprises that intentionally target social returns need to be prefixed with the word ‘social’ (sometimes ‘impact’, sometimes ‘social impact’) to make it clear that they have an explicit social purpose. Measuring social impact, and by extension environmental impact, is an attempt at quantifying the societal relevance of all this activity – and shining a light on what might be otherwise described by economists as positive or negative externalities. But measuring social impact directly is arguably one of the most difficult ways of universally assessing social usefulness. This is because not everything that is important can be easily measured, and not everything that can be measured can be easily compared with other important things because they often often get measured in different ways.