The past year has had its more than fair share of challenges. For my family, health has been a major issue and as we suffer the temporariness of all that is, the battle continues and it is heart-wrenching. Suffering the passage of time and things brings with it certain boons as well. We start to recognize the value of contemplation and meditation. We start to recognize our position in history,within family and within the world. We start to recognize that we are forever in transition, and change is a habit that we need to adopt, before it adapts us (the latter can be a painful process).
So where are we today according to GDK? We are poised to better understand ourselves as we sit on this lonely planet in the cosmos (recently learning that there is hope of another such planet out there with living characteristics similar to ours). We keep pushing ourselves forward to create and deploy technologies to bring more of us closer together politically and economically. We are learning, sometimes the hard way, the real potential for climactic catastrophe, especially as it pounds against human development (Fukushima for instance). We are running out of energy to sustain us all as the human population sees no bounds. We are at a better place to understand how the social, the technological, the scientific, may conflate to create a space for a socio-economic network to connect us all.
What about finance and trade? We have had to confront the hard truth about the gap between reality and talk; paper is paper after all and we cannot be sure about what it purports to represent; and valuation is tricky if it is manipulated. Perhaps it is time to shift gear and make the rules simpler and accessible to the general public; perhaps popular movements like Occupy Wall Street ask for something when they ask for nothing; perhaps the gains toward popular politics in the middle east push political boundaries beyond their own through a global social network. There is a politics of finance and trade as much as there is financial politics, political trade, and a trade in politics/ideology. Developing nations will become developed superpowers, and superpowers will come full circle to understanding the value of interdependence - economic, cultural, and political. Developing nations have provided resources to the developed and now want to retain some for themselves as they seek to become manufacturing powers... but all are worried about being stripped 'dry'... and strategically that is the rub. What resources are left? greenery, water, timber, minerals... they belong to us all and do not need to be fought over; the demarcation line is not the border between countries - it is where my skin touches yours. This is how close we have become but refuse to acknowledge.
Are fraud and corruption things of the past now that whistleblowing is in vogue and wall street reform a ticket to political office? Fraud and corruption are a part of us still and require our vigilant attention. They are no different than lying and stealing... temptations each of us faces every day. The greater the purse at stake, the more chance a person or a group of persons or an institution will be tempted to shirk moral, if not legal, obligation for pecuniary gain. The fact that there is more social technology to warn others or tell on those who defraud others, may not affect the shaming impulse in quite the same way as litigation on behalf of those defrauded. In other words, despite the Dodd-Frank legislative reform incentivizing whistleblowing to the SEC, and the establishment of the SEC whistleblowing office, there have not been many actions, if any taken to date. The conclusion at this point in time is, we at KLS continue to provide a much needed service, and we even attempt to hold governments accountable. The false claims act cases that whistleblowers themselves may take, and gain government assistance to bring, supply another useful tool against fraud.
Some of the answer lies too in reconfiguring the power to frame the debate around issues of valuation so we can all start to participate in order to regain trust in a system of currency. How exactly are value and contribution/resources linked and what currency exhibits that tie? This is one project that I have taken on for 2012 in a multi-faceted approach. Within KLS, it involves outreach to clients to understand better how their various resources can assist in getting maximum recovery for investors while engaging in dialogue to assist the entire web of relationships regain the trust broken by fraudsters and power mongers.
If there is anything, there is hope that we will come closer to finding the answers.. but there is definitely much to do in 2012! I wish you all courage and the love that supports it, and the great deal of energy, and health, needed to elicit your full contribution!