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Like many others in the world I joined the last phase of the election on TV. The results were impressive; many people on the street expressed their joy, and most were satisfied with the result. There were several analyses explaining the uniqueness of this election (choice of candidates, the campaign, the mobilization of the people to actively vote, the first afro-American president, and several aspects more). The comments were strong motivating and I felt being part of the community happiness in New York, Washington, Miami and other places. Reporters asked participants and some of the answers pointed in the direction of the original strength and roots of the American nation.

After an hour I discovered another sound track in these reports and interviews. It was the message of the “unexpected surprise”. In the retrospective analyses most contributions pointed to the development over last 4 to 8 years and the need for change as this development could not be logically continued. But if this was that clear for a large majority, why this overall lack in trust? Were some of the US citizens still not convinced or didn’t they trust the election process? What would happen, if? Okay, at least some of these nasty questions became academic as more states report on the voting results.

Next I asked myself about the ability to execute on these expectations. Most of us know the current evident need to respond to a series of economical, ecological, and social demands. These questions are not arbitrary, but might be prioritized differently by persons according expertise, responsibility, time dimensions, and geographical extents. Next I realized the instantaneous aspect of this election. Or better to say: why are such changes less evolutionary and that strong dependant to instances like political parties, the composition of parliaments, elections and others. From a political perspective resolutions are typical binary: either this or that. Is this contemporary in western democracies? Is there a possibility to adjust actions with population, nation, government, parliament, on a more continuous level? I’m aware about the forces acting in such political, economical, and social environments, but still the question is about this second message “unexpected surprise”.

Continuing on this reflection I thought about mathematical or physical systems. Abstractly speaking it’s the resolution of a bundle of equations under the condition of boundaries. And what happens once the boundaries are changing in dependency to some parameters. One of the best-known parameters is time. The current boundaries we perceive in live are describing economical health and growth, social healthcare, development of emerging markets, recovering of the financial crisis, ecology and others. Most political discussions keep these boundaries static and this might be one mistake. The other issue to overcome is the awareness of “give to get”. Say it in other words: it is no more valid to expect a continuation or even an increase in values for all aspects we like and love, and got the “other” issues resolved on top as well.

The boundaries in these mathematical system descriptions might be changed, but our world is limited. Like economy,also politics is global, so we have no outbound domain to drop waste and incapability. Today’s election has major impacts regarding sustainability and the request for capabilities to handle resolutions considering changing boundaries.

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  1. Paul Centen Post author
    I got a question to illustrate a bit the difference between fix and changing boundary conditions. So here is one:

    Imagine the economy is described by a solution with variables like
    – size of population
    – gross margin per country
    – growth by industry
    – performance by leading 1000 brands
    – and besides some other, for sure: finance
    and this solution fits to a number of equations, which fulfill to boundary constraints described by variables like finance. The calendar year is a parameter in that solution

    The solutions for the years 2005, 2006, 2007 are given. Now you have to solve the equations for 2008. If the boundaries are only slightly changing, you know the different solutions over the years are close to each other. So if economical growth is about 3%, a solution to 2.5% or 3.5% can be predicted.

    What if growth changes from 3% to 1%? Difficult to say, but that solution is “near” to the 3% one.

    Take another variable: finance. You might finance by any global definition; I took the market capitalization based on the share prices of some stock markets. Changing finance by 1 to 3%, you get solution close or near to each other. But finance collapsed by 20 to 30%.

    Any numeric, iterative solution approach will fail, because such methods assume all minus one variable fix and the last one in a marginal change. With sensitive parameters like finance a change by 20% will result in impressive changes in other variables as well. So approaching a solution from other known ones is less beneficial.

    The trick, to assume the solution “of the year 2000 or 1995”, because finance was at that time most probably of that size, is amusing. Why? Imagine you and your “surroundings” would be 8 to 13 years younger. We were middle in Afghanistan, Irak wasn’t yet on radar, 4 to 9 years after Kuwait, and 10 years after the wall, and at the end of Clinton-period. I don’t mean the historical facts, but more the development since then.

    Kind regards Paul

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