In typical engineer fashion, I tend to respect experts only as long as they roughly demonstrate they know what they are talking about, but this trust is revokable.
It is fairly obvious to me that economy experts don’t have a feckin’ clue about what’s going on in the world right now: each and every year for the past five they have been predicting “tepid growth for the coming year, with true growth the next”. this sounds almost as reassuring as the astrologers’ prediction for my sign, Virgo. These guys are reading tea leaves, and counting on pure luck to get it right somehow.
The best economic brains in the world are sinking Greece into a depression so deep it will need a war to come out of. All accepted fundamental economic theories are worthless, the cycle has gone amok, and the traditional locomotives (US, Germany and lately China) are facing their own set of problems and certainly cannot be counted upon to pull everybody else out of the rut.
Physicists know very well this situation: accepted laws and formulas are now predicting the right results anymore, numbers are all over the place, experiments contradict each other – it’s called a discontinuity. The best know form of discontinuity is perhaps the Black Hole, a region of space where curvature and gravity become infinite and relativistic physics become prevalent over newtonian.
Also mathematicians know this situation well: in their jargon, this is called a cusp, a simple example of which is represented on the right. If the curve represented for example the path of a body, its first derivative would represent its velocity. Everywhere, except in the origin, where the velocity would not be defined (because of the cusp).
So, here we are.
My idea (dare not call this a “theory”) is that we are fast approaching the cusp, but are still desperately trying to calculate our velocity using the formula for the first derivative: unfortunately the closer we get, the less meaningful this calculation is, throwing us into even more confusion and angst.
Over the next few weeks I will try to articulate the elements of discontinuity I think are driving this process and whether there is anything that we should take into account for our humble jobs as marketing and communications consultants.
If I had a numerous following, it would be nice to petition for your contributions, but in case there’s any brave soul out there, I promise I will publish anything you contribute as guest posts.