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…Providing Asset Management of Human Capital

So often in articles, the author starts out with a definition of what Mr. Webster says a word means. Well, guess what? We're going to give a definition of capitalism to open our comment about prevailing economics of the new economy and how systems thinking can bring additional value to y.ou.r.Life.

Capitalism is that economic system where goods and services are freely exchanged using currency.

Whether you considered that to apply to you personally, or that of your business, it's important to understand how interchangeable they are. If you don't own a business, do your self a favor and start acting like you do: treat each day like an investment, upon which you are expected to report a positive return on assets entrusted to your care, or at least show evidence that you're moving with purpose in that direction.

Time, like many other aspects of life, expresses a currency, a means of exchange. We make dollars per hour, (or pounds sterling, shekels, riyals, etc.), we travel distance per hour, count the days until summer, our birthday, Christmas, etc. For legal tender to be useful, we must account for it.

Currency comes in various forms

Since the 15th century, most of the world follows the traditions established by Luca Pacioli [1], a Venetian monk and mathemetician. It sometimes boggles the mind to survey what Catholic Monasticism has brought to our culture: double-entry bookeeping and genetics (Mendel), just to mention two.

The state of Math Education in the US is startling, to be kind. Common experience will validate that if the cash register breaks, the kid at the counter is unlikely to be able to give you correct change. Forget such Number Sense exotica as calculating cube roots in your head. The bigger issue is not simply one of education, as important as that is, but rather of the role mental models play in creating social and economic frameworks by which people define themselves.

Those people that cannot balance a checkbook, make and stay within a family budget, and develop a ‘rainy day reserve’ like our grandparents talked about, are destined to live out their days working for someone else. That certainly does not impune the millions of workers who choose to do so; our mission of ‘evangelizing’ technology, as Guy Kawasaki made famous at Apple Computer and later through, is for those who would choose to do something different, yet see no way to do so.

The systems thinking discipline provides tools for updating and extending y.o.u.r. mental model(s) to align more closely with the priorities you claim. As you progress through this site, and through life, you will be presented with many oportunities to expand your thinking. The rest is up to you. Rock Eel Café Collaboration Coaches™ serve as ‘trail guides’ for those of like mind who wish to journey toward a brighter future.

Webster's defines capital in 14 ways. Any of them require mathematical maturity, being able to converse with numbers and figures.

Different cultures approach the intersection of ‘math language’ and oral language quite differently. Roughly 2500 years ago in Shalatula, a town near Attock on the Indus river in present day Pakistan, Panini [2] published Astadhyayi (or Astaka) in which he gives formal production rules and definitions of Sanskrit grammar.

In The Crest of the Peacock, GG Joseph suggests that the Indian way of representing numbers by words, (algebraic, rather than geometric, such as Descartes or Euclid) and ultimately the development of modern number systems in India, are linked through Sanskrit language structure which Panini defined. While mathematics grew out of philosophy in ancient Greece, it was a fruit of linguistic developments in India.

It is consistent with a systems viewpoint to consider Panini as the forerunner of the modern formal language theory used to specify computer languages.

As reported in Barron's, Financial Maverick Baruch Lev [3] vigorously promotes restructuring our accounting standards to reflect the investment of time, talent and treasure more equally. Rules generally followed for the past 500 years closely track the controlled expenditure of capital goods, while ignoring the impact of "human capital" in creativity and intellectual property, such as more efficient build-to-order systems, where Dell Computer transformed a fast-food "have it your way" slogan into a billion dollar business, and the time to market advantages of a truly cross-platform productivity solution from Sun Microsystems called Java. Hmmm... Anyone for a cup of Coffee?

1.  University of St. Andrew's Mathematical Biography Series: Luca Pacioli
2. University of St. Andrew's Mathematical Biography Series: Panini
3. Barrons: The New Math, Why an accounting guru wants to shake up some basic tenants of his profession

The 3rd Dimension is Product/Process Improvement…  


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