Saturday, March 6, 2010

The problem of education ... US society cannot afford it!

Dear Colleagues

I was pointed to this article about student protests in California The issues they are facing are serious ... but the problem has been a very long time in the making. I wrote the following comment:
Dear Colleagues

While I agree with the students that the situation stinks ... why did the situation get this way?

For all my adult life (50 years or so) the decision makers have done "easy" things and "profitable" things but rarely the difficult. The underlying "value" dimension of decisions has not been in the conversation. It is a disgrace ... and the academic and intellectual community must take some considerable part of the blame.

Accountancy is a failed profession. The world's numbers are not making much sense because so much of the reporting is now governed by rules that report what the law makers wanted and not what is reality. The great corporate and banking failures is a failure that starts with greed, but ends up with a failed professional community and a failed intellectual community.

The idea that a State the size of California is working on a cash based accounting system is ridiculous ... not to mention all the government on the planet except one or two ... and major public entities like transport systems. This is another example of professional and intellectual failure. Without a balance sheet it is difficult to relate the operating numbers to the underlying assets that are being (or should be) maintained!

And the foolishness of the GDP growth metric ... what has the cost of health care got to do with "product"? Product is good health ... but that is never valued in a quantitative way though I would argue that good health is pretty valuable.

Until we get metrics right ... we will get decisions wrong.

My generation of leaders first consumed all the value of prior generations ... and then they started to consume the future that ought to be the legacy of any generation, not a liability. Shame on the decision makes of the present and the past 40 years.

Lets get a serious conversation going ... and then get some serious upgrading of the process that determines what the future is going to be like!

Peter Burgess
Community Analytics (CA)

Until there is a widespread recognition that profit reporting without value reporting ... that is impact on society ... there will be bad decisions for society, we will continue to head down a road to economic disaster. We have gone a long way down this road, but it is not too late.

One critical thing that people have got to take into consideration is that most systems do not work with straight line relationships ... everything is exponential. When things get really out of control, it is very difficult to sort them out. The bail out at the end of 2008 early 2009 was big ... but maybe not yet the "big one".

Let's make some progress to change the metrics

Peter Burgess
Community Analytics (CA)

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