Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where is the stimulus impact ... are there any metrics that will ever show this?

Dear Colleagues

I have seen some statistics about stimulus following the Bush era financial meltdown. I liked the article ... but I sense that the data were not very solid. They reported that China was spending the most, followed by the USA with an amount of $112 billion. The allocation of this money is 32% to energy efficiency ... with 29% to renewables.

But what am I seeing on the ground? I have traveled quite extensively and seen very little. The same goes for other friends and colleagues. I am not at all sure why this is! With these sorts of numbers I would expect to be seeing a lot more activity and jobs, but I am afraid the program has become like so many Washington centric initiatives, merely money for insiders and rather little for the economy as a whole.

I would like to see a jobs analysis ... by work classification and by location (preferably at the community level) and my guess is that there has been more money spent on studying the problem and doing the legal paperwork than actually doing the physical work.

There is a need for jobs ... and there is a need for more energy effectiveness. Courtesy of Washington there is funding ... but the actual mechanism to put need for jobs and need for energy initiatives together using the money seems to be impossible with the present structure of socio-economic organization ... and no measures to help pull the elements together.

When I listen in on the dialog around the capital markets courtesy of Bloomberg I am appalled at the disconnect that exists between the markets, the data, the dialog and the reality.

My expertise, such as it is, is in the area of data and metrics. The data and metrics being used at this point in history are fatally flawed. The corporate reporting uses profit measurements and that is about all ... and the economics are all sorts of statistics that relate to the components that make up GDP and are indicators of the possibility of GDP growth. Most of the data are based on small samples and sophisticated statistical manipulation that I do not trust. In the end there are numbers that represent not very much.

I argue that society needs a new system of meaningful metrics so that needs and resources pulled together to get the best possible outcomes. Every community has data ... but these data are not driving decisions and they should be. TheBurgessMethod aims to have profit and value equally important and available about community performance as well as organization or project performance. Value ... quality of life ... is a way more important metric for our society than what we have at the moment.


Peter Burgess

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