Thursday, January 15, 2004

Financialisation and Formalisation

Picking up on Aidan's posting "So what is the threat?", I see a good connection here with Bill's work as an engineer. Engineering combines creativity with the use of rigorous measurement and mathematical technique.

The success of engineering shows that there is no necessary contradiction between creativity and rigour, whereas the financialisation and formalisation which Aidan describes is perceived as a dead hand which oppresses those who are committed to getting their work done in a professional manner. Everyone who cares about their work perceives these two factors as increasing their stress levels, and forcing them to waste a major proportion of their time on meaningless form-filling.

Meeting tighter corporate governance standards is perceived as a bureacratic burden of "red tape" which will undermine competitiveness and flexibility.

It seems to me that the real issue has been misunderstood here. There is no reason why regulation should impose any kind of burden on anyone. The real problem is that people do not understand how to design measures properly, or how to monitor compliance in a non-intrusive manner.

All this stuff is actually well understood by any engineer who has been trained in control theory. However, the knowledge of these matters has not reached the "experts" in management, finance and economics.

This is why Bill's materials are so good - he is bringing the fruits of engineering expertise into the domain of "management", where they are desperately needed.