At some stage in life we relish the crisp feeling of a freshly ironed garment, a new shirt, a snappy suit or formal attire for that special occasion. During such occasions or be it frequently for those more fashion conscious, it is inevitable fashions sway our choice. Fashions and tastes repeat in all walks of life, whether spiritual or secular,since even those most sacred ideas will eventually be jettisoned or rebirthed to reflect changing ideas.As we add new rules we dismantle the old ones to leave the only certainty, which is change.
Take poetry for example. Those elaborate rhyming masterpieces have given way to modern free verse.The rules for free verse (if there are any) are only described in such subjective terms that only the finest distinction exists between a highly abbreviated short story and free verse poetry. Rhyming poets convert their poems to free verse to be fashionably commercial- if they want to be considered for publishing. Rhyming poetry is now mostly confined to greeting and Christmas cards. Rhyming is thought to undermine a poet’s freedom to create clarity and purpose. Will rhymed poetry ever come back into fashion? -Maybe!!
Music is another entering new cycles. Most types conform to mathematical intervals as anyone with an ear will attest. Try singing or playing a musical instrument off its designated musical key signature and what you hear is very unpleasant. But contemporary modern music is experimenting with discordant sounds to create for its listener a new experience. As you listen to it, it can grow on you and so you get used to it; although to my ear it will never replace the more traditional music. But what was once fashionable in everyday popular music has also changed enormously from the days when you sang along with the latest hit record. It has become more fashionable to choose your own genre and be entertained with its many different facets. I am yet to meet anyone who claims to like all the different styles such as classical, opera & operetta, Gilbert & Sullivan, choral, lieder, pop, musical theatre, jazz, folk, rap, hip hop,soul,baroque,classic rock, heavy metal, punk rock and country or blues. Interestingly enough classical music and opera has increasingly entered our daily lives in unexpected fashionable ways: cartoons, movies, advertisements and on TV shows. Classical themes help create an emotional mood to prompt an audience to be in a more receptive state of mind to the words and images.I think it will become even more fashionable to link music to your presentations and to choose that genre which best represents words and images.
It has become fashionable to suggest that a new model is required in economics because of the failure to predict or prevent the current economic crisis. But thinking in economics is paramount since economics is unlike Science which can perform repeated scientific experiments within a controlled laboratory to prove causation. Economics studies society in the raw whilst it is in a state of flux experiencing changing fashions and technology.It aims for the best model in the interests of the public good. It started out with Adam Smith’s idea that the invisible hand of the market provided what was needed in spontaneity and natural restoration. John Keynes’s mathematical modeling predicated a government’s need to intervene with increased spending measures (creating a budget deficit) and money supply during any downturn and for the reverse to apply during overly expansionary periods. Both measures were demonstrated to restore the economy to its optimum state of equilibrium when demand and supply are in balance.
However he would have assumed governments were net savers during those periods of relative prosperity so that the accumulated surplus was available during an impending downturn.
This theory was further endorsed by acclaimed economist Paul Samuelson whose extensive mathematical modeling further endorsed Keynesian economics. But it was in 1970’s the economist Hyman Minsky further refined Keynesian theories to support intervention in the financial markets. Minsky’s theory was surprisingly simple yet very elegant and influenced by his understanding of human nature. In a nutshell his idea was that as prosperity lengthened over the economic cycle an overly optimistic euphoria inevitably occurs as part of human nature. More and more of a cavalier approach would begin to take hold to ensure aggregated savings dissipated in favour of more risk and debt. This would lead inevitably to a financial crisis unless there is government intervention via the central bank to quell any early signs. Otherwise if unchecked any bubble developing will inevitably burst and reap havoc with accompanying credit tightening as the economy subsequently contracts with all of its ensuing misery.
His ideas necessitated the need for preemptive action to control any tell tale signs of an impending bubble or excesses through regulation to put the spark out before it does too much damage. But his ideas were soon to be out of fashion and his books failed to make the required reading list in the graduate schools. In stark contrast deregulation became the latest fashion that characterized the economic management from the 1980’s and ensured the sub prime fiasco could flourish unhindered. In just the few intervening years immediately prior to the sub prime fiasco twice as many homes were sold in the USA as what averaged the proceeding period.
Given the Minsky model; banks would never have been allowed to become so highly leveraged, to create immense non disclosed off Balance Sheet vehicles, to allow prudential lending standards to be waived and to allow Hedge Funds free reign with immunity from transparency and regulation.
I think it’s time for a fashionable change.