Mission Impossible?

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Deepa Krishnamurthy

(Editor’s note: We are pleased to welcome back Deepa Krishnamurthy as INDIA New England News columnist. She wrote a very popular column for our newspaper about 12 years ago.)

By Deepa Krishnamurthy

Since the beginning of this millennium, we have seen the impact of globalization, technology, connectivity, shifting social norms and belief systems and transformation in demographic composition on macro-economic outcomes and societal attitudes. These changes have been both subtle and seismic. The impact has been gradual and is growing. Mathematics and logic had successfully come up with models for parsing risk but volatility caused by these changes remain the uncharted territory.

We use new words and jargon to make sense of our complex world – like the unifying power of the flat world; the impact of the long tail on business formation and satisfaction of bespoke demand; the power of platforms as innovation ecosystems or marketplaces or as birthplaces for divisive echo chambers; central bank intervention as the cure-all for global economic glut or the cause for asset price bubbles and finally, the unpredictability of black swan events. Economic and societal impact of debates on climate change or on the inequality of wealth, income and most importantly opportunity; cyber risk, falling birth rates, longevity gains, contagion from pathogens, data as the currency and privacy as the price are harder to predict and parse.

Deepa Krishnamurthy

Media is how most us were informed. That too has been disrupted. Access to credible factual information without the lure of headlines and soundbites slanted by strong opinions or personal agendas is hard or elusive. The deluge of content tends to confuse and confound. It is overwhelming and at times even offensive to sensibilities.

Even as political debates on many matters start off in this election year while a virulent contagion with pandemic potential is worked on being tamed, we don’t quite know if we are at the edge of an apocalypse or at the birth of a renaissance.

As a citizen with a global view who cares about facts and issues and as a woman in business, I wish to point you to a series of very well-researched pieces of writing from specialists and thinkers outside of the immediate mainstream media and spotlight. I chanced upon these in my pursuit of information. These are trail blazing thought leaders who have taken the time to be measured and reflective. They have not fallen prey to the proclivity towards brevity as the compassionate response towards a distracted diaspora. They seem to reject the need to pursue précis over precision in thinking. They challenge our intellect, they open our minds, express their thoughts fearlessly and make us think.

This long read recommendation is author Lina Khan on the subject of anti-trust, technology and commerce on platforms. She has published two papers of great quality and interest. Here is the first one from a couple of years ago. It seemed topical as the voices and opinions on anti-trust in technology grow strident.

https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5785&context=ylj

This is not my personal opinion piece nor a pulpit from which to express my views. Those are outside the scope of this writing and beyond the purpose of this endeavor. This is merely to inform those who may be interested and to encourage deliberation, debate and pursuit of all facts and information for articulating an informed opinion and to aid in decision making or in taking a stance.

In this seemingly fast paced world with an excess of information and data, access to or articulation of actionable intelligence is challenging and near impossible. As humans, it is only natural that we seek to simplify. Poker-like approach is definitely efficient – where we have to make split second bets and choices without all the facts and with quick math and gut. Fortunately, life is usually long and also complex and we humans are incredibly resilient. For matters with broad systemic implications and potential multi-generational consequence, Chess with its deliberative thought and strategy may be a better inspiration and metaphor. It could also be very effective. As always, it is a delicate balance between these opposing forces.

(Deepa Krishnamurthy is Chief Operating Officer/ Chief Financial Officer at Linear Retail Properties.)

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