This week’s conversation likens James Madison’s work prior to the US Constitutional Convention to some of my work on financial systems.
In 1786 Mr. Madison spent perhaps four months preparing for the US Constitutional Convention by reading numerous books about differing forms of government. On a recent visit to his home, I asked a docent at his library what that had done. She explained that he was not the most eloquent speaker at the convention, not the best known, or most influential. But there was not a delegate there which doubted he understood why the existing Articles of Confederation were inadequate to the problems facing the colonies. That confidence in his knowledge allow him to convince them to move forward on something new.
Although my work is not as far reaching as Mr. Madison’s, I wish I could convince more people that our current financial systems are inadequate to many of our society needs for financial data.
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We need greater transparency. Although our financial systems are incredibly efficient, there is still great costs incurred to record transactions, and analyze positions, and maintain accurate financial data. There are ways of driving down costs, of making positions more clear, of measuring impacts of actions over time, of understanding our world more fully.
But they can’t be done with the systems we have in place. New financial systems are required. I am convinced of that, and wish to convince others that is possible as well.
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