Monday, April 30, 2012

King Cotton reprised: The End of the Uncle Sam Brand as a Universal Currency

I really hope that Mit Romney and the Republicans win the next Presidential election. That way when the fruits of years of the excesses of Republican Presidents (Bush I & II notably) come to fruition (around 60% of the current $14,300B public debt), the general public, and GoP voters in particular, will not be able to easily pin the blame on Obama.

The point about "discontinuities" is they are disruptive events that happen very quickly and to most, without appreciable warning. Think the fall of the Berlin Wall at the end of 1989 and the dissolution of the USSR and Communist Eastern Bloc shortly afterwards.

It is more than likely that the USA is now heading to its own economic "discontinuity", a reprise of the Confederate States discovering that "King Cotton" wasn't a match for the manufacturing power of the Northern states Union.

I've only recently become aware that oil transactions are increasingly being done outside US Dollars. A random selection of articles returned by a quick Google search:
Jan 2012, India transacting with Iran,
Jan 2011, The dominant dollar no more by US economics professor,
Mar 2012, The Renminbi  as Reserve Currency (+ part 2)

The accounting definition of money is "a unit of exchange", it is the basic building block of commerce and trade. But only if both sides of a transaction put the same value on it and it is liquid and holds its value with others.

For international trade to work, there has to be a common unit of exchange: a currency benchmark against which everyone sets their exchange rate and in which markets set prices for traded commodities and goods.

Once the world rested its trade on "the gold standard", but when the fiction evaporated that every dollar printed was backed by a unique piece of gold in a vault somewhere, the world moved to paper currency, eventually the US Dollar assumed the role of the world's common or reserve currency.

What happens to the US economy and Government budgets when they can't raise loans for the current 40% of the budget not covered by taxes?  If the US currency does lose its universal trade currency status and its "AAA" credit rating, the cost of money (interest on loans) will suddenly rise, throwing further strain on the US Government budget.

Can the USA survive its 16% of GDP spend on Healthcare? What happens as this rises 40-50% with the ageing of the Baby Boomers and their end-of-life care needs funding?

01-May-2012: Alan Kohler provided a chart, sourced from the UN 2010/11, of global Military spending.
The USA, at ~$700B, spends 43% of Global military spending.
China is next at $120B with UK, France and Russia around $60B each and Japan around $55B.

Since 1961 when Eisenhower coined the term "military-industrial complex", the USA has been committed to a very large military budget, and in the way of things bureaucratic, it rarely falls.
Will they ever be able to reign in their Military spending? How quickly can they do that? The tap cannot be shut-off quickly...
What will the Government decide to de-prioritise if they are forced to reduce their expenditures?
More importantly, how will the electorate act?
[end 01-May]

When, not if, the Uncle Sam Brand loses its special status as the global currency of trade and settlement, for the first time the automatic economic system re-balancing mechanism, falling exchange rates, will kick in. This won't be any gentle or leisurely correction. Once it starts, it will feed on itself into an avalanche, which must of necessity, overshoot on the first round.

What happens to the collective psyche of American Business and the public when they discover the true worth of their goods and services?  It will be a crushing blow, but one that many sectors and individuals will respond to with vigour and enthusiasm: America earned its place as a super-power and traces of that same energy, drive and capability remain.

This won't be pretty to watch, let alone be a part of.
And those most affected, the almost two decades worth of Baby Boomers, who will have their retirement plans destroyed and most basic needs like healthcare put in jeopardy, how will they react?

These are the same generation that din't just opposed the Vietnam War, they flooded into the streets and demonstrated. Many liked to "stick it to The Man" and to actively voice their discontent.

How will they react when told they have to pay for the excesses of the top 1% and a very cosy relationship between the Republicans, the wealthy and the Big End of Town?
Especially now that they have a lot more experience and a set of very powerful tools in the Internet?

I've no idea of estimating the When or How Deep of a crash like this.
Nor do I know how I'd survive in such a scenario - obviously with a very cheap US Dollar, it will become a prime travel destination.

But the really important thing I've not got a clue about: How can I make money from this insight?

It's not enough to "have a good idea", but to be taken seriously, you've got to back your hunches with cold hard cash...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Root cause of the GFC: systemic failure in fiduciary trust/duty

Watching a Lateline interview with a British politician last night on the British Leveson Inquiry into the behaviour of the Murdoch media, crystallised my thinking on the root cause of the GFC:
A systemic failure in both fiduciary duty in the global financial community and a concomitant failure in governance and oversight by the regulators, public service and politicians.

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines "Fiduciary" as:
involving trust, esp. with regard to the relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary
Princeton's Wordnet defines "Fiduciary Duty" as:
the legal duty of a fiduciary to act in the best interests of the beneficiary.

The critical piece for me in the Lateline interview was that the politicians driving one of the most important Inquiries in recent times let their personal fears override their duties as representatives of the Public:
... Rebekah Brooks [chief executive], who rejected our invitation [to give evidence] on three occasions ... but the committee then decided not to invite Rebekah Brooks, [seen as surprising] ... And I think it is very clear now that the individual fears that committee members felt led to them ... basically losing the will to do that.
The GFC did not arrive unheralded nor without the involvement of many actors through the whole investment "food-chain".

  • The front-line sellers of retail "sub-prime" loans that lied, deceived and failed to disclose to victims what they were actually buying, especially A.R.M.'s (Automatically Resetting Mortgages: a low-rate "honeymoon" period (2-3%?) before repayments were increased to the underlying rate (12-15%?).
  • The churning of these sub-prime loans as if they were prime-quality loans by Banks through the Mortgage Underwriting houses, Freddie Mac and Fannie May and those underwriters accepting high-risk loans as low-risk.
  • The "repackaging" of sub-prime loans from the Mortgage Underwriters as CDO's (Collateralised Debt Obligations) without fully disclosing or properly insuring the embedded risk, instead using CDS's (Credit Default Swaps).
  • The complete operational failure and dereliction of duty by all Ratings Agencies in declaring these packaged "toxic loans" in CDO's backed by CDS's to be the lowest risk asset possible, AAA-rating.
  • The relentless, high-pressure wie-spread sales of these complex instruments to inappropriate and uninformed consumers, with extraordinary levels of deception, misleading statements and since documented, complete fabrication and wilful dissembling (lying).

But it could only have happened if there was not only widespread failure of agents Fiduciary Duty to investors, but also criminal behaviour.
There were a slew of interlocking system failures that were necessary to translate the "zero-cost" money being thrown around by the US Federal Reserve into systemic rorting (fraudulent gaming of the system) - and none of them was ethical, moral or legal.

The GFC was fuelled by an seemingly infinite pool of zero-cost money being used to "stimulate" the US economy after the "Dot Boom" became the "Dot Bust" circa 2000.

There were many schemes to take this money and convert it into "high return, safe vehicles".
The contradiction inherent, returns are the inverse of safety (higher rates of return compensate for higher risk), went unnoticed, unchallenged and generally uncommented, except towards the inevitable collapse.

Yet, despite, the massive consequences of the GFC, the "socialisation" of the crystallised losses, which for decades will haunt the mug punters, or average taxpayers paying for these bailouts through their governments, nothing has substantially changed. More importantly, almost nobody has gone to jail.

Many banks and financial institutions declared record profits (and hence record internal bonuses), the year after they were bailed-out by the very people they were again relentlessly gouging - the average taxpayer.

There is a fundamental inversion at work in the financial and managerial world that the regulators and legislators have been ignoring for the last 30-40 years:

  • CEO's and fund-managers/investment advisors want all the upside of ownership, and none of the downside. They want a large fraction of any gains when the market goes up, and suffer nothing when it goes down. They can bankrupt a company an/or destroy all your investment, and still demand a bonus, let alone compensate the owners for their reckless, irresponsible behaviour.
  • Institutional Investors, in the form of Banks, Insurance companies, Retirement Funds/Investment houses give their small, anonymous investors all the downside of ownership and little or none of the upside. Risk is transferred from the Institution to the Individual investors, while they retain all or most of the benefits when the markets improve. The small investor, often forced into compulsory investment, takes all the losses of the gambles and speculation by the Institution, whilst being charged a fixed percentage of their assets and a proportion of "excess gains".
This state of affairs is consistent with the causation of the GFC and stems from a very simple thing:
Politicians, and hence Regulators and Government Bureaucrats, confuse CEO's and Institutional Investors with Owners, when they are merely employees or agents.
How I can prove these assertions:

  • The GFC was inevitable from the documents released or surfacing afterwards.
  • CEO, 'senior management' and Board salaries have spiralled upwards at a compound rate of 30%pa since ~1975, without any comment, constraint or Inquires by Governments worldwide.
    •  while real wages of employees have remained static or declined since ~1985, and
    • "big business" especially continues it outrageous calls for "more flexible working arrangements" from those employees to "lower costs" and "increase productivity" when decades of decline in real wages show that none of the savings and improved profits are passed onto those long-sufferring employees.
  • Institutional Investors and Governments still pass wide-scale losses onto the general public, who were not responsible for the decisions, had no control and no 'internal information'.
  • The unemployment rate is most countries is (very) high, but those people out of work, receiving lower "benefits" and paying higher taxes are exactly not the people who created the GFC.

Then there are the many studies into "Mergers and Acquisitions" of large, publicly owned companies.
They all say the same thing, despite the very expensive and detailed "Due Diligence" processes, the vast majority of Mergers not only fail to create value, they destroy substantial amounts of owner value, which is ultimately the small, anonymous investors funding Institutional Investors.

A case in point from my field (I.T.):
Unisys (UIS): Formed from the 1986 merger of Burroughs and Sperry/Univac (numbers 2 and 3 in turnover and CapEx behind IBM), not only never became #1, but has declined four-fold in share value and declined from $10.5B revenue/year and 120,000 employees to $5Bn/year and 30,000 employees in 2010.
It was never going to be a good idea due to the radically different, and incompatible, corporate cultures and that there were no great synergies in their product lines, rather the reverse, they were direct competitors in most of their markets.

Yet the deal was struck and The Great New Giant Company was formed.
Within two years, the extent and scale of value destruction to both brands was obvious, and in a rational world would've been cause for a rapid demerger and unwinding of the still incomplete "integration".

Yet this didn't happen. The Board, the CEO and all the "management team" kept resolutely destroying the company. Now, decades on, it is a mere shell of its former self, and both brands struggle. Both organisations were successful, growing and sound before the merger. The market or "externalities" didn't change significantly at the time, rather the reverse, IBM grew its business very well for the next 5 years.

At the very least, the CEO and senior management team should've been placed "on notice" by the Board at the end of the first year when they comprehensively missed all their targets, and summarily sacked after the second year when the value destruction and failure to grow was incontrovertible.

Why didn't this happen, and why wasn't the Board sacked for a gross dereliction of duty? Institutional Investors are the majority shareholders and have a general policy of "we don't interfere". It's almost like they don't care about protecting their small, anonymous contributors from the downside...

Those who caused all this carnage at Unisys, the active destruction of shareholder value and the massive opportunity losses from both brands failing to keep growing, have never been held to account or suffered dire economic or civil penalties for their actions and inaction.

The resulting questions are:

  • Who pursued and benefited from the Merger? Presumably the two Boards, CEO's and combined "senior management team". Those who stayed got bigger salaries and bonuses, those who left got their "golden parachutes" (outrageously generous severance packages unavailable to the rank-and-file workforce).
  • Why was this massive market failure not investigated nor pursued by Regulators and Legislators? I guess because nobody that mattered complained. No Institutional Investor would complain ("we're uninvolved"), nor did they act on behalf of their plethora of small investors, rather handing them back a slightly smaller dividend without explanation.
It seems that Politicians, those we have elected to represent us against the more powerful, have become the captives of Big Business (CEO's and Boards) and servants of Media.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Management with Measurement: Inputs

"Management by Numbers" is seriously deficient as it focuses on a single dimension of a very complex multi-dimensional task. "numbers" are a necessary but far from complete aspect of the job. Some might say skills in "handling people" are much higher priority.

This stems from the rule of management: we only have managers if there is too much work for a single person.

In 1916 Henri Fayol laid out the dimensions as he saw them:
To manage is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control.
Max Wideman uses "Plan, Organize, Execute, Monitor and Control" for Project Management [uncertain of the source].

"Management with Measurement" seems a much closer fit to what I'm trying to describe.

Why start here?
There are a number of measures that require a common element, Inputs:
  • Productivity: Output / Hours Input
  • Efficiency: Outputs / Total Inputs
  • Effectiveness: Realised Benefit / Total Inputs
I've not seen Management or Cost Accounting methods to determine the input overheads incurred with Management. The total cost to the organisation of all managers.

First-line staff productivity, without the overheads of the management process and costs, are more indicative of workplace improvements.

As an investor, I'd like to be able to compare across companies their efficiency and effectiveness of management.
In the Public Sector, outputs and realised benefits are more nebulous ("one good policy a year per department"?), but inputs can be accurately measured and reported. Differences can then be explored.
In the Not For Profit sector, all overheads are critical, none more so than paying non-productive free-riders, and of real interest to many stakeholders: financial supporters, volunteers and the Board.

What types of employees are there?
  • First-line employees: No reports, directly contribute to goods/services produced. Notionally 100% of time is "direct production".
  • Leading Hands, Team Leaders: Have reports, but limited authority to direct them. Directly contribute to goods/services produced. Notionally near 100% of time is "direct production", so are counted as "first-line" employees.
  • Supervisors: Reports are First-line employees or Team Leaders. Less than 25% of time is "direct production".
  • Managers: Reports are Supervisors or Managers. Less than 5% of time is "direct production".
  • Top-line Manager: Those managers who do not report to another manager within the organisation or organisational-unit. This definition includes "co-owners" or "co-CEO's".
  • Owners: When the owner works in the business above the first-line, they will be counted as a supervisor, manager, or when the entity is large enough, as the Top-line manager, unless organised otherwise.
  • Boards: These are regarded as external to the entity. Directors, owners and managers (like the CEO), who sit on the board and work in the business are counted within the business.
  • Double-counting: No individual can be counted more than once. Each must be categorised into exactly one category per report. Internal consistency requires that organisations define a single set of classification rules that can be applied across the whole organisation, and is very infrequently changed.
  • Lowest-level Principle: Those who can be classified at multiple-levels, like an owner/manager, should be classified at the lowest level. An owner/manager with one employee might consider themselves Top-line Manager, Manager and Supervisor, but they can only count classify themselves at their lowest authority level: supervisor.
Figures of Merit:
  • Definitions:
    • W: Size of First-line workforce.
    • S: Size of supervisory workforce.
    • M: Size of managerial workforce, including supervisors.
  • Fan-out: the mean number of reports. Three figures reported:
    • FS: Supervisors (a whole number, not fractional). Sum of all first-line employees / sum of all supervisors.
    • FM: Managers (fractional). Mean of reports per manager, for all managers.
    • FT: Top-line manager (whole number). number of managers irectly reporting to the top manager.
  • Hierarchy Depth:
    • D: The mean of 'Depth': For each First-line employee, the number of people above them in the management chain to the CEO. Only count one path in "matrix" style organisation.
  • Management Burden:
    • B: The percentage of salaries and staff benefits paid to management.
These metrics also usefully apply to each Organisational Unit within an Organisation.
ie. Reporting for each Division and every Department, down to work-group level, will be useful for Organisations. Both for comparing the effectiveness/efficiency of the Management Process, but also for highlighting differences in the underlying task difficulty across the Enterprise. For a mining company, digging operations will have a different 'fingerprint' than Commercial and Planning departments.

For Public Service and Not-for-Profit organisations, drilling down, and especially reporting Management Burden, will be very useful to stakeholders, internal and external, to assess the organisation and Management Processes.

The 3-part Fan-out should always be reported/written with Hierarchy Depth: [FS/FM/FT/, D].
Eg: [12/3.5/6, 7.25]
Calculating Workforce size:

For the organisation, [12/3.5/6, 7.25]:
  • total supervisory and management staff = management fan-out raised to the power of managerial hierarchy depth. (M = FMD-1 + FT).
    • M = 3.57.25-1 + 6 = 3.56.25 + 6 = 2514 + 6 = 2520.
  • approximate supervisory staff = management staff divided by management fan-out. (S = M/FM).
    • S = 2520 / 3.5 = 720
  • total first-line staff = supervisory staff times the supervisory fan-out. (W = S * FS)
    • W = 720 * 12 = 8640
  • The first-line to management staff ratio ( 8640 to 2520, or 22.6% mgt of 11,160) can be calculated, but the management burden as a proportion of salaries/wages cannot be derived.
Note: Because summary statistics are reported and are all that is necessary for good comparisons, exact headcount/FTE's cannot be derived from the metric. In special circumstances, discussed below, exact numbers might be added to the metric.

FTE vs Headcount?

The Hierarchy Depth must be reported in Headcount, not FTE.
But both numbers are meaningful for Fan-out and I don't have a preference,

Presumably, nearly all managers and most supervisors will be permanent employees, so in the pyramid above the first-line, FTE and Headcount are identical.

In workforces with a high proportion of casual labour, like large retail operations, headcount must be reported not FTE, to get a true picture.

An 'F' could be added to the supervisory fan-out for clarification. eg: [5F/3.5/6, 7.25], For enterprises which feel both numbers are needed for a true picture, the supervisory fan-out in terms of Headcount should be written first. viz: [(12, 5F)/3.5/6, 7.25]

Smaller Enterprises, Depth less than 3

Why is a Depth of 3 interesting?
It is the first level at which managers report to managers and the top-line manager only has managers reporting to them.
  • For an owner/operator enterprise, the depth, 'those above first-line', is zero. viz: [0/0/0, 0].
  • When a business gets its first employee and the owner becomes a supervisor, the depth is 1. viz: [1/0/0, 1]
  • As the business expands, leading hands or team leaders are hired. The owner is still a supervisor and the depth is 1. An owner with a staff of 15, including leading hands is: [15/0/0, 1]
  • The next breakpoint, is the hiring of the first supervisor (as distinct from team leaders). The owner is now a manager. The depth is 2. At this point, good businesses will have appointed, even if not listed companies, a board to advise them and to provide some external review, feedback and accountability to the owners. Avoiding double-counting, a single-owner business with 4 supervisors and 32 staff would be: [8/4/0, 2]
  • After the next step, managers reporting to managers, all business are equal under this model. viz [8/3.5/6, 4] and [(12, 5F)/3.5/6, 7.25] tell an investor, stakeholder or manager that both organisations have similar management processes and overheads but one has a much higher part-time casual workforce.
When a business has co-owners and no supervisors (and hence no managers), the fan-out for supervisors, managers and top-line manager should be written as 0.
Eg: [0/0/0, 0]
When a business has an owner(s), no employed supervisors and no managers, the fan-out for managers and top-line manager should be written as 0 due to the lowest-level principle. As discussed below, the first-line workforce size cannot be uniquely calculated, because the effective supervisory staff, the owners, isn't specified. The metric is ambiguous in these cases:
Eg: [(12, 5F)/0/0, 1] could describe an organisation with one owner and head-count 12, or two owners and head-count of 24.
Metric Deficiency: Workforce size for small organisations and exact Supervisor Count.

The proposed metric does not inform interested parties of the total headcount or FTE of first-line staff an organisation, only summary statistics of management. First-line staff numbers could be added as a preceding term when the organisation is small. For larger organisations, management and first-line staff numbers can be computed from the metric.
Eg: [(12, 5F), (12, 5F)/0/0, 1] or [(24, 10F), (12, 5F)/0/0, 1] to disambiguate the one or two owner example.
And for a large organisation with a large casual workforce:
[(12,500, 6150F), (12, 5F)/3.5/6, 7.25]


The Fan-out and Depth figures can be used to accurately define "Small", "Medium" and "Large" enterprises. The ATO defines a small business as having an aggregate turnover of under $2million a year, and everything else by default, is "large". There is another break-point at $20million/year, where taxes must be paid monthly, suggesting that "medium" sized entities have turnover between $2- and $20-million/year.

At the average weekly wage and with 25% on-costs and staff costs of 50%, $2-million/year is currently 10-15 FTE's.

The US SBA (Small Business Administration) defines 'small' as under 500 (local) employees. Any entity larger is a "large" business.

Company size definitions:
  • Micro-Business: less than [0.5F/0/0, 0]
  • Small Business: up to [20F/0/0, 1] and for low-intentsity manufacturing [100/0/0, 1]
  • Large Business: over [500F, s/x/y, z], where x and y greater 0, and z greater 4.
  • Medium Business: [10-500F, s/x/y, z], where x greater than 0.

Examples of Management Burden

The cost of managers is related to two things:
  • the "fan-out". The number of people that report to a manager.
  • the hierarchical multiplier. For each level increase in the hierarchy, what's the percentage increase in salary, assuming a constant multiplier?
The fan-out cannot be under two.
For that to be true, at least one manager has a direct-report count of 1, which violates a basic rule:
We have managers because there is too much work for one person to do.
I expect fan-out and hierarchical multiplier to be related: a larger multiplier if there are more reports.

Using Telstra as a rough model:
  • There are ~30,000 (216) employees.
  • Front-line staff are paid ~$40,000, and, in the days of Sol Trujillo, the CEO got ~$10M, or 256 (28) times the average front-line staff wage.
If there was a fan-out of 2, there'd be 15 levels of hierarchy and 50% of the workforce would be first-line and 50% management and supervisors.

Lets say it was 16 levels, so for every two levels of hierarchy, pay is doubled.
Each level would have a 1.414 (square-root 2) multiplier.

The table below contains some examples of Management Burden, B. In a real organisation with access to the accounting system, B would be calculated, not estimated like this.

The assumptions made in this example:
  • 'Fairness' and consistency in apportioning the wage differential between every level of management, from supervisors to Top-line manager.
  • More realistically, the gap between first-level employees and supervisors will be smaller than the gaps between management levels, as well as the supervisory fan-out, FS, will be larger.
  • "the senior management team", the Top-line manager and their direct reports, are likely to be on their own payscale.
  • The effects of FT, and difference to, FM are ignored.
  • W = first-line workforce
  • M = managerial workforce
  • W + M = total workforce
  • FM = Fan-out of management
  • D = Hierarchical Depth, layers above first-line employees.
  • Max Wage Ratio = ratio of highest wage (CEO) to average first-line wage
  • Hierarchical wages multiplier = assumed fair multiplier between each level of management.
  • Avg Wage mult = Average (mean) wage of enterprise, as a multiple of average first-line wage.
  • Wages multiplier = Total wages as a number of multiples of first-line wages.
  • Mgt Burden = Management Burden, management wages as a percentage of total staff costs.

Management Burden with varying Maximum Wage Ratios



16,38432,7672.014 128 1.414 1.698 3.395 70.54 %

16,38432,7672.014 32 1.281 1.389 2.778 64.00 %
16,38432,7672.014 256 1.486 1.923 3.846 74.00 %
16,38432,7672.014 1024 1.641 2.640 5.281 81.06 %

16,38421,8454.07 32 1.641 1.271 1.694 40.96 %
16,38421,8454.07 256 2.208 1.666 2.213 54.81 %
16,38421,8454.07 1024 2.692 2.197 2.929 65.86 %

32,76837,4498.05 32 2 1.167 1.333 24.98 %
32,76837,4498.05 256 3.031 1.405 1.605 37.7 %
32,76837,4498.05 1024 4 1.723 1.969 49.21 %


The Wage Ratios chosen are indicative of:
  • 32 = pre-1980
  • 256 = a typical current multiple
  • 1024 = high current multiple, but not extreme.

The worst case, giving both the maximum Hierarchical Depth and highest numbers of managers is with the lowest possible fan-out number, FM = 2.

Organisations with higher Depth have slower lines of communication and more players involved in every decision and report. This was the observation behind the 1980's push to "flatten the organisation".

The management burden reduces considerably with a flattening of the hierarchy, with high management fan-outs. I would expect high fan-outs would only be possible with more routine operations. Organisations with complex, highly variable tasks require more communications in all directions and more management action, causing managerial workloads to quickly increase and hence obtainable fan-outs to decrease.

Whilst the Average Wage multiplier might seem modest, say the middle entry (FM = 4, D = 7, Ratio = 32), with the organisation's wage being 27% higher than the first-line average wage (eg. $40,000 and ~$60,000), the wages paid to management are a significant proportion of total wages: 41%, quickly rising to be two-thirds of total wages, for no direct contribution to output.

For investors and prospective purchasers of organisations, the management fan-out and management burden provide a new insight into where input costs arise and how gross productivity is effected by them.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A balanced post on the EBM vs Alt.Med Debate.

[Post moved to other blog.]

I thought this article balanced and informative. I liked the stated intent "moving beyond virulence" in the title. Of course, Doctors and Friends against Alt.Med did their usual scorn and bile attack in the comments.

"Evidence-based medicine v alternative therapies: moving beyond virulence", 23-March-2012.

Main arguments:
  • The absent patient
  • Lack of critical reflection (on philosophies of health and the politics of medicine)
  • Evidence-based medicine (the critical analysis of EBM)
There is a long comment by 'Anne Cooper', Osteopath, that I thought was good. [click on "show full comment" to see it all]
Her ending is very strong:
So instead of the FoS attempting to take a high moral ground, and at the same time appropriating the term ‘medicine’ (not to mention the title ‘Dr’), perhaps it could instead lobby for funded, high quality research that will enlighten us all as to why these unsubsidised therapies are able to attract and treat so many hundreds of thousands of Australians every day. Now that would be useful. Failing that, their campaign looks to be little more than a turf war.