What Is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking focuses on trends that data reveals and then places these trends within the context of a world system model in order to understand where leverage points for changing the behavior of the system might reside. The goal in introducing any change is to create greater resilience and integrity in the system as a whole. Understanding any system’s leverage points and which ones are most likely to create greater integrity in the system, is vital to our ability to live sustainably without crashing and collapsing the Earth’s system. If we don’t achieve this, we threaten the future of our children. Confidence in doing this can come from the creation of a more accurate mental model of how the Earth system actually works. It requires a more complete mental picture of the connections and interdependencies between human population size, energy and its use and pollution/waste.A helpful way to gain an understanding of systems theory is to consider the following example. Are you part of a family? If so, you will know you live within a complicated and delicate web of family relationships. You will also instinctively know that each family member is capable of producing many unintended consequences through their actions that have the capacity to reverberate throughout that family’s “system”. The sheer complexity of the interchanges within that small group perhaps best explains systems thinking.Some of the introductory questions we can ask about the world system, comprising both the natural world and the human world are:
What are the interacting parts and processes of the system that create sustainability or collapse?

What are the right pathways to develop that will create better processes and behavior leading to greater integrity/resiliency within the system?

How can we use our knowledge of the existing system, to consciously create the future we want?
Tempting, as it is to use a reductionist approach to find connections between cause and effects, and to look at things in small and manageable chunks, the systems view operates by setting information and data gathered within a larger framework. Many existing environmental problems are with us because solutions adopted, have not taken into account, or even acknowledged, long-term consequences on a larger group of people.How do we change systems to get less of what we don’t want and more of what we do? This is where an understanding of leverage points in a system becomes important. Leverage points are places within a complex system where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything. We understand intuitively where to find leverage points (for example in our world system, “growth” is a leverage point). However, we often try and push change in the wrong direction. A classic case is the current attempt to increase GDP growth to solve large environmental and social problems when rather, re-imagining different kinds of growth (and new measurements for these) is needed, along with accepting that negative growth in some parts of the system are necessary (for example, fishing exhausted or close to exhausted fish species in the oceans). Our mental model of growth as we now conceive it, is inadequate. Currently population and economic growth have environmental and social costs (poverty, and environmental destruction), which are not factored into classical economics (which limits its focus to economic profit and loss) creating distortion and unexpected consequences in the wider world.We currently problem solve below the level of complexity of the problems we are trying to solve. The human mind while able to understand the movement of behavior through time, prefers to freeze a problem and then dissect it. We approach problems from a linear view and begin to struggle when confronted with complex dynamic behavior that includes more than 2 or 3 dynamic variables. This is why systems constantly surprise us. System thinking tools and computer modeling can help.In systems thinking, we give up assumptions that someone is responsible for the problem encountered. Rather, problems are a result of the structural dynamics and behavior set up by the system itself. Systems thinking is understanding the relationships and patterns between the different components in a network of relationships. While psychologically it is more comfortable to find a scapegoat, no one deliberately creates these problems. They are systems problems. In other words they are undesirable characteristic behaviors produced by the very system structure we have unwittingly put in place. They only yield to change once we ask ourselves the question, what is the system? Once recognizing this, we can begin to look for ways to restructure.

Guide to Investing: Advice on Selecting the Best Type of Investments and Educational Resources

Are you interested in investing but aren’t sure exactly where to start? Or are you someone who already does a bit of buying or trading and want a good, solid guide to investing that will help you make better decisions.It’s important to understand the common strategies, and part of this relies on knowing some of the differences in the asset classes. The term “asset class” simply refers to a group of similar investment types. Some people prefer to stick with one asset class while others are a lot more versatile. Starting out, it might be a good idea to stick with just a few similar investment types within the same asset class, and then consider expanding your portfolio as you get more experienced and knowledgeable.Investment Types to Look ForHere is a quick rundown of the different classes:• Fixed income or debt: The investor lends money to an institution (usually banks) or government and get interest in return. These investment types include CoDs and bonds.• Equities: Actually purchasing shares in something (stocks).• Real estate: Buying, owning, and ultimately selling a physical property when the time is right. You obviously aren’t required to live in or even visit the properties you invest in.• Cash and cash equivalents: The investor puts the money into an interest-paying savings account or trade currencies.• Commodities: Similar to real estate in that you would own physical things, except that it’s a “common” product, item, or resource that many people need, such as precious metals, fossil fuels, food, etc. You are not required to actually have them physically in your possession.• Derivatives such as futures: this means that you own trades themselves (options and futures), and the value of it depends on the underlying asset. This asset class can be complicated, so if you’re interested, you’ll need a detailed guide to investing in them.Guide to Investing in StocksIf you are interested in stocks, then you should join a good newsletter and resource program that offers all of the tools and guides you need for investing in the best stocks. There are a lot of so-called “experts” out there who claim to offer “top stock picks” but they all can’t be right. The REALLY GOOD, legitimate experts don’t give out their picks for nothing. This is why the best newsletters usually require a subscription.The best guide to investing – particularly with a long-term outlook – is Motley Fool. It’s a highly, HIGHLY recommended platform that includes newsletter subscriptions, resources, wealth management tools, and so forth. They are particular known for their top-notch stock picks.

What Makes a Logbook Loan More Suitable Than a Payday Loan?

With the recent economic turmoil in the world, it’s little surprise that many people are struggling to find ways to get cash-in-hand quickly. For this, short-term loans have often fitted the bill perfectly.But as many banks have also been hit by the recession, they are increasingly wary of lending to consumers. As a result individuals are forced to seek alternative means for a cash loan.A market that cropped up to meet this need was the payday loan scheme. However, those that examine the terms and conditions of such loans carefully may in fact notice that a logbook loan is more suited to their needs, and comes with lower risks than a payday loan.What is a Logbook Loan?A logbook loan is a loan granted against your vehicle’s V5 document or “Logbook”. It is an easy method of loan as they do not check credit history. It is generally approved within a day and requires very less paperwork. Though it has a requirement, ie. the vehicle should be finance free and should not be more than 12 -13 years old. Still, it is considered as a better alternative to Payday Loans because of low interest rates and flexible repayment options.Here’s a few reasons that a logbook loan may be the more suitable option: 1. Interest rates are significantly reduced.Although payday loans may seem a quick-fix for cash in hand loan, many individuals fail to consider the high interest rates that such loans come with.Payday loans can sometimes come with APRs topping 4,000%, leaving borrowers paying back a substantially larger sum than they originally borrowed. It does little to help your cash flow stabilize, which is what loans are intended to do! If you don’t repay it quickly, you may find yourself facing a potentially debilitating debt.Logbook loans however, are secured against the worth of the borrower’s car, which generally means that the APRs are far less, meaning it’s a more manageable debt and easier to pay back.2. Potential for larger sums in loansWhile payday loans may hold an appeal in that they require virtually no collateral, leaving it as a no-strings attached type loan, if you already own a vehicle you have a high-value asset in your possession. This asset can be used to help obtain a logbook loan, which then in turn gives you access to a greater potential sum to loan.Although it depends on the value of your vehicle, logbook lenders may offer loans ranging from £200 up to £25,000. It doesn’t matter if you are considered to be self-employed, or if you have a less than stellar credit record. Your car is generally the second most valuable asset you would own, and you can make that asset work harder for you in securing a log book loan.3. Loan periods are more easily managedPayday loans are designed to be a quick-fix, that is a short-term solution. What that means, is you’ll have to repay the loan within a relatively short period of time. If the borrower cannot secure the funds to repay the loan, the interest quickly builds up. This leaves borrowers at times forced to take out a second loan merely to repay the first loan!Lenders offering logbook loans however, can set it up so that you can repay the debt over a far greater time period, anywhere from half a year up to three. In addition, borrowers can sort out a repayment plan to match their cash-flow needs, which guarantees you can pay back your debt in a timely and stress free fashion.