In a recent discussion with friends we tried to come up with some alternatives to the weakened € (Euro). With all that PIIGS states Europe has quite a big problem to solve to keep the Euro currency stable. Watch the youtube videos or Spiegel figures out there! … and this funny song by the British (Spiegel comment on this).

People change savings into other currencies independent from the Euro. But what is there that is a real alternative? (actual question!) One friend suggested to invest in the English pound as this is pretty weak (!) and will definitely gain value over the future years.

However, most people seem to switch to material goods. Resources such as gold have gained heavily in values due to the high demand. But are material goods the right way to protect your savings? Maybe. But beware, there’s things like the housing crisis we (and mainly the US) faced just a few years ago and that started a financial crisis. If you feel anxious about the Euro/financial/… crisis, I guess distribution is a good solution. Invest in real estate, in material goods and maybe other currencies at the same time and divide your money according to your own priorities. (no liability 😉 )

The whole problem and solution seeking with the financial crisis let me think if there is a pattern for complex systems. This exactly came to my mind when a friend and I talked about the Cloud and the Evernet and how this changes the way we use computers. The shift from one computer many users (mainframe time) over one user per computer (personal computer) to one user many computers is pretty interesting and shows the potential need of the Cloud and the Evernet. Everyone would use (or already uses) multiple devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops, public information devices, and whatever we will see in the future. But, what if the Cloud or the Evernet are not available and I need certain information (e.g. a Word document from google docs). What would be the fall back? Back to my local backup, a personal computer with most of my data? How to maintain that backup???

There might be no fallback for our future (virtual) life in the Cloud. But, doesn’t the financial crisis show that we would need one. I’m not sure if I can draw parallels here.

What if there were parallels and complex systems can fail? Wouldn’t we be happy to have a fallback?

In the case of Cloud Computing and Evernet I cannot see any fallback options for certain information (unless we have replica of information on paper or local devices). Maybe the future Cloud is based on devices spread physically around the globe we can still access in case the Evernet collapses. Besides that, there is no real option except waiting…

What about other complex systems?

The power grid has also become quite complex and is as centralized as Cloud computing. If the power network blacks out we need to rely on candles and generators. At least there is a fallback option that allows to consume electricity even during a power grid black out.

I guess, there is a set of complex systems that follow the same pattern. Fallbacks for centralized systems are probably harder to manage. I wonder if there are any insights from engineering management or reliability management of complex systems. If anyone knows, please fill me in 🙂


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