Four For Friday | Jan 5, 2024
LF100 | Developing a 'global immune system', pension fund mis-management, UK integrated care & Australia’s VC ecosystem
Welcome to Looking Forward’s Four For Friday - and I hope you all had a restorative few days off. Am back with four things that have piqued my interest this week. Enjoy!
Building an antifragile global immune system
Planetary health has many similarities with human health - a complex, multifaceted, long-term issue in which prevention is infinitely better than cure.
Physician-author-polymath Atul Gawande - now serving as Assistant Administrator for Global Health at USAID - has introduced the concept of anti-fragility to develop a ‘global immune system’ to detect and prevent future pandemics. The emerging system focusing on rapid, collaborative, information sharing has already had some success with heading off Ebola outbreaks in Africa. Let’s hope wise heads recognize the value of investing in long-term prevention.
Your pension is probably being mis-managed
Economist Steve Keen’s critique of blinkered pension funds makes for an entertaining if alarming read:
Pension funds are risking the retirement savings of millions of people by relying on economic research that ignores critical scientific evidence about the financial risks embedded within a warming climate
Pension fund managers wield enormous clout about what gets funded in our economies. The paper argues that those managers are doing us all a disservice by blithely ignoring the likely impact of global heating on the real economy, instead basing their analysis on flawed models that suggest the impact of a multi-Celsius rise in temperatures will have little-to-no-impact.
The UK experiments with integrative care
A new project in Hull, UK has shown the importance in both outcomes and efficiency of an integrated care model. Social care in the UK has traditionally been a neglected afterthought, a financial and stressful burden for families. It’s a stark contrast to the NHS which provides free GPs and hospital visits.
The new integrated care model has delivered reductions of 17% ER visits for the local frail, elderly population.It provides joined-up access to doctors, social workers and community specialists. It’s a drop in the ocean, but proof that integrated care models, such as PACE, are a promising way forward. It also echoes another experiment in the UK, Neighbourhood Networks.
Australia as a next VC hub?
A piece in TechCrunch makes the case that Australia has all the elements of VC hub. The tech ecosystem is growing up with major exits pumping money back into venture, government funding, deep tech from academics, new skilled immigration visas and growing corporate expertise in areas such as fintech, spacetech, and healthcare.
One asset the article draws out is traditionally under-appreciated - the value of cultural diversity and expertise of the indigenous population. Their experience living with the land, rather than exploiting it as a consumable ‘resource’ is particularly valuable today.
That’s all for this week. As always, feedback welcome. Feel free to share insights or links of interest.