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28th September 2009 | Uncompleted

Varieties of Confidence Essential to Sustainability

Surrogates and tokens obscuring the existential "gold standard"

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Much has been made of the challenge of restoring confidence in the financial system. The erosion of confidence is seen more generally as an erosion in the credibility of many structures and processes in society, from interpersonal relationships to the global level, as previously explored (Credibility Crunch engendered by Hope-mongering: "Credit crunch" focus as symptom of a dangerous mindset, 2008; Abuse of Faith in Governance: Mystery of the Unasked Question, 2009). However the challenge to confidence is also only too evident in individual experience, whether as an existential sense of uncertainty, a loss of self-esteem, or some form of loss of faith. The increasing concern with depression and the widespread use of mood-altering substances offers a measure of the dimensions of the challenge. Economically these substances are now recognized to represent a market of a magnititude similar to that for oil and for arms.

Confidence is essentially intangible and it is therefore somewhat extraordinary that it should be so fundamental to what might otherwise be considered the most tangible aspects of the material world -- as evident in the economic world of business. "Confidence" is supposedly not even a matter of consideration in any evaluation of the financial condition of a commercial enterprise or a national economy. This supposition is in fact quite incorrect as the financial crisis of 2008-9 has demonstrated.

Just as "confidence" has been disguised and seemingly marginalized within the economic system, it also underlies a range of other preoccupations with which "confidence" is not necessarily associated. The purpose here is to draw attention to a variety of what might be termed surrogates of confidence in order to point to confidence as a common intangible. The nature of this intangible -- as an existential, subjective experience -- is arguably a special challenge to individual and collective engagement with any common global reality. This challenge defies simplistic assumptions and calls for careful consideration as the cognitive "glue" that ensures the connectivity and coherence presumably essential to global governance and viable strategies for the future.

Confidence and its Surrogates
indicative configuration of the variety of expressions and tokens of confidence
Confidence and its Surrogates

Confidence is trust or faith in a person or thing. Having confidence in oneself (self-confidence) can grant one more courage, and thus confidence is often viewed as a key to happiness and inner fulfillment. However, although confidence is often encouraged and celebrated, it is not vital to success. People who are cautious and analytical can achieve as much success as bold and impulsive people. Extroverts are not always confident, and introverts are not necessarily lacking in confidence.

This exploration is developed further in subsequent documents (Exploration of Prefixes of Global Discourse: implications for sustainable confidelity, 2011; Primary Global Reserve Currency: the Con? Cognitive implications of a prefix for sustainable confidelity, 2011; Embodiment of Identity in Conscious Creativity: challenge of encompassing "con", 2011).

Commentary / Notes


Knowledge / Competence / Experience / Maturity: As providing the capacity to respons advantageously to any uncertainities in the environment. This may include overcoming any sense of igntoance and the consequent underming of confidence in dealing with unknowns.

Confidence in Models

Science -- truth

Confidence In Scientists On The Decline, ScienceDaily, 9 July 2009

Faith / Hope: As offering confidence in relation to an otherwise uncertain, and seemingly challenging, future. Both faith and hope may focus on specifics and tangibles to alleviate evident suffering, whether definable (and so presented) or as likely to take that form. In the absence of tangibles there may be belief that these will emerge from faith and hope in intangibles -- possibly through a saviour or a salvatory process. Suc belief is inteimately related to an existential sense of confidence.

by / money

Religion con-fidere

Attractiveness / Youth: As offering a sense of confidence, if only by comparison with the more aged and less attractive. An increase in self-confidence may therefore be sought through use of cosmetics and thebenefits of cosmetic surgery. Attractiveness may also be sought through clothing and related status symbols.

Buy, money

Love / Friendship / Community / Intercourse: As in the sense of place offered by the expwerience of being valued as a member of a community or an institution. It is especially sensed through the intimacy of being loved and the reciprocated sense of value from loving. This is most evident through intercourse in its many forms.

Love -- con-fidere

sexual confidence.

Confidence With Dating

Mark Dombeck, Finding Confidence When Dating, 2006

Confidence in social institutions, World Values Survey

The Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index 2005: How Americans View U.S. Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, 2005

no confidence vote

A vote of no confidence is also called a motion of no confidence, a censure motion, a no confidence motion, or a confidence motion. According to Westminster parliamentary procedure, governments often respond to a vote of no confidence by calling for a confidence motion. Parliament passes or rejects the vote. Typically, when a vote of no confidence passes parliament, the government official must either resign or seek a parliamentary dissolution or general election.

Jimmy Carter (The Crisis of Confidence, U.S. Presidential Speech, 15 July 1979)

Risk-taking / Investment / Security / Protection: As through thr ability to assess and manage risk both to ensure security and to seek advantage and benefits in relation to others -- by detecting and exploiting windows of opportunity.

Business Confidence

Security confidence

xx (Restoring Confidence in the Securitization Markets, 3 December 2008

Jean-Claude Trichet (Restoring confidence in the global financial system Speech by, President of the ECB, at the annual meeting of the Research Institute of Japan, Tokyo, 17 April 2009

Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index

The Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index is a regular survey of global executives conducted by A.T. Kearney. The Index provides a unique look at the present and future prospects for international investment flows. Companies participating in the survey account for more than $3.8 trillion in annual global revenue.

Confidence Building and Stakeholders Involvement Project

The Task Force on Rebuilding Public Confidence in Financial Reporting (Credibility Task Force) was commissioned by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) in October 2002 to look at ways of restoring the credibility of financial reporting. It concluded its work in August 2003 with the issuance of its final report, "Rebuilding Public Confidence in Financial Reporting: An International Perspective." The report analyzes from an international perspective the causes of the loss of credibility and recommends courses of action to restore credibility. IFAC's leadership is addressing the recommendations pertaining to the international accountancy profession and is encouraging action by others involved in the financial reporting process.

Moody's Survey of Business Confidence is a weekly economic indicator that is released each Monday on Dismal Scientist (, Moody's's real-time global economic analysis service. Each week Dismal Scientist surveys its subscribers -- key decision makers and planners from a diverse array of companies worldwide that have unique insights into the performance and concerns of their respective companies -- on current and future business conditions, plans, and concerns. Since its introduction in 2005, the Survey of Business Confidence has proved to be a unique and insightful indicator of the global economy across regions and industries.

Doctor Zero, The Crisis of Confidence, Hot Air, 8 September 2009

Paul Krugman, Crisis of Confidence, New York Times, 14 April 2008

Business Confidence Survey 2009 - Executive Summary

Chief Executive magazine's CEO Confidence Index,

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Confidence, 2004)

Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Restoring confidence Speech by, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB Panel: Society, State, Market: a European Answer International Forum Economia e Società Aperta 'Uscire della crisi' organised by Bocconi University and Corriere della Sera in co-operation with University Carlos III de Madrid Madrid, 25 November 2008

Patrick Love, Restoring confidence in financial systems, OECD Forum, 23 June 2009

Mitch McCrimmon (The Confident Manager: what is the basis of a manager's confidence?, 24 January 2007

Barron's Confidence Index. Investopedia. A confidence indicator calculated by dividing the average yield on high-grade bonds by the average yield on intermediate-grade bonds. The discrepancy between the yields is indicative of investor confidence. A rising ratio indicates investors are demanding a lower premium in yield for increased risk and so are showing confidence in the economy.

Megan Davies, Confidence returning for deal financing, Reuters, 25 September 2009

Investor Confidence Index

Lynn A. Stout (The Investor Confidence Game. UCLA School of Law, Research Paper No. 02-18. Available at : SSRN or doi

Stakeholder Confidence

statistical confidence intervals

A confidence interval gives an estimated range of values which is likely to include an unknown population parameter, the estimated range being calculated from a given set of sample data. If independent samples are taken repeatedly from the same population, and a confidence interval calculated for each sample, then a certain percentage (confidence level) of the intervals will include the unknown population parameter. Confidence intervals are usually calculated so that this percentage is 95%, but we can produce 90%, 99%, 99.9% (or whatever) confidence intervals for the unknown parameter. The width of the confidence interval gives us some idea about how uncertain we are about the unknown parameter (see precision). A very wide interval may indicate that more data should be collected before anything very definite can be said about the parameter. Confidence intervals are more informative than the simple results of hypothesis tests (where we decide "reject H0" or "don't reject H0") since they provide a range of plausible values for the unknown parameter.

Confidence limits are the lower and upper boundaries / values of a confidence interval, that is, the values which define the range of a confidence interval. The upper and lower bounds of a 95% confidence interval are the 95% confidence limits. These limits may be taken for other confidence levels, for example, 90%, 99%, 99.9%.

confidence game n. A swindle in which the victim is defrauded after his or her confidence has been.

Employment / Retirement / Futures prospects: As evident in the sense of being valued through being employed -- in contrast to the traumatic loss of self-confidence typically associated with loss of a job. However, even though employed, a greater sense of of confidence may be valued and sought through a sense of "prospects" of advancement and promotion along a career path. This confidence may be severely undermined on retirement with its associated sense of loss of utility and value to society.

The Career Confidence Index is conducted by Right Management twice a year to measure career confidence around the globe among fulltime workers. The survey is based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 350-1,000 fulltime workers, based on country size.

Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS)

Ismat Sarah Mangla, New survey: Retirement confidence plummets., 14 April 2009

Worker confidence levels creeping upwards

Alison Coleman (Seven ways to boost your workplace confidence By, | 2009/08/05


Provenance / Authenticity / Descendance / Progeny:

Check the Art Market Confidence Index by the Art Market players measured live by

Art -- provenances, counterfeit

Wealth / Assets / Equipment / Tools: As evident in the confidence offered by money ansd tangible assets that can be readily converted into negotiable fgunds -- especial;y when it offers (evident) comparative advantage in relation to others.

Soren Ambrose (IMF Confidence Crisis, Foreign Policy In Focus, 12 April 2007)

Horst Köhler (Restoring Confidence to the Global Economy, International Monetary Fund, 6 November 2002

Senator Arlen Specter and Kathleen Sebelius, (Crisis of Confidence: America's Government Losing Faith in Out-of-Touch Constituents , Iowahawk, August 2009

Banking Confidence Survey

Health / Strength: As giving confidence and reflecting a sense of self-confidence. Body-building and dietary regimes are processes that are undertaken to provide, if only incidentally, a sense of confidence. Related practices inclu8de martial arts, sports and various physical disciplines such as yoga -- especially forms of hatha yoga.


disability confidence

Provisions / Food:

consumer confidence

Status / Power: As evident in the confidence of the powerful or those with status -- implying a degree of power with respect to others beholden to them.

Land / Possessions / Home: As offering a sense of place anda focus for identity and thereby a sense of self-confidence through the stability and continuity they imply in a relatively chaotic world.

Additional notes


Korn/Ferry "Confidence in Leadership Index"

Richard C. Dieter, A Crisis of Confidence: Americans' Doubts About the Death Penalty. A Death Penalty Information Center Report Based on A National Opinion Survey, 2007

Jonathan Levie, The IIIP Innovation Confidence Index 2008 Report, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XH United Kingdom, 26 January 2009

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Assiction, Situational Confidence Questionnaire (SCQ), 1988

Mike Nizzam, Degrees of Confidence on U.S.-Iran Naval Incident, New York Times News Blog, 10 January 2008

John Heidemann, Kevin Mills, Sri Kumar Expanding Confidence in Network Simulations

Andrew Tilin (Confidence: A Vicious Cycle


The Gallup Organization (Confidence in the Information Society: Analytical Report, 2009

Maslow confidence hierarchy

Con trick



News media

Abuse of confidence in government

Peer group









self-confidence and reflexivity

economic value of confidence -- mood altering drugs

relationship between different forms of confidence -- feedback loops

Musical metaphor

models as musical instruments of varying capacity


strings paper

plucking paper


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