Robert Shiplett

Robert Shiplett is a Smalltalk and Prolog programmer who is now involved chiefly with the Curl language. see and He blogs variously as eclectic-pencil

This article follows a note on StrawberryProlog from Sofia, Bulgaria. It was a shock to see the discrepancy between Bulgaria as portrayed at and as portrayed by journalists covering the efforts of the EU to determine where funds disappear in Bulgarian government departments. This has been very sobering for those who now see the prospect of Montenegro entering the EU with the bulk of its assets held by firms and organizations which are less than transparent in their finances.

There have been some software advances to help in detecting fraud and money-laundering but the scale of falsification and defalcations in Bulgaria is astounding by recent western European standards.

There appears to be a need for an a-political subscriber-only wiki where auditors, prosecutors, magistrates, software designers and forensic finance investigators may candidly assess the situation and track policies, measures and interventions in an evidence-based manner. In the case of Bulgaria one might start with assessing the tracking of criminal process as prosecutions in Bulgaria appear to proceed on an ad hoc basis at best.

One might reasonably doubt whether project management provides the administrative arsenal required for matters that deviate so far from the usual tasks and objectives of finance, scheduling and logistics: what is at issue is much more values than further ascertaining the facts. The problem is much more akin to the need for software in a time of war than for improved or innovative software in the cyclic course of business, investment and trade.

What may be required is to envision and implement systems for interdiction, as in the case of interdiction of the use of funds whose proximal origin is an unrecorded bank transfer: in these cases a euro is not just another euro. The mere fact that a sum of money is credited in the new account may not suffice for further electronic transactions against that augmented balance (such strategies are not new and were familiar prior to electronic deposits.) Funds directed from government departments to private enterprise cannot, in these extreme cases, be viewed as banking transactions: a gatekeeper system may be required.

There are cultural elements here: it is said of one western European nation that defrauding the state tax collector is the true national passtime. The situation in the Russian federation is far more serious.

Computing machinery and telecommunications have played important roles: and have often failed as in the case of Enron and more recently, under-funded and over-values mortgages. The firm which supplied Anderson with audit software during the Enron collapse remains a major player in audit and banking.

The dominance of any one business firm in providing audit software worldwide also may be a concern. At the moment the dominant firm may well be one now owned by the new owners of the Reuters news agency, Thomson Reuters.

Computation and PhilosophyOfMind

I was saddened to see that Shadworth Hodgson was not in the Hodgson disambiguation page at en.wp

My first notes: ShadworthHodgson Attention to Hodgson was briefly enlivened by an article by Wolfe Mays in a British Phenomenology journal in the 1970's.

The volumes of Hodgson's principal work were often shipped with uncut pages and visits to libraries with these volumes has revealed that sometimes most pages of all 4 volumes remained uncut even one hundred years later.

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