The Moody Blues finally made it to Houston last week (well Sugar Land – but close enough). They were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of what many call the first progressive rock album, Days of Future Passed. While there was certainly sadness in the air as tributes to Ray Thomas were played, there was also celebration of the Moody Blues finally being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The concert was less a standard raucous rocking affair when the band returned from intermission to play this fabulous album straight through.
The album features music by singer-songwriter and guitarist Justin Hayward, Mellotron played by then keyboardist Mike Pinder and “the band and the orchestra only actually play together during the final song part of “Nights In White Satin”.” The album is one of the earliest examples of progressive rock music, which featured psychedelic rock ballads and orchestral interludes by the London Festival Orchestra. Bill Holdship, writing in Yahoo! Music, has said the band “created an entire genre here.” David Fricke and Robert Christgau, writing in Rolling Stone, cited it as one of the essential albums of 1967 and finds it “closer to high-art pomp than psychedelia.” Will Hermes, writing in Spin Magazine, cited the album as an essential progressive rock record. An influential work of the counterculture period, Bruce Eder writing in AllMusic called the album “one of the defining documents of the blossoming psychedelic era, and one of the most enduringly popular albums of its era.”
While the album concept has largely faded from the music scene in favor of one shot downloads, albums were the way we got to know bands and musicians when I was in my formative years. You can close your eyes listen to Days of Future Passed over and over again and literally see the entire album flash across your mind. While “Nights In White Satin” probably was more popular as the top single song from the album, for my money it was “Tuesday Afternoon”. But listening to the entire album straight through in concert was a treat to behold.
I thought about taking this bigger picture view in the context of the Control Risks 2018 Risk Map, entitled RiskMap 2018. It is one of the definitive forecast of political and security risk across the globe in the coming year. The top five listed risks for 2018 were:
- North Korea – While Control Risks believes war on the Korean peninsula is unlikely, the paths of escalation are clear, de-escalation is harder to plot. The search is on for the least bad option, but it’s not clear what that is. The risks of miscalculation and accidental escalation are the highest they’ve been since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un assumed power.
- Large scale cyber-attacks targeting infrastructure – 2017 was the year of large-scale but random disruptive attacks. Control Risks believes that 2018 will see the likes of WannaCry, NotPetya and BadRabbit recur, but in a more powerful, targeted and disruptive manner. National infrastructure systems are particularly at risk.
- Protectionism policy of the Republican administration – Control Risks believes there is a low likelihood but if does occur, it will likely be a high impact, but the threat is there: in a year of mid-term elections, NAFTA negotiations fail to make enough headway, the administration pulls the US out of NAFTA and the WTO, and goes after China on trade, causing profound disruption to international commerce.
- The big power rivalry in the Middle East – Control Risks believes that across the region, the combination of an ambitious Saudi Arabia and assertive Iran informs and inflames conflicts and enmities in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen and between Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Control Risks does not believe these two countries will go to war.
- Personalized leadership – Astride the business risk landscape is a collection of assertive world leaders who rely on nationalism and, to varying degrees, populism. Prone to capricious decision-making, they find foreign companies convenient targets. More than ever, knowing the mind of the person at the top is essential.
Each of these areas has full reports dedicated to them and available for download. Further, the Risk Map is broken down by region. The main map covers the countries of the world and provides regional nuance within and across national borders. The Maritime, Kidnap and Travel Risk maps give further insights into Control Risks areas of specialist expertise. In short all of this information is available for any compliance professional for use in helping to assess your annual risks going forward. It is a visual, data and information feast for anyone interested in global risk, in a wide variety of areas.
If you are in the Houston area, the Greater Houston Business and Ethics Roundtable (GHBER) is privileged to have Control Risks present its 2018 Risk Map at our first meeting of the year, this coming Thursday, 25th January, from 8-10 AM at the offices of Marathon Oil, here in Houston. Our presenter will be Control Risks Director, Jonathan Wood, the author of the White Paper on the Number 1 listed risk of the Global Powder Keg, including North Korea. Wood leads Control Risks’ Global Issues practice, on global political, operational, security and integrity risks to multinational organizations in the oil and gas, mining, insurance, financial services, retail, construction and technology sectors. His subject matter expertise encompasses geopolitics, global governance, economic development and transnational security issues. He leads Control Risks’ analysis of transnational terrorism, single-issue direct action, and geopolitics. In short, Wood knows his stuff and he can further educate all who attend the GHBER meeting.
If you are in Houston, I hope you can join us. The information Control Risks makes available is worth it. For more information on the GHBER meetings, featuring Jonathan Wood of Control Risks, go the GBHER website.
While you are considering all this, I heartily suggest you download Days of Future Passed from iTunes, sit back and get ready for a great audio and imaginary travel through a day.
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© Thomas R. Fox, 2018