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Research Program

The RBA and the Housing Bubble

One future project that I’ve started to plan out is an extension of my PhD’s strategic subcultures framework to central banks and monetary policy. I note Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe’s comments yesterday:

Speaking at the Australian Financial Review’s Business Summit, Mr Lowe confirmed that the recent rise in house prices across most of the country — to record levels in many areas — had been a topic of discussion at recent RBA board meetings.

In a veiled warning to home buyers, Mr Lowe cautioned that the prospect of lower population growth over the next couple of years could outweigh some of the other factors driving prices higher.

My PhD framework focused on terrorist organisations but I realised in 2018 that aspects of it could be extended to the political economy of central banks, debt markets, hedge funds, and financialisation. My writing model for this project is the historian Adam Tooze.

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Research Program

Two New Research Projects

Monash University conferred my political science PhD on 29th April 2020.

I am now focusing on the following two new research projects:

Project 1Formal Models for Strategic Culture, Foreign Policy and Crisis Decision-Making: this project will develop new formal models and process tracing tests of strategic culture (the use of force) to inform decision-makers in defence and foreign policy institutions.

Project 2 – Computational Strategic Culture and Decision Elite Subgroups: this project will integrate computational social science methods (such as agent-based modelling) with the corpus of fourth generation literature and the study of decision elite subgroups (in terrorist organisations, and in the political economy context of hedge funds, central banks, and white collar crime).

I also have recently launched a subscription-based newsletter on my research program.

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Research Program

Introducing Vega Theory

Welcome to my new research program blog, Vega Theory.

My research program is at the nexus of the strategic studies, terrorism studies, and political economy sub-fields. My in-progress doctoral thesis at Australia’s Monash University advances a new analytical theory of strategic subcultures in terrorist organisations, and uses process tracing to examine Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo as a case study.

This blog will advance the new research agenda outlined in my doctoral thesis. In particular, I am interested to further develop a deeper understanding of causal mechanism-based analysis, and to explore the possible existence of strategic subcultures in a range of areas, from other terrorist cells, groups, and organisations to asset management firms and hedge funds. A common theme in all of these examples is how to harness volatility (vega) for strategic advantage.

I also have an interest in developing capabilities for counter-coercion and counterdeception capabilities to deal with fraud, white-collar crime, misinformation, and information warfare. This interest draws on my past experience in editing the former subculture search engine Disinformation and in the cultic milieu. In particular, I am looking at insights from interpersonal neurobiology and social neuroscience, and their applicability to identifying causal mechanisms for countering socio-political deception.