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Why We Do Not Thrive

Challenges to universal thrival (Part #1)


Why we don't get far in response to challenges
Developing skills to process discussions of differences
"Threats" as fragmented perceptions lacking interactive dynamics between them
Support emerging ways of dealing with complexity
Universal "thrival" means quality of life for all earth

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Why we don't get far in response to challenges

Historically there has been a massive over-reliance on consensus-building and single framework responses to challenges. This has been accompanied by excessive optimism in the viability of such initiatives despite their resemblance to New Year resolutions. Reservations as to their viability have been unwelcome. Reporting on problems during implementation is subject to repression (cf O-ring problems leading to the Challenger space-shuttle disaster). Even within Fortune 500 multinationals, there have been significant difficulties in ensuring effective implementation of strategies. It is therefore understandable that where agreement cannot be imposed by CEO fiat, the ability to implement strategies based on consensus is problematic.

It is also significant that political constraints, if not cynicism, ensure that many such strategies are effectively designed with the possibility of subsequently rolling them back (or rendering them toothless) in mind -- as a precondition for the original agreement on them.

In a complex society there is usually a multiplicity of answers to any threat situation. Different factions and constituencies have their favoured approaches with no viable processes for interrelating them -- other than through temporary or token compromises. There is little interest in treating this diversity of approaches as features of a strategic ecosystem that calls for an ecosystemic approach to their integration and comprehension. Indeed the conceptual challenge of designing multi-species ecosystems of any kind has been avoided -- even when they are needed to replace more complex systems that have been destroyed.

It is curious also that the degree of learning in response to past strategic failures is relatively low. There is continuing investment in the same kinds of strategies: "health for all by the year 2000", "jobs for all", "security for all", "healthy environment" "social justice for all", "education for all", and most recently "information for all" -- with very little improvement in the capacity to deliver on such strategic intentions.

Also curious is that, despite the high investment in scientific and technical R and D, there is almost no inverstment in socio-political R & D. In fact, in contrast to the technology case, any such experimentation is penalized. An explosion in a chemical laboratory calls for revised parameters when the experiment is repeated, but in the social situation experimentation itself may be forbidden or criminalized. Alternatives are kept off the list of conventionl strategic options, where any inventive general would normally value strategic alternatives, however unusual. This situation is notable in the case of unemployment, social security, education, health, and security -- where considerable delivery challenges undermine any realistic strategic proposal.

security -- where considerable delivery challenges undermine any realistic strategic proposal.


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