Home > Uncategorized > some partial synthesis from HEARlabs

some partial synthesis from HEARlabs

some (extremely) partial synthesis of all the research below ended up in a comment to 37’s “An Invocation Against the Inevitable” blogpost:

“… build a politics …” So, first, can you define politics? I’m taking my definition from the first line of Wikipedia’s politics page: “… a process by which groups of people make collective decisions.” Observing government, politicians, etc, behavior, and applying “The purpose of a system is what it does” rule of thumb, what is usually going on is the application of predetermined & set ideology to all problems (as well as clashes between 2 or more ideologies, and the occassional attempt at finding some compromise between ideologies.)

In contrast to that, engineering has developed a whole bunch of tools & techniques for effective problem solving – root cause analysis, 5 whys, cost benefit analysis, total cost of ownership, trade study, risk analysis, and so on. I’ve never heard any politician, journalist, commentator or analyst mention any of these concepts. As long as we continue to just throw ideology at every situation, instead of actually using our best problem solving techniques, things will continue to get worse.

Switching gears:

Bakan’s The Corporation argues (IMO compellingly) that corporations behave like psychopaths (incapable of empathy or guilt, reckless, deceitful, etc.) And corporations are inextricably intertwined with government, news/media & military, such that they are, arguably, one large psychopathic system.

Up until recently, I was basically convinced that corporations, government, or both, can be changed via application of cybernetic & systems engineering principles. Factoring in the psychopathology makes things tricky – assuming this is valid, or at least a valid analogy, “changing” the system may not even be possible, at least in any real substantive fashion. Psychopaths don’t usually respond to treatment – it usually just makes them better at being psychopaths. The only thing that occurs to me would be to find ways to “convince” the system that it is its own best interest to substantively change.

This then generates other questions – and it is getting late now…

Here’s a good starting point for where this is going, if you aren’t familiar – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_leverage_points

The twelve leverage points to intervene in a system were proposed by Donella Meadows… She started with the observation that there are levers, or places within a complex system (such as a firm, a city, an economy, a living being, an ecosystem, an ecoregion) where a “small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything”

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