Notes, Nov 5, 2007

November 5, 2007 § Leave a comment

Along the lines of my suggestion that we should figure out in sequence

1. The task of governance for the next few decades – environment, economy, human happiness

2. The kind of government this requires

3. The kind of politics to get us there

So I am thinking how to get the political process to accept that it must be systems management and democratic.

Things floating around say from the rand corporation go like

The Systems Approach and Public Policy.

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By: E. S. Quade

Prerequisites to the entrance of scientists and scientific methods into governmental policymaking. The systems approach–including systems analysis, operations research, management science, and systems engineering–is a practical philosophy for executing decision-oriented interdisciplinary research, based on quantitative models of a total problem. This approach has successfully aided decision making in commerce, industry, and defense–fields with specific, limited problems and goals, centralized authority, and an underlying design amenable to modeling. However, to be useful in government, the systems approach needs certain reforms. (1) [Analysts] must accept as a model any device for predicting and comparing the outcomes of alternative actions–e.g., Delphi, an iterative procedure, based on questionnaires, for eliciting and refining group opinions. (2) They must adapt the systems approach to decentralized authority and political considerations. (3) [Public officials] must integrate this approach into the policymaking system, for automatic serious consideration of its recommendations. (4) They must support analysis with interdisciplinary research. 29 pp. Ref.

We need to be at least as comprehensive as this, yet there is nothing in what the candidates are now saying, nor thinking about how they organize the office of the president and the cabinet to reflect even this minimalist systems thinking.

Other language goes quoting from his website, http://www.volweb.cz/horvitz/burnham/homepage.html

Jack Burnham was the most profound and farsighted writer on art and technology in the 1960s and 70s — not to mention his importance as a theorist, critic and curator. Yet all of his books are out of print now, and many artists treading the paths he illuminated have never heard of him. How can that be?

At the conclusion of Beyond Modern Sculpture (1968) he had written:

“[The] cultural obsession with the art object is slowly disappearing and being replaced by what might be called ‘systems consciousness.’ Actually, this shifts from the direct shaping of matter to a concern for organizing quantities of energy and information…

So I am thinking we want to model how the white house should be organized. I wonder if we could get Bill Clinton to participate in a backroom kitchen cabinet Renaissance Weekend approach to this issue of governance and systems? That is we model the kind of thinking that such a group would need to undertake to meet modern and post modern conditions.

From Asia Times Online 

Already 30 million non-Chinese are learning Mandarin. Beijing has opened Confucius Institutes (following the example of the Alliance Francaise, Goethe Institute or British Council) both to teach Chinese and to explain Chinese culture throughout the world. Chinese is already the second language on the Internet, with more than 100 million Chinese netizens. The Office of Chinese Language Council International (OCLCI) estimates that by 2010 100 million foreigners will learn Mandarin. In the science-fiction series Firefly, the characters use English and Chinese.

….Co-architect of the 21st-century new world order? For the West, adjustment to China’s renaissance requires modesty and intellectual curiosity. Are Westerners ready to learn from the Chinese civilization as Chinese people are ready to learn from the West? This is the precondition of a genuinely cooperative relationship. Seriously engaging China is to accept the very possibility of Sinicization.

If China proves to be an integrating factor in a world plagued by morally unacceptable, exclusive globalization, if China proves to be a laboratory where cultures can cross-fertilize in a world threatened by tensions between civilizations, one should rejoice to find a co-architect of the 21st-century new world order and to live at the very beginning of the ershi yi shiji.

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