Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems

Jay Forrester's (new: link to several of his papers) Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems (new URL) is another classic worth reading and re-reading. The article offers food for thought, not final answers. If you start, I encourage you to keep going to the end (I'm saying that, because I know it's 28 pages of text and everyone's time is short). As a bit of encouragement, here are two quotations. First, from p. 24:

Figure 8 shows the world system if several policy changes are adopted together in the year 1970. Population is stabilized. Quality of life rises about 50 per cent. Pollution remains at about the 1970 level. Would such a world be accepted? It implies an end to population and economic growth.

Then, on page 27, he writes, "Our greatest challenge now is handling the transition from growth to equilibrium."

Start at the beginning to get the context for both quotations, and see what you think by the end. These are important issues; don't blindly accept his admittedly somewhat preliminary ideas (see section XI), but don't blindly reject them, either.

Thanks to the HPSIGWiki for the reminder.

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