9/8/18 paul oyer: fei-fei li : lei zhang
1/1/21 we have entered the most exciting decade to be alive- by 2030 we will likely know whether humans & tech wizards can save futureoflife- tech surveys indicate odds of accomplishing this greatest human mission would be lot less without spirit of a chinese american lady at stanford-...
bonus challenge for those on road to glasgow cop2 nov2021: future 8 billion peoples want to value from 2021 rsvp chris.macrae@yahoo.co.uk

GAMES of world record jobs involve
*pack of cards: world record jobs creators eg fei-fe li ; fazle abed ...
*six future histories before 2021 starts the decade of empowering youth to be the first sustainable generation.

problem 99% of what people value connecting or doing to each other
has changed (and accelerated in last three quarters of a century- while laws, culture and nature's diversity and health are rooted in real-world foundations that took mother earth 1945 years to build with -and that's only using the christian calendar

1995 started our most recent quater of a century with 2 people in Seattle determined to change distribution of consumers' markets - the ideas of how of bezos and jack ma on what this would involve were completely different except that they changed the purpose of being online from education knowledge to buying & selling things -
nb consuming up things is typically a zero-sum game or less if done unsustainable- whereas life-shaping knowhow multiplies value in use
from 1970 to 1995 knowhow needed to end subsistence poverty of over a billion asian villagers was networked person to person by women with no access to electricity grids- their number 1 wrjc involved partnerships linked by fazle abed - borlaug's crop science was one of the big 5 action learnings -its person to person application saved a billion people from starvation; the first 185 years of the machie age started up bl glasgow university's smith an watt in 1760 had brought humans to the 2 world wars; when people from nearly 200 nations founded the united nations at san francisco opera house 1945 chances of species survival looked poor- miraculous;y one mathematician changed that before he died 12 years later- john von neumann's legacy was both the moon race and twin artificial intel labs - one facing pacific ocean out of stanford; the other facing the atlantic out of mit boston .. who are top job creating economists by practice - health -refugee sports green hong kong..where are top tour guides around billionaire 1 2 around poverty,,, we the peoples ...

Monday, January 4, 2021

who values youth's sustainability most - start of a zoom world tour scotland gordon brown korea ...

 rough transcript gordon brown - korea global leaders forum nov 2020 -extended tour notes here

00:01 i'm delighted to join you at this eighth global leadership forum and i congratulate you on choosing as this year's theme the biggest question of our time
00:12 what will our post-covid world look like?
 and i want to start by thanking all those who contributed to the organization of this  important event and in particular the leader who asked me to speak to you my friend professor lee whose distinguished career has included his great success in reforming education in the republic of korea as minister of education science and technology and his path-breaking work on the global and korean education commissions that i had the privilege to chair

00:37 and who as an academic and writer is recognized and admired for his innovative research and insights especially in HTHT: High-Tech High-Touch education, admired not just in this continent but in every continent --now this conference meets at the right time because we're indeed at an inflection point

00:53 covid 19 this microscopic parasite 10000 times smaller than a grain of salt has not only infected 50 million people( ed some models of asymptomatics figure nearer 500 million) 
-and destroyed more than a million lives, but it has made us as individuals come face to face with our own vulnerability- and indeed our mortality

01:10 and it has brought more economic havoc, disrupted more trade, killed off more jobs, led to more lost production, caused more company closures than has any modern recession

01:20 And it has not only  undermined the cultural and social foundations of our lives but it is making us rethink the way we live, the way we work, the way we travel. the way we learn the way we study

01:31 in some cases it is accelerating already underway changes: like the online economy…in other cases exposing age-old problems like poverty and deprivation which have come to the surface and in other cases making what previously seemed impossible 
-- work is changing as more people work from home and  communicate online the consumer economy is changing as retail moves online
01:55 public services are changing as we see online education and online health dramatically expand
02:01 the social contract is changing as we reframe the rights and responsibilities of individuals and governments 
our ideas of fairness are changing as we recognize we will have to do more to value and reward all those who have been underpaid and under recognized ;especially those running personal one-to-one face-to-face
services like social care where some of the lowest paid workers in the world have had to take some of the biggest risks and the jobs we do are changing as IT , logistics, the digital economy as well as social care have to expand to meet new needs- 
our ideas of what is acceptable are changing as workers who have been prepared to  be self-employed (without job/health/pension contracts) now seek greater security- 
our idea of society is changing but people have been isolated now more than ever that being part of a community matters more to them than ever it did
 02.58 and so each country will have to find its own way forward as it rebalances the relationships 
  • between individuals and communities 
  • between markets and states, 
  • between risk and security, 
  • between freedom and control; .
  • between the very rich and the rest and of course between man and nature


and education is changing; and this is where i want to focus the rest of my remarks
indeed i want to suggest today that because we are now more aware than ever of inequality of families and children denied opportunity- of the vast gap between the world's education rich and the education poor, 
there is now no route to the future that does not have education at its center, no route to greater equality of opportunity that does not involve education
03:35 no route to more prosperous economies, stronger communities and fairer societies without investing in education, no route to rebuilding our countries too -
03:44 no route to building back better without the contribution of education of teachers, trainers, researchers, academics to the common good
04.00  -so for all these reasons, i have to say to you that the pandemic has robbed millions of children of the future

because the education they once enjoyed has been interrupted- many of whom may never return to school, or even if they do they may never catch up on their learning

04:08 you know at the height of the pandemic 1.6 billion children and young people- 90 percent of the world's pupils and students had their education disrupted-nearly a billion students are still shut out from schools today

and the risk is that short-term school closures will lead to long-term reversals in educational attainment with the opportunities available to the world's poorest and most marginalised children already diminished and hit even more
04:34 before the pandemic
 let us remember 260 million school-age children did not go to school, 
400 million children left education at 11 or 12 never to return, 
800 million half the developing world's children left  education without any usable qualifications for the workplace
 and that while the numbers of graduates (from high school) has increased from 100 million 50 years ago to 400 million in 2 000 to 700 million now ..even in the 2040s when children born today will first come of age 70% of all the adult population of the world will never have the secondary nor college nor university qualifications needed for the well-paying jobs the world can offer
 05:20 in low-income countries today a staggering 90 percent of children are in learning poverty which means they cannot read a basic text by the age of 10;now in the last financial crisis the typical child fell six months behind in their educational attainments . but children who are out of school for more than a year are even more unlikely even to return, 
and in crisis settings,
girls are two and a half times more likely to drop out of school than boys; but missing out on school means millions of children also go hungry; indeed during this pandemic 370 million children have been missing out on free or subsidized school meals which have often been their only regular source of nourishment

06:01 and with families under extreme financial pressure millions of boys and girls may soon join the 152 million children already forced into child labour

06:11 and many girls will join the 12 million girls a year who are forced into becoming child brides

06.21 with one estimate suggesting this illiteracy could lose us as a society as much as 10 Trillion dollars per year in future earnings we are standing by doing too little as havoc is reaped by one of the biggest forces accelerating inequality in our generation

 06:35 quality education is vital to lift people out of poverty; to ensure healthier families advance racial and gender equality, unlock job opportunities increase security

06:45 and create a more just peaceful and sustainable world- and girls education is a proven link to lowering fertility rates and reducing population growth which itself is one of the key drivers of climate change

06:56 education especially of girls leads to better health- a child whose mother can read is

·          fifty percent more likely to live past the age of five

·         fifty percent more likely to be immunized twice as likely to attend school


and so this is why we must come together as a global community and save the future of our children in response to this crisis


the education commission in partnership with an unprecedented global coalition of international organizations launched save our future to call for urgent investigation in education to prevent what we call the generational catastrophe


three actions are urgently needed

·         first we must reopen schools but make sure they are safe schools

·          second we must prevent what the world bank and unesco estimate could be a funding gap of 200 billions in education budgets in the next year as countries reallocate resources to health and social welfare and

·         third to use available resources to greatest effect we must be innovative

by creating the international finance facility for education securing 500 million of grants and government guarantees that could unlock two billion dollars of educational investment to be made through the asian development bank and other development banks

08:13 and i urge the korean government to join  as a funding donor of the development banks and we must use this crisis as an opportunity to transform education

 8.25 you see if you think of the monumental changes we have seen in the way we organize our factories, our homes, our hospitals and our travel,

08:30 and then think of how little education has changed with until recently so little online and how little the school itself has changed from the setting of world classrooms with the teacher as the sage on the stage and the pupils sitting in rows of desks

08:44 think of the educational revolution we need as we meet the demand for ever-changing skills: continuous learning and try to harness technology to support those most left behind

08:55 a study published just last year revealed how disparities in learning achievements have not diminished over the last 50 years; the most disadvantaged still perform at levels that are three to four years behind the most affluent and we must change this

09:09 online learning became a necessity almost overnight but yet close to half of the world's pupils and students don't have access to the internet

09:17 across the world more than 460 million- almost one third of school-aged children had not been reached by remote learning at all -so this could be the moment for us to transform education, to create individualized adaptive learning which meets children where they are with personalized learning, at scale for every student not just the lucky few

09:39 https://educationcommission.org/about/commission-leadership/

this is why the education commission and its hub in asia under the leadership of korea’s ju-ho lee are spearheading the high tech high touch for all initiative: combining the power of human touch and interaction from teachers with the power of adaptive learning and technology such as artificial intelligence. the high-tech refers to an adaptive technology that can help deliver personalized learning. it identifies prior knowledge and tailors instruction to diverse learning

needs allowing students to be stimulated and nurtured as they progress at their own pace. this can also be done initially in low-tech ways but artificial intelligence can allow us to track a child's

experience with software informed data and gear every child's learning to their aptitude is one way forward. the high touch element is the indispensable human connection provided by teachers. with the use of high tech teachers, can give more personalized guidance.no longer just the lecturer who's the sage on the stage but also the tutor and mentor who is the guide by the side.


we've already seen the promise of this approach in asia in vietnam as well as in india-and here in korea the HTHT university consortium which includes 16 member institutions provides support to korean universities that use the HTHT approach in their curricula and the k-12 consortium targets low-income students across multiple cities 
TODAY. i'm glad to announce the launch of HTHT for all a global consortium across governments, ed tech innovators, industry providers and educators that will develop a rigorous evidence base and create a collaborative network to support bold ways to address the digital divide so let us be the first generation where every child not only goes to school and learns but feels able to bridge the gap between what they are and what they have in themselves to become and let us be the first generation where instead of developing only some of the talents of some of our children in someof the world's countries we develop all of the talents of all children in all countries
11:40 thank you very much

with approaching two thirds of the world's youth asian hubs 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

franciscan curricula

pope francis climate   fraternity/soriety  grace and human intel/emotions

Pope Francis has declared a global “climate emergency”, warning of the dangers of global heating and that a failure to act urgently to reduce greenhouse gases would be “a brutal act of injustice toward the poor and future generations”.

2013 banking celebrations of franciscan cultures


Friday, January 1, 2021

  happy 2021- welcome to alumni berners lee and www.dc2021.com and extension of 1461.world

THE www as i envisaged it we haven't seen it yet

alumni hubs - mit since 1989

olympics web and health service is for everyone since 2012 alumni economicssports.net

with grateful dead superstar freedom of electronic frontiers since 1990

containers as a standard distribution space - mclean changed world trade and now mobile sleeping hq

  (November 14, 1913 – May 25, 2001; later known as Malcom McLean) was an American businessman. He was a transport entrepreneur who developed the modern intermodal shipping container, which revolutionized transport and international trade in the second half of the twentieth century. Containerization led to a significant reduction in the cost of freight transportation by eliminating the need for repeated handling of individual pieces of cargo, and also improved reliability, reduced cargo theft, and cut inventory costs by shortening transit time. 2020s use -150 sq foot- mobile hotel rooms, mobile emergency rooms eg used by japan for staff responding to covid on cruise liner, yoshimasa/takuto : repairing broken power grids or spaces for refugees (container solar roofs. wi fi enabled)  -see nhk 1 jan 2020 for japans innovations with containers - low cost resilience intervention for local government-- 

see also qatar design of world cup stadium - containers can be reassembled after stadiums use

Thursday, December 31, 2020

review of wrj alumni groups who may come most uregebtly into play in 2021

 1461 days of tracing the rise and fall of trump suggests 2021 will need to be the most revolutionary time for rural entrepreneurship since 1776 if americans are to enjoy themselves again let alone be admired for leading the world where are children need to be inspired

here are some picks from worldrecordjobs that whose alumni connections we imagine being most vital in 2021 - who'd you add in or subtract

attenborough - over 60 years of purposeful broadcasting- never distracted by the vanity of the media

adam smith and fazle abed - as far as we can see the 2 people who foresaw challenges of loving humans not just machines the most - smith from the startup in 1760, fazle abed on graduation from glasgow U nearly 200 years on from adam- in fazle abed's 5th and last decade of poverty alleviation he came up with a university transformation to adam smith's challenge of everything that can go wrong about higherv education

2020 is the 60th year of von neumann's ai legacy and 5.5 decades on from alumni of gordon moores promise to multiply machine power 100 fold per decade - this suggests the economist's 1984 report on 2025 being the deadline for designing a sustainable globalization remains on track

we're only about 15 years into the new new world where all productive and demanding human behaviours can be traced by mobile gps; what we have seen the consequence that is 95% of the worlds actionable data is new in the last decade; human sustainability now depends on worringly few top notch statisticians- we'd suggest the deepest first benchmark is stanford's fei-fei li but this is the most valuable voting space entrepreneurs have ever seen? so, who do you voite for rsvp chris.macraeyahoo.co.uk

fitting that in 2021 elon musk is ranked as world's wealthiest man- he's probably the billionnaire most clued up about futureoflife.org moreover if humans exist in century 22 they will likely conclude by making solar powered transport imaginable musk helped end the tragic argument between american and chinese powerbrokers- by just doing spt musk proved that like the moon race the winners for advancing the human lot are all who complete the course

Friday, December 25, 2020

ackoff system

one of the challenges of exploring systems theory is you never know what you still most fail to understand until you bump into it

after 9/11 i spent a lot of time listening to people who at least try to see the world in system terms not just numerical extraction-one of the great missing pieces for my mind at that time was this paper of ackoff reproduced below

of course what it may spring in your mind will be different than what it did to me

it reminded me of my graduate and post graduate work in maths - as hunting out systems- i was but a small player compared with guys like steven hawkins whose supercharged wheelchair was quite a liability in the narrow corridors of cambridge department of applied maths and theoretical physics 1972 but i became fascinated by what tv was doing to the data that all our lives are produced around and whether computers would make human mediation better or worse- systems compound trajectories to one of 2 oposite ends not some halway space between better or worse

 ackoff's paper was also a timely reminder to me of einstein bon mots- whenever mans science says there is no more space to innovate men mean they cannot understand more until they go to a more micro level of mapping dynamic interactions- macroeconomists and their associated ruling professions hate eistein when you explain how little they understand about exponential risks

and i had also be re-reading my grandfathers 25 years of shared history with mahatma gandhi up to india's independence and come across einstein correspondence with gandhi- lasting will only be sustainable leaders like mahatma and his attempts to dramatise truth without anger, however urgent and desperate the leadership crisis is to being

systems are also impacted by a curious property of holonic which bteere engineers and architects and some artists understand - by definition a system is both inside bigger systems and contains smaller systems- i have always thought that those whose schooling in maths stopped before calculus and integration are being blocked from seeing all the world has to offer- i now realise in bush's response to the heinous 9/11 much of washington dc looks as if its rush to administrate over people is deprived of calculus and other system mapping views - i hope americans will let youth explore ways out of dc's blindness

a related idea is chaos theory- i have never found the metaphor that a butterfly flapping its wings in the amazon can impact the world's supreme leader- i suggest a more direct exemplar is one mans sneeze somewhere towards the end of 2019 that has become one of nature's final examination questions of every civilisation around the world of the 2020s

May 26, 2004 1
Russell L. Ackoff
The situation the world is in is a mess. This hardly requires documentation; it's
obvious. Furthermore, as Leslie Gelb observed (1991), the prospects for
improvement are not promising:
...the emerging world requires a new foreign policy agenda, and fresh
faces to execute that agenda. The trouble is, the same old "experts" are
still running foreign policy and most of them only dimly understand the
world they preside over. Indeed, few people today, in or out of
Government, have the background and skills to grasp, let alone direct, the
new agenda. ( p. 50)

Reform will not do it; transformations are required, two kinds. First a
transformation of the way nations and international institutions handle global
affairs and second, a transformation in the way systems thinkers collectively
conduct the systems movement. The second must come first if we hope to have
any effect on the global mess.

Reformations and transformations are not the same thing. Reformations are
concerned with changing the means systems employ to pursue their objectives.
Transformations involve changes in the objectives they pursue. Peter Drucker put
this distinction dramatically when he said there is a difference between doing
things right (the intent of reformations) and doing the right thing (the intent of

The righter we do the wrong thing, the wronger we become. When we make a
mistake doing the wrong thing and correct it, we become wronger. When we
make a mistake doing the right thing and correct it, we become righter.
Therefore, it is better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right. This
is very significant because almost every problem confronting our society is a
result of the fact that our public policy makers are doing the wrong things and are
trying to do them righter. Consider a few examples.

The United States has a higher percentage of its population in prison than any
other country, and simultaneously has the highest crime rate. We have more
people in prison than are attending college and universities, and it cost more per
year to incarcerate them than to educate them. Something is fundamentally

Most who are imprisoned are subsequently released. As criminologists have
shown those released have a higher probability of committing a crime when they
come out than when they went in, and it is likely to be a more serious crime.
Prison is a school for learning criminality, not a correctional institution.

In quality the health care system of the United States is ranked 37th by the World
Health Organization. We are the only developed country without universal
coverage; about 42 million people in our country have no health care assured.
Moreover, study after study has shown that much of the need for the care that is
provided is created by the care that is given; excess surgery, incorrect diagnoses,
wrong drugs prescribed or administered, unnecessary tests. The fact is that the
so-called health care system can survive only as long as there are people who
are sick or disabled. Therefore, whatever the intent of its servers, the system can
only assure its survival by creating and preserving illness and disability. We have
a self-maintaining sickness- and disability-care system, not a health care system.

The objectives that must be changed in transformations are not usually those that
are proclaimed; rather they are the one actually pursued. For example, most
corporation proclaim maximization of shareholder value as their primary objective.
Any objective observer of corporate behavior knows that this is an illusion. As a
study conducted a while back at GE showed, the principal objective of
corporations is to maximize the security, standard of living, and quality of life of
those making the decisions. Recent disclosures at Enron and WorldCom, among
others, made this abundantly clear.

A similar discrepancy between objective proclaimed and objective practiced can
be observed in most organizations. For example, one could mistakenly believe
that the principal objective of universities is to educate students. What a myth!
The principal objective of a university is to provide job security and increase the
standard of living and quality of life of those members of the faculty and
administration who make the critical decisions. Teaching is a price faculty
members must pay to share in the benefits provided. Like any price, they try to
minimize it. Note that the more senior and politically powerful teaching members
of the faculty are, the less teaching they do.

Transformations not only require recognition of the difference between what is
practiced and what is preached — a transformation called for years ago by
Donald Schon (1971) — it also requires a transformation in the way we think.
Einstein put it powerfully and succinctly:
Without changing our patterns of thought we will not be able to solve the
problems we created with our current patterns of thought.

I believe the pattern of thought that is required is systemic. It is difficult if at all
possible to reduce the meaning of "systemic thinking" to a brief definition.
Nevertheless, I try.

Systemic thinking is holistic versus reductionistic thinking, synthetic versus
analytic. Reductionistic and analytic thinking derives properties of wholes from
the properties of their parts. Holistic and synthetic thinking derive properties of
parts from properties of the whole that contains them. The creation of the
department of Homeland Security is a prime example of reductionistic and
analytical thinking; the whole formed by the aggregation of existing parts. In
contrast, when an architect designs a house he first sketches the house as a
whole and then puts rooms into it. The principal criterion he employs in
evaluating a room is what effect it has on the whole. He is even willing to make a
room worse if doing so will make the house better.

In general, those who make public policy and engage in public decision making do
not understand that improvement in the performance of parts of a system taken
separately may not, and usually does not, improve performance of the system as
a whole. In fact, it may make system performance worse or even destroy it.
We have not effectively communicated such thoughts to public policy and
decision makers. What should we be communicating to them that would, if
heeded, transform our global society into one that is just and equitable, one that
would reduce if not eliminate the maldistribution of wealth, quality of life, and
opportunity? In other words: what should we communicate and be doing that
could promote development of the world and its parts by changing the way public
policies and decisions are made?

Up to now, those of us in systems have had little or no effect on the global mess.
Nevertheless, I believe there is a role that we could play in the dissolution of this
mess. What and how might we contribute to its dissolution?

I think we can contribute by making public policy and decision makers aware of
ideas and concepts that would enable them to think more creatively and
effectively about the mess the world is in. Here I discuss only a few systemic
ideas and processes that I wish they understood. There are many others but I
would settle for their grasping this much.

The ideas and concepts I identify here are familiar to most systems thinkers even
if they would express hem differently. I include them here not to inform them but
to call their attention to aspects of systems thinking that I believe they should
communicate to public policy and decision makers.

I hope we can help public policy and decision makers realize that development
and growth are not the same thing. Neither presupposes the other. Rubbish
heaps grow but do not develop. Einstein continued to develop long after he
stopped growing. Some nations grow larger without developing. and others
develop without growing.

Growth is an increase in size or number. Development is an increase in
competence, the ability to satisfy ones needs and desires and those of others.
Growth is a matter of earning; development is a matter of learning. Standard of
living is an index of national growth; quality of life is an index of its development.
Development is not a matter of how much one has but how much one can do with
whatever one has. This is why Robinson Crusoe is a better model of
development than J. Pierpont Morgan.

The quality of life that an individual or group can achieve obviously depends on
both their competence and their wealth. Of two societies with the same level of
competence the one with the most wealth can achieve the higher quality of life.
But of two societies with the same resources, the one with the greater
competence can achieve a higher quality of life.

Because development is a matter of learning, one cannot do it for another. The
only kind of development possible is self-development. However, one can
facilitate the development of another by encouraging and supporting their
learning. Nations must stop acting as though they can solve other nations'
problems. Nations, like individuals, learn less from the successes of others than
from their own mistakes.

One never learns from doing things right because, obviously, one already knows
how to do it. What one derives from doing something right is confirmation of what
one already knows. This has value, but it is not learning. One can only learn
from mistakes, by identifying and correcting them. But all through school and in
most places of employment we are taught that making mistakes is a bad thing.
Therefore, we try to hide or deny those we make. To the extent we succeed, we
preclude learning

Furthermore, there are two types of mistakes: errors of commission, doing
something we should not have done; and errors of omission, not doing something
we should have done. Examination of the failures or crises that organizations and
institutions have experienced reveals that errors of omission are the more serious.
For example, In the latter part of the last century IBM got into serious trouble
because it failed to pay attention to the development of small computers, and
Kodak got into its current trouble for failing to focus on the development of digital
photography until others had successfully staked a claim to it.

Our public and private accounting systems record only the less important type of
mistake, errors of commission. Therefore, for executives who want to maximize
their job security in a public or private organization that deprecates mistakes and
ignores errors of omission, the best strategy is to do nothing or as little as
possible. This is the root of the conservatism that permeates the world today.
This nation, I believe, has never had an administration as reluctant to
acknowledge its errors as the one currently in office. Because of this it has
precluded the possibility of its learning.

We need to learn a great deal more about learning. Our schools at all levels are
devoted more to teaching than to learning. For example, it is apparent to anyone
who has taught others that the teacher learns more than the students do.
Teaching is a much better way to learn than being taught. Schools are upside
down. Students ought to be teaching and faculty members should be learning
how to help others learn and how to motivate them to do so.

A student once stopped me in the hall and asked, "Professor, when did you teach
your first class?" That was easy: I answered, "September of 1941." "Wow!" he
said, "You have been teaching for a very long time." I agreed. Then he asked,
"When was the last time you taught a course in a subject that existed when you
were a student?" This question required some thought but finally I got it. and
answered, "September of 1951." He said, "Do mean to say that everything you
have taught for about fifty years you had to learn without having it taught to you?"
I said, "Yes." "Wow,” he said again. "Your must be a pretty good learner." I
modestly agreed. He continued, "What a pity you are not that good a teacher."
He had it right: faculty members know how to learn better than they know how to
teach. Therefore, they should be acting as resources to students who are either
engaged in teaching others, or learning on their own or with others cooperatively.

One of the great gifts I received from West Churchman, whose life we will
remember and celebrate tonight, is that he let me go through graduate school
teaching most of the courses I needed to take for graduation.
Democracy has to be learned. It cannot be imposed on others. It must be
learned by experiencing it. It does not come to us naturally. All of us are brought
up by adults who, even in permissive families, are authorities who control us or
set limits within which we have freedom. In effect, we are raised in autocratic
structures however benevolent they may be. Therefore, in a sense autocracy is
more natural than democracy.

I was once involved in a project in Mexico which taught me how democracy could
be learned. A group of us from several Mexican universities and a government
agency were able to make available to a very remote Indian village in the Sierra
Madras Mountains a substantial sum of money the village could use for its
development. It alone had to make the decisions as to how to use the money but
it had to make these decisions democratically. The only power the team of which
I was a part had was to veto any decisions not made democratically and which did
not involve development. Town meetings were initiated fin the square in the
center of the village, and after a series of tries the village members learned how to
make decisions democratically. They also learned and difference between
development and welfare.

... man has been able to grow enthusiastic over his vision of ...
unconvincing enterprises. He has pit himself to work for the sake of an
idea, seeking by magnificent exertions to arrive at the incredible. And in
the end, he has arrived there. Beyond all doubt it is one of the vital
sources of man's power, to be thus able to kindle enthusiasm from the
mere glimmer of something improbable, difficult, remote. (1966,p.1)
Now, what might the systems community do about the deficiencies I have
discussed? Clearly we must learn how through communication to make public
policy and decision makers aware of these deficiencies and what to do about
them. We are not doing so now. Most of our communication is addressed to
each other, not to public policy and decision makers. Our communication is
based on our needs not those of others. With the intent of changing this I have
several proposals.

First, our principal professional organization, the International Federation for
Systems Research, should publish a journal addressed to public policy and
decision makers who can affect the global mess. Through expository articles and
case studies the journal should help them come to understand systems thinking
and its use in their work. It should be distributed to them at no cost. The
Federation should cover the cost, if necessary by voluntary contributions of its

The Journal, possibly called Systems Thinking in Public Affairs, should be
supplemented by at least one conference per year held at a site at which a major
multigovernmental institution is located. Public policy and decision makers should
be invited mostly to discuss their problems and listen to unconventional systemic
approaches to them.

In addition, those of us who think of ourselves as system thinkers should
contribute to those publications that are read by those in public life whom we want
to affect. We should also try to make presentations at conferences they attend.
Our professional societies should make it their responsibility to facilitate such
participation by informing us of relevant opportunities and, where possible, by
arranging jointly sponsored meetings.
Finally, we should engage in assisting development efforts of less developed
countries, regions, communities, and neighborhoods. This does not mean
imposing our solutions on them but assisting them in implementing their proposed
solutions to their problems, even if they are wrong. They can develop more by
making their own mistakes than by imitating our successes.
Systems thinking produces radical and potentially revolutionary visions of public
institutions. Nothing short of such visions can transform the state of world affairs.
I believe we have an obligation to the global society of which we are a part to
make every possible effort to bring about a radical transformation of that society
into one in which our children do not have to contend with the mess we have
created and are exacerbating.
May 26, 2004 11
_____________________________________________________________* •
For an effort to redesign our society and its major institutions, see
Redesign Society by Russell L. Ackoff and Sheldon Rovin, Stanford University
Press, Stanford, California, 2003.
Gelb, Leslie H., "Fresh Faces" in The New York Times, December 8, 1991,pp. 50-
Ortega y Gasset, José, Mission of the University, Norton, New York, 1966.
Schon, Donald A., Beyond the Stable State, Random House, New York, 1971.