Cultural Dilemma LO5286

Virginia I. Shafer (
Thu, 1 Feb 1996 11:20:36 -0700

Replying to LO5217 --

This msg from Jan Lelie forwarded to list with his permission.

>Hi Ginger,
>I love dilemma's. Whenever you make a choice, it will be the wrong one. Not
>because it was the wrong choice, but because somehow a choice will lead to a
>situation in which the choice will appear to be the wrong one.
>I send this only to you because i have no idea how this answer will be
>interpreted by others. Perhaps you can give an advice.
>you wrote:
>> ponder what caused the cultural shift as Needham eloquently displays. I
>> have my theory what the cause may be, but I would truly enjoy hearing your
>> thoughts. I would especially value the opinions of those of you who observe
>> the USA from afar.
>To me it suggest a successful growth that has been stopped because it reached
>its boundaries: it has become a tragedy of the commons. In my opinion, the,
>linear, growth , 'caused by', or perhaps better 'enable by', the conditions of
>an 'empty' land, 'poor' people and new technologies will always come to a halt
>when these resources dry up. Because short term effects are more conspicuous
>then long term causes, there has been a reversal of cause and effect in the
>minds of people, which reinforces the situation. This is further complicated as
>one tends to think that the resulting distribution of wealth, when left to
>itself, will be the best justifiable distribution, the most honest, economic and
>effective: again a tragedy of the commons. However, there is no justice 'in
>nature' and small statistical fluctuations within repetitive processes can grow
>unevenly into meta-stable and hypercritical (no longer in balance, but still
>not moving), situations. I think there is also a case of advisary co-operators,
>or what is the archetype called.
>There are a number of very instructive examples in real life i can think of..
>.Even better, if you're still reading, is the cartoon by Adams about Dilbert
>coming back from Elbonia after teaching them capitalism and how to make
>micro-chips from mud. Dogbert says something like: 'great, now they will become
>super-powers too and compete with us' and Dilbert answers, already invisible,
>'no, i also taught them our management techniques'. This captures the dilemma:
>if we practice what we preach, one will not have success, yet it is exactly that
>what we thought brought us our success. The success has gone sour.
>Another example is the quote from Dr Deming that featured in this discussion
>group. I hear him say the same things as your Needham. (The cartoon about
>Dogbert telling how to acquire wealth is also very instructive. For copyright
>reasons i think i better not tell the clue.)
>Do i have a solution? Yes and no. Yes, because we will be 'forced' to find new
>solutions when we want to 'survive', which we want. However these will be very
>radical in the eyes of many of the late 20th century people. Amongst others a
>re-evaluation of work, working hours and organization, a redistribution of
>wealth and power, free time and movies. Perhaps the most difficult part will be
>to re-learn how to use spare or leisure time. It will also involve religion,
>but i'm not sure how. This paradigm shift will have been completed when one
>doesn't understand anymore how we used to live and work, think and feel. No, i
>do not have a solution, because i haven't the foggiest on the details of the
>actual processes. It must have something to do with communicating, trusting and
>cooperating, but i always say that.
>I hope i've helped you in a way.
>See you
>(c) (1996) LOGISENS :-) Jan Lelie
>Tel.: +31 70 3243475
>GSM: +31 65 4685114

Ginger Shafer
The Leadership Dimension
"Bringing Leadership to Life"