Systems thinking, politics vs. government LO10073

Dr. Ivan Blanco (BLANCO@BU4090.BARRY.EDU)
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 9:42:02 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO9842 --

> From:
> In a message dated 96-09-02, Ivan Blanco writes:
> > Politicians are barriers to the development of organizational learning, I
> > think. They do not respond to the same things the rest of the people
> > respond to. The master the art of what is possible (Russell Ackoff), and
> > never really consider what is impossible. The status quo is a great
> > temptation.
> Ivan,
> I have to question your assertion that politicians do not respond as other
> people do. What makes you say that? I suspect that, if you look at
> things closely, you'll find that politicians are responding to their
> particular environment as other people would.
I believe that I am learning little by little to understand or
accept that everyones does things for a reason. That everyone is a
rational individual. In this sense politicians are not different that
many of us. What I was saying is that politicians, for the most part,
find the way to keep the status quo. This is so even after they go through
lengthy discussions, committee investigations, etc. This status quo is
one that allows then to keep their jobs. They do so by responding to
their environments, as you say, or responding to what they interpret out
the environemental cues.

Politicians are elected by the people. As such, they promise
these people to take care of their problems and concerns. But to be
elected, politicians need tons of money to run their campaigns. This
money does not normally come from the people who vote for them. It comes
from particular interest groups (industry, non-profit, and other groups).
This interest groups give to gain some ... many times what they want is
not what the people want, and politicians most respond to the money givers
first. You secure the money for your campaign, then you can use the money
to promise people the same things over and over, and so ...

> I'd like to make a connection to the Dialogue thread: [someone] suggested
> a relevant technique for improving understanding - accept what the other
> person says as true, and then deduce the perspective that would lead to
> that truth. I think whenever we separate other people from ourselves we
> are missing deeper connections. [Someone famous] said, "All that is human
> is not foreign to me." I take this to mean not that we are all the same,
> but that who we are is, to a great extent, the result of accident and
> circumstance beyond our control.

I have been trying to practice the "understand first, to then demand to be
inderstood" (Steven Covey and others). You are right. I believe that
the situation of the polititians above is as systemic as the situation all
of us respond to. The difference may not be in the politicians per se,
but in the political system. If we, for instance, had a system where
politicians first come up with the ideas on how to resolve people's
problems, sell those ideas to the people to gain support (economic and
otherwise) to continue to sell the ideas to more people...

> If politicians as a group are different than other people, it is because
> the political system differentially selects for a certain type of person.
> If want different behaviors from our politicians, and even if we want
> politicians to be a different kind of person as a group, what we need to
> think about is how to change the system to encourage that behavior and to
> select for the personality characteristics we desire.
> - Jeff (

I don't think that I said any extraordinary thing. I believe that we are
all members of a different group of people. I am a academic at a catholic
university, private and small. That defines for many people a difference
when compared to professors at a large, state supported university, where
research is emphasized, and large classes is the thing. Consultants as a
group are also different. So are medical doctors...

And you are aboslutely right. Changing the system is probably the
solution to many behavioral problems. That's why Deming said (in the If
Japan Why Can't We), "let the system talk to you."

-- Ivan,


*************************************************************** R. IVAN BLANCO, Ph.D. Voice 305 899-3515 Assoc. Prof. & Director Fax 305 892-6412 International Business Programs Andreas School of Business _________E-Mail Addresses________ Barry University Bitnet: Blanco%bu4090@Barryu Miami Shores, FL 33161-6695 Internet: <<<<< ---------------- >>>>> "Si un hombre fuera necesario para sostener el Estado, este Estado no deberia existir." "If one man were necessary to sustain a Nation, this Nation should not exist." Simon Bolivar ===============================================================

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