TQM & LOs LO11221

Mnr AM de Lange (AMDELANGE@gold.up.ac.za)
Mon, 2 Dec 1996 13:10:19 GMT+2

Ben Compton wrote in LO11200

> In a message dated 96-11-29 22:02:04 EST, At wrote:
> But to me your last paragraph has also an omnious warning: Our present era
> runs on the paradigm of the 'engineer and his machine'. In the not too
> distant future we will be forced by our luxurious use of energy resources
> with high structural entropy to shift our paradigm to something else. The
> following phrase may decribe it: 'the warden and his wildlife'. If we do
> not shift our paradigm timely and spontaneously, think of how much stress
> people will experience when finding themselevs in a world running
> according to the new paradigm.
> --- End of Quote ---
> How true! Little does the world at large see the coming shift. . .

Let me tie this thread (TQM) and the one on symbiosis into one thread for
a while. I will do it in terms of an exemplar which reflects the idea of
'deep ecology'.

Large parts of Africa is covered with soils rich in iron . The iron gives
the soils their red colour. Iron phaspate is insoluable. Thus these soils
should exhibit a phospate deficiency (stunted growth like nitrogen
deficiency). Yet some of these soils are still covered by hundreds of
different species of trees. Unfortunately, deforestation took place on a
devastating scale. So some conservation minded people began to replant
seedlings of these trees on vast areas of bare red land. Very little came
from it. The seedlings all died.

The first research on the problem showed that the seedlings died as a
result of a phosphate deficiency. This was predictable. Then sufficient
phospate was given to the seedlings. They still died! This was
unpredictable. It all happened according to the paradigm 'the engineer and
his machine'. The phosphate had to be mined and concentrated by machines
and to be moved to the site by machines. It all required a lot of external
work because it would never have happened on its own accord. This costly
nonspontaneous solution was worthless.

Then additional research was done on the problem. It was finally
discovered that most of these species of trees (complex plant) were
involved in a mutual symbiosis relationship with a root fungus (simple
plant). The fungus provided the tree roots with phosphate in a soluable
form while the tree roots provided the fungus with other food. All the
spores of this fungus die off after about two years if there are no tree
roots to set live upon. In other words, deforestation of the land resulted
in an irreversible destruction because the mutual symbiosis was destroyed.
Inocculation of the soils around a seedling with minute amounts of soil
containing the live spores of the fungus resulted in remarkable
improvements. This all happened according to the paradigm 'the warden and
his wildlife'.

The word 'warden' comes from the Old English word 'weard'. It derives from
a teutonic stem which means 'become' and 'worth'. A warden is someone who
protects and promotes. In my own language Afrikaans 'become'='word'
(pronounced as ward) and 'worth'= 'werd'. Total Quality Management (TQM)
is to 'become in the worthy' things. One of these worthy things is to
accept the wardenship of symbiosis (mutual and comensal), even in a LO.

Best wishes


At de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa email: amdelange@gold.up.ac.za

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