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Rod, your response is itself indicative of a slightly more open  
system. It gets back to my interchange with Frank and the issue of  
boundaries.

Nice to hear from you, even it is your expression of irritation. I am  
sure any counter-balanc would be welcome. And, Rod, it's important to  
note that there is not at all a homogeneous set of ideas dominating  
this community
On 5 Dec 2008, at 15:45, ROD THOMAS wrote:

> Dear All,
>
> If I could rant too:
>
> One of the problems with this list is that its also very close to  
> being a closed system. It rarely makes reference to anything but  
> itself or Stafford. It regularly has a pop at managers and academics  
> for being stupid or unenlightened. I have time for only three  
> observations:
>
> 1. ONE of the reasons that systems thinking has such a weak foothold  
> in academia is that conventional wisdom believes it to have been  
> well examined, debated critically, and found wanting. I do not  
> myself agree with this judgement, but it is probably easy to find  
> instances of criticism being unanswered - especially in management  
> literature. Stafford himself was hardly a super example of someone  
> who took the trouble to respond to critics. If you don't argue your  
> case in Court - then you can hardly be surprised when the Court  
> forms a judgement against you. I'm afraid a self selected list  
> server is no place to argue the case.
>
> 2. There ARE powerful advocates of systemic modelling in the social  
> sciences. In 2007, the leading journal, Philosophy of Social  
> Sciences, published a special edition on systems thinking to examine  
> the work of one such person - Mario Bunge. Bunge himself has  
> published numerous books and articles on his social philosophy - a  
> part of which carefully examines all modes of individualism and  
> finds them wanting. But he does not fall into the holistic  
> authoritarianism that I sometimes detect on this list server, the  
> problem that was always the bete noire of holism throughtout the  
> ages - including managemnet cybernetics. Bunge is a physicist,  
> logician and philosopher.  His epistemological realism might not be  
> to the taste of all Metaphorum members!
>
> 3. The problems with mainstream economics are well known. Even to  
> some economists. There are many books about it - not least Omerod's  
> 'The Death of Economics'. Or Mirowski - 'Economics becomes a cyborg  
> science'. Indeed, the claim that the economic organization of  
> society is fundamental for all social institutions was labelled  
> 'economism' by Karl Popper back in 1945. Popper identified it with  
> Marx - now Marxism is the new capitalism!. One of Popper's students  
> _ M.A. Nortuno -  is a brilliant critic of economism - see his paper  
> in a journal called 'Critical Review' in 2006.
>
> In short.... there is a world out there.... and not all academics  
> are nearly as stupid as some list serve contributors might suppose.
>
> Best,
> Rod Thomas
>
>
>
>    -- On Fri, 5/12/08, Luc Hoebeke <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> From: Luc Hoebeke <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: little rant prompted by Stefan, though in thread with  
> Frank
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Friday, 5 December, 2008, 1:04 PM
>
> Dear Roger,
>
> I try to paraphrase what I understood from your little rant.
>
> Having worked with directors of SME's in Barcelona, which in spite of
> all the crisis talk are doing good business although a bit more
> stressful because of the "crisis", I can refer how they look at their
>
> role in society. Wealth and well-being are generated through
> relations, in fact variety in the cybernetic sense. Policy makers and
> big organizations are in the business of breaking relations, relations
> with their workers and employees, relations with their voters,
> relations with people in general, hence than cannot do anything else
> than create scarcity (monoculture as Allenna would say). This is
> because the only variety-reduction mechanism they understand is divide
> to rule, practically to classify everything neatly in boxes or EXCEL
> cells. What is called economy of scale are scarcity creating machines,
> because the way they define efficiency is by looking at their
> entreprises(cost and profit centres) as closed systems. The cost of
> breaking relations and the ensueing desertification is left for the
> many: costs socialized and profits (stemming from this pseudo-
> efficiency) privatized. What happens with the banks and now with the
> automotive industry in the USA is a shameful example of the ineptness
> of mainstream economical theory, which starts from the premice that
> the basic unit of decision is the individual ,as if an identity, even
> of an individual, is not a relational concept (as in the VSM). That is
> the reason why I am engaging in "systems" thinking and practice, by
> rebuilding relations where they have been severed. Wealth and well-
> being are the normal subproducts, mostly not to be found in
> accounting. Accounting is doing as if nothing is linked to other
> items, only by addition. There we go for accountability. Instead of
> asking who is guilty, the question is what are the severed relations
> which create the concept of guiltiness and the ensueing lack of wealth
> and wellbeing.
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Luc
>
>
> Op 5-dec-08, om 13:06 heeft Roger Harnden het volgende geschreven:
>
> > Frank, I think it is all tangled up with concepts  like 'paradigms,
> > 'dominant logic', 'horizon'.
> >
> > And the systemic tendency in our modern form of capitalism then
> > dominates and seeks to claim any middle ground in its imposition of
> > things like 'political correctness' , 'freedom',
> democracy,
> > 'equality' all of which then become denatured, leaving the
> > individuals who genuinely aspire towards living such values, adrift.
> >
> > For a concrete example (and I'll make an effort to contain my own
> > sliding into jargon, here):
> >
> > A lot of us are old enough  to remember those debates in the
> > seventies and eighties about the nature of future work and leisure;
> > the impact of ever increasing automation etc. We all did our bit of
> > reading of Toffler, Barry Sherman, Giles Merritt etc. And I, for one
> > (because I am intrinsically the sort of lost spirit to which Stefan
> > refers), genuinely looked forward to a future in which time spent on
> > paid work became less and time spent on leisure (unpaid work) became
> > more. Because, I intuited that the SURPLUS created by the excess
> > would not flow into unregulated money markets and service industries
> > created specifically to soak up such excess, but would flow towards
> > what I call HUMAN values - welfare, education, health, sustainable
> > development, dissemination of wealth world-wide.
> >
> > The truly shocking thing to me in the current crisis, is that we
> > have all been made aware of the fantastically enormous scale of that
> > money squirrelled away into a more-or-less closed system, called
> > 'the markets' 9which, ironiocally, are nothing to do with our
> > traditional view of markets, in which people of all sorts came
> > together socially, to present and exchange goods and services to one
> > another. As we all now know, automation did in fact generate
> > enormous surplus,. It is now real (not speculative) and in amounts
> > far exceeding what we then dreamt, or what anyone has been telling
> > citizens. And, as we have come to witness the real scale of these
> > accrued surplus' it is truly horrific and INHUMAN to see what a
> > small ration would be needed to revolutionise many many aspects of
> > many many societies world-wide, as well as our own. But this is
> > still treated as a 'blindspot' in our social and economic
> discourse.
> >
> > So in fact what we have in terms of our economic social
> > organisation, is formal social organisations becoming filled with
> > more and more people (even though, historically speaking there are
> > less and less employees), doing increasingly overlapping tasks.
> > Organisations are becoming ever more SPONGY, unaccountable and
> > inhuman. The unaccountability is because (just like the unaccounted
> > and invisible funds) no one wants to expose the SPONGINESS (think of
> > baby P etc).
> >
> > And, so we are in an economic climate where everyone (in whatever
> > profession) feels the need to work harder and harder, yet cover more
> > and more things, and do worse and worse at their core job, because
> > they are spread so thin - instead of a situation -0surely more human
> > - in which people are able to spend more focused time on their core
> > occupation because more people are employed to take account of the
> > variety of tasks needing to be done well in a coordinated fashion.
> >
> > At the same time, we have NO increase in LEISURE time - though we do
> > have  a massive increase in LEISURE SPEND.
> >
> > So, Stefan, my Karma might have been bad, but so has been the karma
> > for our present economic, social national and international systems.
> >
> > And, Frank, I do not think this is confronting cybernetics with an
> > insurmountable challenge, because I think it can be captured
> > (indicated - GSB)_ and defined (distinguished - GSB), and addressed
> > through various aspects of cybernetic thinking. Once more, the issue
> > of the impact of cybernetics is, more, I believe to do with our
> > confidence as to our identity, and a more clearly ennunciated
> > message (inside our community and outside to the world) about what
> > we actually DO. This concerns languaging, as we have variously
> > talked about over the years, including the specific terms used, for
> > example, about the various VSM systems.
> >
> > Roger
> > On 4 Dec 2008, at 23:39, Frank wrote:
> >
> >> Roger,
> >> thanks for a powerful and interesting reply.
> >>
> >> There's not much more that I can add to it.
> >>
> >> I suppose on one level when I wade through the academese I see
> >> myself as outside but when I'm writing as here, I see myself as
> >> inside. Although I may come across as critical of academese, I'm
> >> critical in the context of is there going to be steps to get
> >> cybernetics out to businesses and businessmen?
> >>
> >> Maybe it's a case of a ferment. Where something practical emerges
>
> >> out of the theorising and then this is taken to the "masses"
> so to
> >> speak. By practical I mean something that can be used by
> >> consultants as they implement the principles of cybernetics.
> >>
> >> But of course there will be massive problems. Organisation man will
> >> not take kindly to cybernetics. Take the Law of Requisite Variety.
> >> It's true that knowledge is power. In this case knowledge of the
> >> processes of an organisation is also responsibility. Which means
> >> that when something ends in disaster no one can say "I didn't
> know
> >> what was happening". So proper controls a la Law of Requisite
> >> Variety will be fiercely resisted by all, right down to the shop
> >> floor.
> >>
> >> Regards
> >>
> >> Frank
> >>
> >> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Roger Harnden"
> <[log in to unmask]
> >> >
> >> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> >> Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 11:52 AM
> >> Subject: Metaphorum Identity - outside and inside
> >>
> >>
> >> Frank,
> >>
> >> I think this relates to Javier's words on S3/S4 activities of the
> >> Metaphorum community. As he indicates, RH is clearly S4, and has
> >> littler interest unless forced, in moving from that identity. The
> >> only
> >> problem is that there needs to be further S3 input - not that RH S4
> >> ceases or becomes S3. And I think you are proposing the need for  
> that
> >> in a particular domain (in other words, in some such thing as
> >> LISTSERVE).
> >>
> >> Your comparison may or may not be apposite, and as we have both
> >> indicated it might be tackled by one of two main ways:
> >>
> >> 1. clearer, more accessible language
> >> 2. a different listserve.
> >>
> >> However, a real issue, indicated by this very interaction between
> >> myself and you, is that the advise (from you) is advice from  
> outside,
> >> as it were. In other words, though participating you are adopting  
> the
> >> position of an outsider to something that HAS insiders. This is a
> >> fascinating issue of Boundaries (which Russell has commented on  
> in a
> >> somewhat different context in the wiki).
> >>
> >> Because, over the months and years, this sort of mixed dialogue has
> >> been quite regular. Now I don't know whether this is
> characteristic
> >> of
> >> this sort of forum. or pathological (in other words) indicating
> >> something wrong with this particular forum). You are talking with  
> me
> >> as if I am an INSIDER, but, Frank, I am talking with you as also an
> >> INSIDER. This is a fascinating instance of the play of structure  
> and
> >> organisation in practice (M&V). The shifting configurations of
> >> structure in this instance are individuals coming and going, and
> >> through their coming and going and recurrent interactions, coupling
> >> Metaphorum to a niche (that itself is instanced by individuals  
> coming
> >> and going). However, for the OBSERVER (in this case RH and FW)  
> there
> >> is a meta-level coupling (In Pasks's language CONVERSATION) in
> which
> >> the two individuals CHOOSE their operational reality in a Spencer
> >> Brown manner. In this first instance, you are Choosing outside
> >> Metaphorum which has RH as inside; but I am choosing inside
> >> Metaphorum
> >> as including FW).
> >>
> >> For those practitioners amongst us, this should be quite valuable  
> and
> >> interesting in indicating new tools and methods, because, guys, it
> >> goes on all the time in terms of social organisations which are in
> >> some shape or form 'organisationally' closed, but
> 'informationally'
> >> open.
> >>
> >> So there's a good old paradox. Are you in or are you out? Is RH in
> or
> >> is he out?
> >>
> >> Now, for me (and I am not saying this is the case for others) the
> >> present LISTSERVE should service this ambiguity, because that  
> domain
> >> of uncertainty is at the heart of any learning domain. But you are
> >> 100% correct, that a learning domain is very different from a sales
> >> or
> >> marketing domain.
> >>
> >> Roger
> >>
> >> On 3 Dec 2008, at 23:57, Roger Harnden wrote:
> >>
> >>> Yes,
> >>>
> >>> I suppose what I am saying is that there should be another space
>
> >>> that IS explicitly outward facing, but that LISTSERVE members
> >>> have  access to for their outwardfacingness.
> >>>
> >>> Or doesn't that make sense?
> >>> Roger
> >>> On 3 Dec 2008, at 23:23, Frank wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> Roger,
> >>>> agreed. I was on the Complex-M listserv for some years. It was
>
> >>>> intimate and personal and we had our rows like any family :-)
>
> >>>> and  it was a great mix of professioanals, academics and
> managers
> >>>> and we  for the most part all spoke in a clear language and
> those
> >>>> that  didn't were from time to time pulled up on it.
> >>>>
> >>>> I'm not quite sure what you mean by "a platform for
> individuals
> >>>> to launch themselves."
> >>>>
> >>>> Unless you are going to plan a separate listserv along the
> above
> >>>> line you will not get much interest from business. IMO anyway.
> >>>>
> >>>> Frank
> >>>>
> >>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Roger Harnden"
> <[log in to unmask]
> >>>> >
> >>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> >>>> Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2008 11:15 PM
> >>>> Subject: Re: Toward a viable economy #2
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> Frank
> >>>>
> >>>> Should Listseve be that 'outward facing' space?
> Isn't and shouldn't
> >>>> LISTSERVE be something more intimate and personal, but provide
> the
> >>>> platform for individuals to launch themselves?
> >>>>
> >>>> ROger
> >>>> On 3 Dec 2008, at 23:01, Frank wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>> I think it was John Warfield that spoke of context,
> content and
> >>>>> process. So which comes first?
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Will the content determine the context and process?
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Will the context determine the content and process?
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Will the process determine the content and context?
> >>>>>
> >>>>> As regards a new Listserv, could it be a place where
> everything
> >>>>> is discussed in clear English? The reason being that in
> order
> >>>>> to   succeed in this project we need to be able to attract
>
> >>>>> businessmen  at  all levels.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Regards
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Frank
> >>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "BARRY A
> CLEMSON" <[log in to unmask]
> >>>>> >
> >>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> >>>>> Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2008 10:04 PM
> >>>>> Subject: Toward a viable economy #2
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> The big question is “how do we get cybernetic control
> systems
> >>>>> into  the
> >>>>> discussion for reforming the world financial system?”
> >>>>>
> >>>>> All of us, me too, have been pretty much wringing our
> hands “woe
> >>>>> is
> >>>>> me” I don’t know how to get anybody to listen. Enough
> of that
> >>>>> crap. I
> >>>>> don’t want to have to tell my grandchildren that I
> didn’t try.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> We need to systematically see whom we can recruit to build
>
> >>>>> support  for
> >>>>> this effort. There are two different levels of support we
> can
> >>>>> ask  for:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> 1) the world needs management cybernetics, or, as a
> fall-back
> >>>>> position
> >>>>> 2) the insights of cybernetics/systems/feedback loops
> provide
> >>>>> powerful
> >>>>> tools for designing regulatory systems that would be far
> >>>>> superior to
> >>>>> what we have now.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Clearly we would like people to stand up and say we need
> >>>>> management
> >>>>> cybernetics. But there are a lot of super-stars out there
> (Russell
> >>>>> Ackoff, Peter Senge, Jay Forrester, John Warfield) who
> will
> >>>>> certainly
> >>>>> support the second and that would be a big step.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> We have at least a couple of months before people start
> seriously
> >>>>> thinking about what sort of controls should be put into
> place on
> >>>>> the
> >>>>> global financial system. For at least a few months
> everyone will
> >>>>> be
> >>>>> too busy trying to put out fires to even think about a new
> control
> >>>>> system.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Crises bring out both the best and worst in people.
> Therefore,
> >>>>> hoping
> >>>>> for the best, I think we should try to think of superstars
> that we
> >>>>> might possibly enlist in our campaign. The worst that will
>
> >>>>> happen is
> >>>>> that they will say no.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> I have been out of academia for ten years so I am woefully
> out of
> >>>>> date, but here is my initial brainstorm of people we
> should try to
> >>>>> enlist:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Russell Ackoff
> >>>>> Peter Senge
> >>>>> Jay Forrester
> >>>>> Jay Forrester, Jr, some years back was head of research
> for a
> >>>>> big  oil
> >>>>> company and was doing System Dynamics for them
> >>>>> Chuck Keating, former president of Engineering Management
>
> >>>>> Society  and
> >>>>> my PhD student and later my colleague.
> >>>>> Bill Reckmeyer has lots of contacts all over the place
> >>>>> John Sutherland
> >>>>> Stuart Umpleby has a very effective laid back style that
> >>>>> encourages
> >>>>> people to try new things and Stuart is in DC
> >>>>> Gordon Pask’s old contacts in the US military
> >>>>> Warren Buffet (yes, that Buffet)
> >>>>> George Soros (was once supportive of Friedman and later
> became
> >>>>> critical of him)
> >>>>> Paul Krugman, nobel laureate in Economics and NYTimes
> columnist
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Now, I have a couple of suggestions for your consideration
> (please
> >>>>> improve upon all of this – I consider everything I have
> said
> >>>>> here  as a
> >>>>> starting point that I hope the rest of you will chew up
> and
> >>>>> improve).
> >>>>> That said, I suggest:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> - a new list serve dedicated to trying to 1) get these
> ideas
> >>>>> into  the
> >>>>> conversation and 2) designing the outlines of a new
> control system
> >>>>>
> >>>>> - everyone of us should brainstorm possible allies to get
> the
> >>>>> ideas
> >>>>> considered. Then we should all help think about how to
> contact
> >>>>> these
> >>>>> people. For instance, I know Ackoff but haven’t spoken
> to him
> >>>>> in  more
> >>>>> than 20 years so I am unlikely to be the best one to
> approach
> >>>>> him).
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Barry
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Oh, boy. Fear and trembling. I feel like Gandalf
> confronting the
> >>>>> balrog: "I'm already tired"
> >>>>>
> >>>>> ===================================================
> >>>>>
> >>>>> BARRY A CLEMSON
> >>>>> [log in to unmask]
> >>>>>
> >>>>> 757-692-6673
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Cybernetica Press at www.cyberneticapress.com
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> "It's not how much you do - it's how much
> love you put in it....
> >>>>> Do
> >>>>> small things with great love."
> >>>>>        --- Mother Teresa ---
> >>>>>
> >>>>> The true warrior may be killed, but he can not be
> defeated.
> >>>>> --- my paraphrase of Sensei Hamada ---
> >>>>>
> >>>>> And peace rolled down like a mighty river.
> >>>>>   -- Inspired by the prophet Amos 5:24--
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> "An enemy is a person whose story we have not
> heard."
> >>>>>       -- Gene Knudsen Hoffman --
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >>>>> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
> >>>>>
> >>>>> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment
> (MCWE) go
> >>>>> to: www.platformforchange.org
> >>>>>
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> >>>>> Tested on: 03/12/2008 22:27:18
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> >>>>> http://www.avast.com
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> >> Virus Database (VPS): 081203-0, 03/12/2008
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>
> Archive of CYBCOM eList available at -
> http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For  
> more information go to: www.metaphorum.org For the Metaphorum  
> Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to: www.platformforchange.org 
>  METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html 
>  Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html 
>  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org

For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:  www.platformforchange.org

METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html

Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~