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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 --
>>>>>
>>>>>
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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