The London School of Economics and Political Science blog site carries an evocative – if not provocative – post from a Senior Researcher at the Centre for European Studies, at the University of Oslo. The post is nine months old, and hasn’t drawn much response – however, the commentary does beg for an audience. Plato indeed may have set the Western tradition innocently in search of philosopher kings, and technocracy may have now quite fully co-opted Plato’s intentions for inquiry with proclamations from elite-led multilateral economic institutions. It may be time to begin again.
We share Professor Ison’s concerns. A split in systemic thinking erupted in the origins of the Club of Rome in 1970. An original proposal by Hasan Ozbekhan and Aleco Christakis offered 49 Continuous Critical Problems (CCPs) and argued for a dialogical method for dealing with them. This dialogue-based proposal was rejected in favor of an expert-design System Dynamics approach that resulted in the publication of The Limits to Growth. As a result of the report and parallel efforts, system dynamics became a dominating example of systemic thinking.
Democracy is in the business of continually creating a new narrative … oral, textual, and graphic … that can move through and transform communities. While some voices within the Club of Rome have railed against the shortfalls of distorted democracy (and we can see their points), there are few alternative governance approaches which we feel can carry our faith through the changing cycles of national leadership.
Agoras received an invitation from Roberto Peccei, son of Aurelio Peccei, to attend the 40th anniversary celebration of the publication of The Limits to Growth at a special Club of Rome session at the Smithsonian. We sent a small delegation. Roberto extended this invitation during a cordial conversation in which Aleco and Roberto traded stories about Aurelio. Afterward Aleco said that he kept flashing back to discussions with Aurelio because Roberto sounded just like his father.