The Open Source Everything Manifesto Chapter 6 Whole-Systems Thinking Extract I
In The Collapse of Complex Societies, Joseph Tainer concludes that if we are to achieve sustainability and resilience, we must nurture at all levels across all boundaries a culture that elevates “problem-solving” as well as the ability to think strategically–an understanding that everything is connected and that getting a grip on the facts of the matter across all boundaries is an essential first step toward conceptualizing workable solutions to complex challenges.
Truth–the combination of intelligence and integrity as well as transparency–is the foundation for both understanding and eradicating these threats, while moving as quickly as possible toward what should be the human mantra toward the Earth and all species, “First, Do No Harm.”
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David Keys, author of Catastrophe: An Investigation into the Origins of Modern Civilization, tells us that natural catatrophes are treated as remote and improbable until they actually occur. Only those civilizations that plan ahead and are well-organized can respond to disasters as they happen, thus reducing the severity of draught, famile, or other challenges.
What he does not focus on, covered very ably by Ted Steinberg in Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disasters in America, is how systemic corruption among the elites increases the damage caused by natural disasters, as little flexibility or resilience is built into systems designed to reward the few. People are persuaded or allowed to occupy floodplains and other areas prone to disaster; land speculation runs rampant with local government and insurance company complicity; intermediate measures suc has levees are built at public expense. When it all comes crashing down, as with Katrina over New Orleans or the increasingly regular Mississippi River flooding, the rich walk away with their high risks having been amortized, which the poor and minority communities are ruined.
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