THE GLOBAL EMERGENCE OF THE SUSTAINABLE GROWTH OF PRODUCTIVITY AND OF QUALITY OF LIFE
If you have ever wondered why, after so much effort and billions upon billions of dollars that are spent every year... there is so much conflict, poverty and environmental degradation in the world...
Have you also wondered why there seems to be no end to those ills?
Are They Human-Behaviour Challenges?
...or Are They Structural Problems?
For a long time, the civil, human rights and international development communities have been focusing on a multitude of grievances and intractable situations that in most countries impede the improvement of wellbeing and the sustainable growth of labour productivity. However, most of the money spent on the improvement of civil and human rights, on the reduction of conflict and alleviation of poverty, and on the protection of the environment appears to be wasted because there has been no agreement on what is the best thing to do.
Some experts in the subject have pointed out that since there are so many social factors, and due to the resulting complexity of human dynamics, there can be no activity or practice that fits all situations. Consequently, the consensus seems to be that efforts should not be made to identify best practice, being that apparently there is no such thing in the field of knowledge.
Examples of the precarious state of affairs abound both in developed and underdeveloped countries. Whilst issues like discrimination, criminality, terrorism, wage stagnation and climate change are mainstays of the media in industrialized nations, UNICEF reports that every day around 20,000 children die on account of poverty, and the World Health Organization indicates that 2.5 billion people lack basic sanitation facilities.
Donor countries also illustrate the difficulty of the situation by having funneled US$ 178.9 billion in 2021 through Official Development Assistance (ODA), for what management scientists could call a decades-long firefighting mission in their quest to eliminate global poverty.
Perhaps because people favour convenience, or maybe as a result of frustration out of feelings of impotence, or of lack of trust towards institutions, they may at times manage social stress by showing concern for those or other difficulties, grievances and challenges in emotional ways. But lasting conditions like subconscious frustration have ways of inducing chronic stress, notably when it originates from lack of control over unresolved current issues affecting one's daily life at home, out in the street, or at work.
Stress plays a useful role when accumulated, and then released. It pushes and pulls people towards getting things done. But if stress accumulates over time without release, it becomes chronic and triggers what Psychology Today magazine calls Public Health Enemy No. 1: the release of excess cortisol into the bloodstream. In turn, pumped-up chronic stressors may go on a subtle but heinous warpath either by disturbing people about issues such as the future of the nation, money, work, the political climate, violence and crime, or perhaps by embedding dysfunctional and polarizing thoughts that motivate humans to become alienated or impulsive, tribal, sectarian or factional, or to express other adrenaline-driven "fight or flight" behaviour.
Methods of expressing suppressed anger or hostility could range from displays of anxiety, despondency or distress to feuds, public disputes or civic unrest, mass rumours or hatemongering, discrimination, criminality, organized protest or riots to insurgencies, looting, displacement of refugees, mass economic migration, diasporas, ethnic cleansing, vendettas, mass murder, pogroms, genocide, guerrilla or open strife, or in kind.
Granted that most people cope by trying to ignore unresolved civic issues, as they withdraw into their family and work lives those unresolved issues eventually take their toll. Some escape their misery and discomfort into alcohol or other addictions, while others do rise above the issues and channel those same emotions into support and action for the common good.
As social stresses build up, "Powerful groups demand more opportunity and less government interference in their quest to benefit from the forces of change, while other groups, no less powerful, demand more government support and protection from those same forces. The threats of class warfare and regional disaffection are never far away" is the take of Robert D. Hormats in his August 2003 HBR article, Abraham Lincoln and the Global Economy.
Too often human beings try to resolve their differences or disagreements by blowing themselves up, or by causing bodily harm to others either informally, or very formally through national agencies whose sole purpose is standing ready for unleashing death and destruction by way of national protection. In a May 2016 lecture at the Oxford Martin School, The Hon. Baroness Valerie Amos indicated that the economic cost of conflict and violence was US$ 14.3 trillion in 2014, constituting 13.4% of the global economy for that year.
Mural of War (1896), by Mural artist Gari Melchers (1862–1932). Photographed in 2007 by Carol Highsmith (1946–), who explicitly placed the photograph in the public domain.
The first proposition that arises from such a scenario indicates that there must be a global disconnect, or a giant invisible barrier or logjam blocking citizens from using a friendlier and more practical, convenient and effective way to both express and realize their expectations on how civic life should be like.
The proposition can arise from proverbial situations where cultural imperatives may create official indifference or civic restrictions or instances of oppression, or when political priorities create corruption, or where citizen requests or petitions may fall on deaf ears, or are perhaps appeased with empty promises on the part of elected public officials.
The reply is yes. There certainly seems to be a worldwide sense of powerlessness, disillusionment and of distrust in the capacity of society to satisfy the expectations of individual citizens. It looks like a disconnect in the form of an overbearing global constraint . Much of the time the constraint also appears to complicate social stress. It seems to inhibit the forementioned fight-or-flight release of intractable emotional tension and frustration, or seems to create emotional and/or social deprivation -even hopelessness- while citizens, as Adam Smith would have said, "strive to improve themselves and their lot in their daily lives."
For instance, Robert Wright´s August 28, 1995 TIME International article, The Evolution of Despair, points out how up to that time, rates of depression had been doubling every 10 years in some developed nations, and that suicide was the third most common cause of death among young adults in North America, after car wrecks and homicides. In May 2013, the BBC published a qualitative vs. quantitative indicator of sorts. It reported that since 2009, suicide has claimed more Americans than land-wheeled-vehicle crashes.
The constraint also seems to carry over its effect on to the factory floor, resulting in a labour-management gap of trust, with the consequent sluggish growth in productivity and the high cost of quality underlined by stagnant wages.
The second proposition lies further down the road; environmental degradation is mostly a result of a few very visible variables like solid and liquid waste, and gaseous emissions. So in principle, it should be easier for people to act upon the issues that impede human society from carrying out all of its activities in an eco-friendly manner.
Yet, in addition to the spectre of billions of humans either not having enough to eat, or not having proper living accommodations or healthcare, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) points out that human activities are rapidly damaging the ecosphere to the no-return point, just as the NASA Global Climate Change website informs that Antarctica is suffering an irreversible meltdown.
And as if to add a tangible sense of urgency to the dire long-term global situation, the North Pole Environmental Observatory (NPEO) maintains a webcam at the North Pole. After NPEO said that in July 2013 the North Pole had turned into a meltwater lake, the World Economic Forum has forecasted more plastic than fish in the oceans by the year 2050.
The Engineering of Systematic Resolution to Global Issues
Typically, the various fields of the engineering sciences deal with the design and improvement of objects, machines and systems like locomotives, roads, bridges, the software and hardware of computers of all types, rockets, tanks, nuclear weapons, machine guns, land mines, EKG machines, heart-rate monitors, electric wheelchairs and all kinds of hospital equipment and instruments, heart valves, prosthetic arteries and limbs, satellites, automobiles, airplanes, the structure of buildings, stadiums and oil and aircraft carriers, plus chemical processes for making from medicines to shampoos to petrol, also roller coasters and light bulbs, and electrical generation and distribution systems.
The list goes on with telephone systems and smartphones, industrial mass production, factory-farming and food-mass production systems, Moon and Mars rovers and the International Space Station too; optical and infrared instruments from microscopes to the James Webb Telescope, refrigerators, washing machines and the machines that make office equipment and supplies and cookware, tableware, eye wear, jewelry, wristwatches, and the ones that make the books people read and the clothes and shoes they wear, etc. The importance of engineering professionals becomes personally apparent when one realizes who keeps electricity and tap water flowing every day, who keeps traffic lights working at intersections, and who is responsible for street lights being on during the night. Just about every mechanism, human-designed process or structure is designed or improved upon by more than, according to the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, 30 million engineers.
On the other hand, socioeconomic issues have usually been dealt with by professionals of the social and economic sciences, but industrial engineering, which has popularly been identified with the mass-production line, concerns itself with the human-machine or human-operating system interface. Human-factors engineering or ergonomics is one of the industrial engineering techniques used for designing or improving stress-dosing and stress-release methods the individual worker or work group must carry out when operating and controlling machinery, production equipment, and/or the overall production system, in an efficient manner.
Taking into account the famous conclusions Elton Mayo came to at the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company between 1924 and 1927, industrial engineers consider the work group a social group. Mayo´s findings have helped industrial engineering practitioners hone the macroergonomic functions work groups, and whole organizations, must satisfy while operating complex sociotechnical systems such as an assembly line, a complete factory or a network of factories, fleets of nuclear submarines, cruise ships or airliners with their accompanying traffic control systems, a transportation system or supermarket-counter systems, or call centres, etc.
In the cases of industrial underdevelopment and sustainability, industrial engineering contends with the methods large organizational groups, such as whole societies, must carry out towards financing and influencing the machinery of their own governments -MoG, as it were, in a macroergonomically effective manner. This macroergonomic description squarely catalogues democratic systems as sociotechnical systems, in which constituents conform the social part, and the machinery of government represents the technical component.
It is at this point that specialists unfold their Global CASoS Engineering capabilities conductive to handling the optimization of complex socio-technical processes. So it is within the scope of the discipline to help raise global productivity as it identifies the factors and variables human society must modify in contemplation of optimizing its activities vis-â-vis the needs of the ecosphere as a closed ecological system.
To start out, it might be useful to look at probably one of the most visible characteristics of the global condition at the beginning of the 21st. Century: The shantytowns people will build in the absence of sufficient affordable housing to meet the demand. In this UN Habitat Video, Professor Edgar Pieterse suggests the name "slum urbanism (and that we call favela urbanism for the Brazilian expression)," for the informal process that girds the globe. Because in the Global North poor abandoned areas are usually called slums and sometimes ghettos, the network calls slums the poor areas that started out as planned communities of the north, but which have fallen into disrepair and abandonment. On the other hand, residential areas of the Global South that have started out as chaotic conglomerations of dirt-floor shacks and shanties are in a league of their own, and as such the name favelas may be more appropiate. Extrapolating from the actual situation in the South American nation of Venezuela, every day humans build around fifty thousand shanties...
Formulating The Problem
By devising a set of operations research models as part of an industrial engineering approach to industrial underdevelopment in the Global South, in which some sources place 75% of the human population of Earth, The Global SoS Network has found that firstly, CASoS Engineering solutions in the domain involve grasping the issue of favela urbanism. Moreover, the act of focusing on favela urbanism involves scrutinizing a logistical constraint that feeds on lack of information and that, true to the hierarchy Professor Pieterse illustrates in his lecture, impedes access to basic services, blocks the development of the required infrastructure, and then frustrates the construction of affordable urban and rural housing units for somewhere between a quarter and a half of the world's citizens.
A habitat with good public services is important if businesses are to operate at a profit in a sustainable manner, but the reality in much of the Global South is quite the opposite. Favela urbanism describes a situation in which the lack of good public services is the norm. Those absences act as chronic stressors to business managers, who are not going to invest if they feel they are going to lose perishables because of rolling blackouts, or that they will have to stop production lines because of water mains being in bad repair, or if they have to pay bribes for obtaining construction permits for building new factories or even to put up new fences. The result is a general impediment to investments and a general reduction or stagnation of stable employment, a situation that Professor Pieterse clearly illustrates in the 6:20 minute mark of his video. At this stage, the logistical constraint generates collateral damage in a form that he calls an Urban Polycrisis, with a lack of private investment hence very low productivity and very low salaries accompanied by abject poverty. It is a vicious circle characteristic of the entrenched industrial underdevelopment object of the original enquiry. The logistical constraint is further treated below.
Secondly, by delving further into the problem, the network has also found that industrial underdevelopment is but the persistent manifestation of another underlying and much larger unresolved issue that hinders the growth of productivity and the improvement of the quality of life around the globe. Most if not all of the other major social, economical and environmental difficulties and challenges facing human society at the beginning of the 21st. Century are direct and indirect effects of an overriding technological constraint. The overriding constraint can be classified as technological because it impedes individuals from using information about stress-creating cognitive, emotional or other types of conflict, and from initiating the communication processes required for the resolution of such constituent conflict, and for the release of its coexistent stress. This assessment catalogues industrial underdevelopment and sustainability as information management problems, rather than cultural, economic or political issues.
More specifically, the information revolution makes knowledge about all types of social, economic and environmental challenges readily available to citizens. As humans 'live their daily lives,' they gather information and converse and debate with their families, peers and coworkers regarding civic challenges, and of the perceived incapacity of government to address such issues.
Citizens own the information that can bring about the ending of alienation, privation, homelessness and inequality, injustice, corruption, tribalism and racism, criminality of all types, of simmering radicalism, anti-business sentiment and corporate greed, terrorism, civic turmoil, open conflict and international aggression, and of environmental degradation. But it looks like the pervasive sense of discontent Robert Wright wrote about emerges, the world over, because humans are unaware of how to put all that collective brainpower to effective use -hence the technological constraint. Consequently, other key questions emerge from this scenario...
What are humans to do with that information?
Whom do they communicate it to?
How can human society exploit its major technological constraint?
Best Practice: The Business of Postal Services
Sustainability is an information issue to be dealt with judicious use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), to break two informational-type of constraints, one logistical and one technological, towards meeting the daily operational requirements of the around 200 democracies that elected public officials run in most existing countries and states. The logistical constraint occurs because most humans live in the area of the world, in the Global South, where there is no easily accesible formal information on how to use public-service resources efficiently. They do not receive printed monthly billing, meaning that systemic poverty of The Global South can be traced down to an information issue in the form of a billing problem. More precisely: A global dearth of public-service billing systems is the root cause of most of the poverty around the world. In regards to the technological constraint, it represents bona fide global social exclusion. Most humans are oblivious to the mechanism -and to the tasks- that would enable them to influence public decisions that have to do with, for example, poverty in advanced economies.
Equipped with a clearer view of what lies ahead, the network has also found that sustainability ultimately depends upon best practice; the application of the right techniques through the technological interface that some sectors, that is, some residents of successful countries use nowadays for exercising their democratic power. The correct use of this technological interface needs to be optimized, scaled up and then systematized globally so that human society can streamline its collective intelligence and eliminate the constraints to sustainable development.
Although usually unbeknownst as best practice there, the only countries in which citizens employ best practice today are developed countries, precisely one of the key factors that makes them rich and developed. Once that sociotechnical platform becomes scaled up to the rest of the globe, such communication processes will allow the synergistic interaction between the constituent and legislative functions of the state, which in System of Systems parlance, is run by elected officials through a Legislative System of Systems. Of course, rich countries are more advanced in this aspect than poor countries.
In practical terms, constituent-legislator communication, or the lack of it, is an issue that can create situations akin to the virtual representation scenario that brought about revolutionary acrimony two centuries ago between the British Empire and its American colonies. It´s also a matter of correcting the situation of representation without constituent-legislator communication in the Global South, and of some but not enough -and not systematic enough, communication between constituents and their legislators in developed countries.
Constituents do own the decisions made by their legislators, so it´s a matter of assuming effective ownership by eliminating their technological constraint. Each constituent can do this by carrying out the sociotechnical task of articulating the conflict-relevant information he or she owns, and communicating it to the relevant legislator through the teledemocratic infrastructure. From the Systems of Systems perspective, a national teledemocratic infrastructure consists of the complete infrastructure of a national postal service, including existing old post or royal roads, and the Internet, when those communication channels are used to communicate with legislators.
It's no coincidence that the Internet offers business advantages that has brought accelerated growth to the sector. Not so with postal services, which have been termed as slow and old fashioned. Postal services of the Global South have suffered from indifference and inattention to the point that they have become inadequate to satisfy basic institutional needs, such as serving as a transport medium for municipal, utility and housing-authority billing systems.
And because they are the weakest link in the supply chain for mobilizing local resources, the network has identified developing-country postal services as creators of the logistical constraints that have stymied all efforts that have been made to somehow deal with the shantytown and, if you will, the favela urbanism culture of the Global South. The lack of adequate postal sevices and of billing systems in the Global South have important effects. Without adequate postal services, households cannot receive monthly bills for consumption of basic public services or to pay rent for social housing. Without that information, they have no way of knowing how to control their use of services, nor can they compensate the service provider for the consumption of the service or pay the agreed price for subsidized housing. On the other hand, if beneficiaries are somehow aware of their obligations, the lack of economic and formal methods of communication makes it impractical to create and enforce sanctions for late or no payments.
At the end, the public-service customer and/or public-housing tenant can waste the service (leave lights on all day and night without concern, or not worry about faucet or other water leaks, et cetera, et cetera.) and live rent-free. Concurrently, the service provider does not maintain its infrastructure for lack of funds, whilst having to rely on subsidies to avoid becoming bankrupt for lack of income, and the public housing administrating body cannot build enough public housing to meet the demand. The same goes to other local authorities that cannot bill for property and other taxes, and therefore, e.g. cannot offer police protection or develop or service the infrastructure, bringing the homeless closer and closer to jumping at the opportunity of invading public lands.
This goes to show that contrary to popular belief, the strategic function of postal services is not the transport of letters and packages. Postal services are in the business of helping make democracy work because to govern itself, apart from freedom of information, human society requires a habitat with good public services and public infrastructure plus affordable housing, which are expensive in themselves and must somehow be billed for. Those elements form a platform on which the state builds upon by financing solutions to health and education concerns.
So it is unfortunate that at the beginning of the 21st. Century, Global South postal services are inadequate for improving tax and other revenue that would help in the process of financing basic public services, and the upgrading of the nowadays crumbling public infrastructure, including the construction of affordable housing, and in general just stopping the whole favela-urbanism abomination of human civilization and human dignity.
As part of protracted efforts to obtain results, Global South governments and ODA donor countries have been following the reductionist script of the international development community, and have been providing blanket subsidies that mainly help keep up a modus operandi of operational but bankrupt utilities and municipalities without end. So it is also unfortunate that those subsidies have had the unintended consequence of making the public-service and infrastructure sectors of the Global South a giant favela-urbanism incubator for mismanagement, systematic corruption, and emergent poverty, while draining away or redirecting resources that are otherwise critical for nurturing a healthy and well educated population.
In that context, favela-urbanism poverty can be viewed as a measure of entropy reflected in the dispersion and loss of ODA, but mainly local, resources as the lack of effective billing systems impedes the growth of the tax base and hinders the development of the whole national financial system. In general, the effect that lack of effective billing systems has upon the size of the tax base, and then on the favela-producing logic Professor Pieterse lays out in his UN-Habitat video, affects national fiscal and monetary policy and percolates through the whole national economy as the low investment and productivity, and low income typical of emergent economies.
The Oxford Dictionaries define entropy as lack of order or predictability, or a gradual decline into disorder, and The Global SoS Network has found that the quality of postal services, in turn, is related to a precise level of entropy in democracy. This looks like a coinciding set of results from using Physics PhD. Eliyahu M. Goldratt's Theory of Constraints (TOC), and Management Guru Peter Drucker's views that if you can measure a variable and control it, you can manage it. From the Dynamic Sytems perspective, and as human society operates its democratic systems blissfully unaware of the global constraints, there is dramatic implication of this concurrence.
Issues such as conflict, etc. are attractors of democratic systems in which the agents of the systems -humans- cannot adapt or learn because they cannot use the right channels to resolve inter-agent conflict, so they descend towards the attractors. Another case in point is the faulty logistics interaction between the component of the SoS impeding the agents -again, humans- either from investing or from having sufficient income to maintain a certain standard of living. There is another attractor there: Emergent-country productivity is limited to a fraction of productivity in developed countries.
Then there is the second law of thermodynamics, which tells us that the natural and most probable tendency for any process, system or organization is towards a situation where the most entropy exists. Thus the natural tendency for productivity is for it to decrease, and many economists are likely to agree that therein lies the reason for half the world's population living on less than $3 a day. In other words, at the beginning of the 21st. Century most humans are poor because it is the natural and most probable tendency.
However, aside its usefulness for conceptual learning, the whole attractor concern could become a moot point because controlling and eliminating favela-urbanism poverty in the Global South calls for a strategic thrust that will generate a system reaction from which it cannot recover. Benchmarking and regulating the quality of Global South postal services will reduce entropy on one side. On the other side, the benchmarking act will be the key ingredient for breaking, that is, eliminating, the forementioned logistical constraint.
It was thus an auspicious beginning when the President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin, decreed Russian Post a strategic enterprise: He triggered a powerful tectonic shift in the economic paradigm of the emerging world by realigning it, and then ushering the entry of postal services into the realm of best practice for mobilizing the local resources required for the development and upkeeping of the built environment.
Alas, by using military force as a method to bolster Russia's standing in the world stage, Mr. Putin might have yet squandered his visionary intervention and his position in the annals of human history. But not all may be lost. As of winter 2022-2023, can Mr Putin still steer his postal vision towards leading Russia and all the other Global South nations in transcending out of their individual dysfunctional situations?
It is not a rethorical question because of the tit for tat technology of death and destruction being injected into Ukraine hostilities, along with the potential danger of geopolitical restraint being torn asunder. At any rate, the tectonic motion of sociocultural forces is already aligned in many countries towards the creation of teledemocratic mailstreams, through which self-organized constituent work teams will prevail over local, regional, national and global challenges as they determine the systematic and environment-friendly:
Win-Win Resolution of Constituent and Emergent Conflict,
A CASoS Engineering Design Process
for Meeting the SDGs On Time, and Under Budget
Further operations research The Global SoS Network has carried out indicates that the streamlining of collective intelligence, that is, systematic constituent-legislator communication, is Best Democratic Practice (BDP) because it helps create a solid sociotechnical platform for meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The sociotechnical platform is solid because it ensures broad public participation in decision making. By promoting strong institutions, BDP is intrinsically embedded within SDG 16. Thus it is to great avail that Inter-Parliamentary Union Secretary-General, Martin Chungong, said "Goal 16 is the powerhouse from which all other action will follow."
Operations research has, in turn, led to a CASoS Engineering Design Process that uses the Theory of Change methodology towards aligning the projected results of the teledemocratic processes that will emerge around the world, with appropriate entry-level targets of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Very importantly, the versatility of the network's CASoS Strategic Planning Framework for Meeting the SDGs allows the use of the minimax principle as a viewfinder that will help identify which SDG Targets will:
Break the logistical constraint, in order to minimize the cost of eradicating the favela urbanism culture of the Global South , and
Break the technological constraint, in order to maximize the effect that the usual minimal yearly gains in labour productivity will have on inducing sustainable economic growth on a global basis.
By pursuing the network's CASoS Strategic Planning Framework for Meeting the SDGs, practically any underdeveloped or developed nation can leverage these short-term results towards meeting all of the other SDGs at a fraction of the projected cost, while accelerating the overall process that will eradicate Global Poverty (SDG 1), on time or even before the 2030 deadline. In addition to a drastic reduction of waste of national and international funds, costs will be redirected so that there will be no need to meet SDG Target 17.2, which calls for developed countries to commit a minimum of 0.7 % of their GNP for Official Development Assistance. Instead, the main cost will likely be for the biggest affordable-housing and infrastructure construction project in history, which can be delivered through conventional -albeit greatly magnified, financing venues.
Nonetheless, temperature records were broken in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016. Furthermore, Dr. James Hansen, who is a Columbia University Adjunt Professor, and was NASA's top climate scientist, has stated that a tipping point was reached in April 2008. And although Dr. Hansen has managed to somehow modify his worrisome landmark, in some quarters the jury is still out as to whether the unprecedented continuous increase of global temperature constitutes the first manifestation of catastrophic climate change, or just a fluke.
Either way, it could be said that were BDP not to be given priority, it is highly likely that the SDGs will run the same luck as the Millennium Development Goals, which offered less than stellar results. Considering the stochastic underpinnings of human affairs, the eventual outcome could be the end of the capacity of the ecosphere to sustain human civilization as we know it.
MIT Professor Thomas Malone does state that in the end, we will probably make choices that save the Earth. This means that focusing the collective intelligence towards the meeting of habitat SDGs 13 and 14, should be given the highest priority. And considering that the UN weather agency found 2016 to be the hottest year ever, the Affordable and Clean Energy-seeking SDG 7 should pioneer the way towards sustainability.
Influencing The Machinery of Government
The conceptual framework contained in this webpage helps visualize the diminishing returns of the the zero-sum-game mindset residing in traditional political processes, in which some people and social groups use personal points of view as weapons for clashes of opinion, and where they 'hunt' for legislative resource-allocating power. Such antagonism helps bring up yet another reason for viewing partisan politics a form of art, rather than a science, mainly because the results of political processes cannot usually be predicted with accuracy -probably excepting either of two doomsday scenarios: a) The Runaway Greenhouse Effect, or b) The stark realization of eventually having rocket and nuclear engineers push a few buttons and turn a few keys per ICBM (2 keys per ICBM, according to films and TV shows) in order to bring forth Mutual Assured Destruction and its corollary, Nuclear Winter.
If the machinery of government is to deliver predictable results consistently, then starting from school-age, the national population should learn and know how to 'operate' it correctly, something that also brings importance to know-what, know-why and know-who. Thus macroergonomically speaking, citizens should acquire tacit and explicit knowledge of the task at hand, as they meet the stress-releasing operational needs of the mechanisms that make the overall democratic system work in their behalf.
Keeping in mind that constituents make up the the social component of the overall organization, while the machinery of government represents the technical component, there should be no doubt that democratic system performance involves real productive tasks. Democracies are works in progress in need of tending, but the tending tasks are not being done by the citizens of the world. And although the tasks are intermittent, they are also eternal.
Consequently, by using teledemocratic collective-intelligence techniques, citizens can enhance and accelerate the natural adaptive capacity of the democratic system. And in spite of the scarily complicated, hi-tech and expensive-sounding names, the streamlining of collective intelligence is refreshingly simple, very convenient, and surprisingly economic.
In favor of streamlining the collective intelligence and meet the SDGs in a cost effective way and on time, CASoS methods engineering prescribes that constituents around the globe would first self organize by employing their permanent role as stakeholders in voluntary ad-hoc cooperation with family members, neighbours, friends, co-workers or peers. Once they have formed an opinion on a subject, or agreed on a suggestion regarding constituent conflict, they would interact individually -in a formal way- with the legislative function of their Legislative System of Systems. To interact formally, they would use at least four tools to initiate a simple three-step communication method. The tools are a pen, a sheet of paper, an envelope, and a postage stamp. The method consists of writing periodic letters to the pertinent legislator, having them delivered, and obtaining feedback through each subsequent reply.
Some national and other legislatures, and a few NGOs, usually promote Best Democratic Practice under 'Write to Your Legislator' and 'Write to Your Member of Parliament' motifs. While human factors deals with the psychological aspects of the know-why and know-who, CASoS methods and Information Management techniques are the way to go for the know-what and know-how of keeping the task simple, convenient and economic, while maintaining transparent communication between the contacting constituent, and the responding legislator. No one wants legislative offices flooded with handwritten and typed or printed constituent correspondence.
To a certain degree, and depending on variables such as intrinsic motivation, technical capacity and stress, it is likely that neither will constituents be interested in exercising their democratic power as a regular course of action if it involves any protocol, rite or complex password routine beyond writing and posting an undersigned letter to the pertinent legislator. Teledemocratic communication need not and should not contain any overt or hidden stressors for constituents because according to sociotechnical theory, the daily social and technical operational aspects of democracies need to be balanced and optimized. If there is any unbalance, then changes should be made to the technical system to obtain joint optimization.
Keeping in mind the acumen and administrative capacity each legislator will require to maintain real-time communication with thousands of his/her constituents, constituent-friendly social media can give new perspectives to phrases such as "Like your Legislator." Consituent-friendly social media will probably make a good fit as interfaces between constituents and the daily operational needs of legislative SoS, whilst cutting-edge research on Collaborative Decision Making affords new opportunities.
By opening a conduit through which each constituent can channel and then release civic stress, the streamlining of collective intelligence creates teledemocratic communication processes that feature total social inclusion. With the proper arrangements, all adult cognizant -literate or illiterate- residents of a country or nation can influence, and ultimately establish, the outcome of public policy for the good of all stakeholders, and of the environment.
Once constituents have established such processes, then the same constituents, now in their role as workers, will feel more empowered on the job, at work. This will translate in more meaningful tasks thus more horizontal organizations accompanied by more quality and productivity. From then on, increased trust in the objectives of management will cause the emergence of unity of purpose at work, the resulting boost in quality and productivity will also boost wages and eventually, the global standard of living.
THE GLOBAL TECHNOLOGICAL CONSTRAINT...
...gets smaller each time a postal worker delivers a formal reply from a legislator to a constituent.
comprise the world's most powerful social groups, and teledemocratic
techniques make self-organized constituent work teams the most versatile
of social networks."
Deducing that the logistics of transporting teledemocratic information require the existence of postal technology that is adequate for the task, the focused collective intelligence of constituents now creates nationwide teledemocratic mailstreams towards the legislatures. Subsequently, legislators will use traditional parliamentarian procedures in order to resolve constituent conflict in the forums human society has designed for that specific undertaking.
Because it is the task of legislatures to allocate resources to the executive function of government, the deliberation of the much better informed perspectives will in effect result in the allocation of resources with much less or no adversariness at all. Improved constituent data will result in a more managerial and systematic approach, not the ego-driven partisan zero-sum-game political mentality where the gain of one individual, group or nation is perceived as a loss to another individual, group or nation. It is not really a devolution of responsibility, because citizens have always held it. Rather, it is the devolution of authority to constituents for the more efficient, and much more effective, resolution of conflict, meaning that the overall quality of public decision-making will improve systematically.
Keeping in mind that constituent conflict could represent any aspect of the civic domain, from gaping potholes to inadequate housing, education, medical care, relationships between the facets of myriad social groups, or any environmental problem; only when business managers note improved government effectiveness will they become more motivated to invest in sustainable technology.
This would take the form of more efficient machinery and methods that will help make small gains in labour productivity and wellbeing. The complex-adaptive result is that improved government performance begets the emergence of improved quality of life as the standard of living improves, meaning that everyone involved, and the environment, win.
For the Global South, in addition to serving as a medium for constituent-legislator communication, adequate postal services allow for institutional focusing of adaptive capacity in order to address pressing social needs. As the expressed need for adequate postal services helps create a 'climate for change,' it serves as motivator for the rollout of municipal, utility and affordable housing billing systems wherever needed, which is in most countries at the beginning of the 21st century. The resulting income streams are key for the local development and upkeep of the public infrastructure necessary for meeting social needs such as world-class quality education and medical services, and for all-important trade.
The Internet is a very convenient venue for establishing teledemocratic processes. But until poor countries become affluent, the cost of each computer or cellular phone, in addition to installation costs (electric supply, fixed or cellular-line or Internet hook-up fees, modem, batteries, printing ink, etc.) plus monthly payments, maintenance, upgrading, training, and other hidden costs, must be compared to the cost of a few stationery items and that of family mailboxes, which are usually made of low-cost sheetmetal. Home letterboxes only need a key and lock, require no periodic expenses, and practically never need maintenance.
Then there are psychological, legal, and other issues, such as the matter of the lack of formality, deference of the public servant to citizens, and the perception that electronic billing systems just do not have the necessary etiquette. If a family receives only electronic billing from utilities and tax authorities, the question could arise that if the matter is not important enough for the sender to take the trouble of printing a bill, then, Why should the payer feel that it is so important to pay up?
Using either type of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), postal services or the Internet, when social groups such as constituents use teledemocratic methods, then the collective intelligence has the capacity to regulate the activities of the Public Sector System in benefit of the common good, and of the environment, while steadily increasing the level of productivity.