Transcending Simplistic Binary Contractual Relationships
BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 23 April 2012
by Anthony Judge – TRANSCEND Media Service
What Is Hindering Their Exploration?
There are numerous examples of territorial and boundary disputes around the globe. These are readily described in the simplest binary form — “that land belongs to us” and “not true, it belongs to us” (Us and Them: Relating to Challenging Others, 2009). The debates on these matters may last for years, typically highlighted by sporadic bouts of violence and threats of violence. Any apparent resolution may well obscure continuing resentment, ready to break out on the occasion of an appropriate excuse. The Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty dispute is but one current example.
The focus here is not the quest for solutions to particular conflicts. Rather it is an effort to determine how generic solutions might be explored, framed and understood — irrespective of whether they apply to any particular situation. Clearly any general recipe may well be readily argued to be inapplicable to a particular situation. This should not however prevent the exploration of generic solutions which may lend themselves to adaptation to some particular cases.
A pioneering endeavour in this direction has been the Bulletin of Peace Proposals, established in 1970 at the Peace Research Institute Oslo. In 1992 it became the peer-reviewed journal Security Dialogue. The question here is whether the format of the journal, and the contents it attracts, enables the full range of reflection which ongoing crises would appear to merit. As a subscription journal, how is it to be compared to the open-source intelligence enabled by Wikipedia? As with any peer-reviewed journal in the conventional sense, what gets “designed off the table”? As an interface between “mature” reflection on an option and any “naive” question as to the viability of a possibility, does such a tool exclude those who wish to understand why some proposals are either not viable or have been “filed away” for reasons which merit recognition?
To what degree is collective creativity discouraged by the conventional mindsets which are recognized as characterizing the failures of the peer-review process — notably as now challenged with respect to the exploitative business model of academic publishing? How does that reinforce recommendations to policy makers to ignore other alternatives, or render their neglect incomprehensible (Considering All the Strategic Options — whilst ignoring alternatives and disclaiming cognitive protectionism, 2009)?
The case can be made otherwise by recognizing the enthusiasm with which more complex mathematics is adopted with respect to other strategic concerns, notably those of financial management — significant in enabling the recent financial crisis (Uncritical Strategic Dependence on Little-known Metrics: the Gaussian Copula, the Kaya Identity, and what else?, 2009). Another example is provided by the Black–Scholes mathematical model of a financial market containing certain derivative investment instruments — the subject of comment by Johan Galtung (The Face of the Crisis – And Alternatives, Transcend Media Service, 26 March 2012).
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