Indicators of Political Will, Remedial and Coping Capacity?
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 28 Oct 2019
Ungovernability and Indifference to Analysis Engendered by Increasing Population
28 Oct 2019 – Many issues are now variously highlighted as potential crises — with some framed as extremely urgent. It is curious to note how the emphasis is placed on the need for action but little is said about the capacity to follow through on that need.
A distinction can usefully be made between the capacity to cope with an emerging problem (using existing institutions, methods and procedures), the capacity to remedy the issues of which the problem is a manifestation (with new institutions, new technology, or new thinking), and the political will to do either of the former. There are few indicators regarding the capacity to respond to problems, despite the variety of indicators of their number and nature as profiled in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. The exception to this assessment is a degree of attention to emergency preparedness and disaster response capacity. This focus can be seen as avoiding attention to the manner in which capacity is more subtly and progressively eroded, raising the spectre of global system ungovernability, exacerbated by the controversial increase in population numbers on which little can currently be said (Ungovernability of Sustainable Global Democracy? 2011).
The calls for “action now” are only too evident in the range of demonstrations and protests worldwide. These seem to be accompanied by an unquestioned assumption that there is no lack of capacity to cope both with such unrest and with the problems which are their focus. Similarly there is an assumption that there is the capacity to remedy the underlying issues. Less evident is the existence or adequacy of the political will to do either — beyond some kind of token response, rationalized for purposes of public relations. Although in the case of political will, unlike the others, it is fairly evident that this is lacking.
In a curious sense the apparent absence of effective action, or the delays to such action, places most people in a “waiting mode” — awaiting resolution (Types of waiting: web resources, 2018). As the antithesis of action, this merits exploration in its own right.
The following exercise endeavours to clarify these distinct factors in responding to the crises to which society is increasingly exposed — of which climate change is the most clearly articulated. Unfortunately it is less than clear that it is the root cause of the malaise — which it is so conveniently claimed to be, rather than a convenient surrogate, as argued separately (Vigorous Application of Derivative Thinking to Derivative Problems, 2013; An Inconvenient Truth — about any inconvenient truth, 2008).
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