ERIC Number: ED058107
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1970
Reference Count: N/A
Alternative Futures for Society: Certain Variables and Parameters.
North, Robert C.
This paper begins by establishing the need for new world views and social invention. Its thesis is that: 1) reform must begin at both the individual and system levels; 2) we must clearly see how we are caught in systems within systems; and, 3) by responding somewhat acquiesently to these systems, we help keep them stabilized. The author first provides a model to account for human behavior, and discusses the way perceptions, values, expectations, and loyalties lead to foundations for social organization, custom, law, and institutions. Many of these widely shared values are associated with preservation of a society from inner and outer threats, and pursuit of national interests. The behavior of nations and empires is then characterized, mainly in terms of the dynamics of leadership, how it interacts with the shared values, and the process of decision making by national leaders. The author discusses the importance of population and technology as parameters affecting the decisions of its leaders and attempts to account for the importance of these variables through a series of propositions. Machine (or man-machine) simulations of all levels of decision and control with real world data would allow us to determine scientifically not only how basic area, resource, population, production and other variables have combined and are combining, but also what trends are likely to continue, with what consequences. (Author/JLB)
Descriptors: Cybernetics, Decision Making, Futures (of Society), International Education, International Relations, Man Machine Systems, National Defense, Nationalism, Political Science, Population Trends, Psychology, Research Needs, Social Change, Social Problems, Speeches, Systems Analysis, Systems Approach, Technology
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: New York Friends Group, Inc., New York. Center for War/Peace Studies.; Diablo Valley Education Project, Orinda, CA.