Inept theoretical models of society and community in the face of rapidly changing economic, political and cultural trends leaves decision makers at every level dramatically unequipped to create effective solutions. Models of society tend to be static, implementation of plans tend to be sequential and linear, social components are envisaged in fragmented ways, and reflections on progress focus on establishing blame or praise.
Policy makers and their advisors tend to use inappropriate static models of social change. These models include: the divine right of rulers, the responsibility of the chosen few to make decisions on behalf of the inept many, and belief in eternal principles of social interaction. The results of these static models of society include: fragmented and protectionist policies, rigid laws and traditions and injustice.
Large international corporations have created financial planning models with global perspective; but they largely exclude national corporations from the planning process, even though the national corporations are also dependent on the global situation. The needs of the consumer are seen only from the vantage point of the producers, which even further distorts meaningful planning.
Although there is accumulating evidence of environmental interdependence, the majority of people only give thought to their immediate environmental situation rather than directing energy to long-range, more inclusive, environmental planning. This concentration on individual circumstances avoids purposeful action on local and global environmental issues and leads to fears for the future as evidence on environmental issues grows.
In Europe, for example, the basic economic model of the postwar period is increasingly recognized as being incapable of delivering the combination of steady rising living standards and the comforts of cradle-to-grave welfare. It is believed that this crisis is not cyclical but structural and that basic rethinking is required. In the transition period, however, Europe is expected to suffer from levels of unemployment once considered unacceptably high. The expected cuts in welfare state benefits are expected to be deep, painful and demoralizing.
Existing socio-economic models for social change in a turbulent environment are woefully inadequate in the face of the policy challenges of the next decades. A new set of policy models is essential to deal with the emerging crises.