Government folly Policy contrary to self-interest Political folly
Governments, authoritarian or democratic, Communist or Capitalist, modern or ancient, have the capacity of pursuing over decades policies which are contrary to their own self interest. Perversity is continued even in the face of mounting evidence of its self-destructiveness, clear arguments against the policy and real alternatives to it. Obstinately adhering to principles, policies, values or beliefs while ignoring or denying the veracity of any contrary signs generates illusions about the effectiveness of existing doctrine and rigidifies decisions, making reversals of plans impossible. Self-centred rulers and their desire to be seen in the most positive light contribute to policy stagnation. These leaders seem to have the capacity to learn nothing from their mistakes or even acknowledge that they make them. Another method of government folly is taking the most provocative action possible insuring the unification of opponents. This is usually coupled with a remarkable underestimate of the enemy. Displays of uncertainty, apprehensiveness and weakness encourage opposition. Most if not all self-destructive policy is marked by unnecessary action when doing nothing could serve better. Even the most wise of governments make mistakes, even disastrous mistakes, but it is the self-destructive government that dogmatically continues in the same way. Another form is attempting to return to some past period of government, reinstating institutions, policies, and forms which are out of date and frequently in disrepute. Governments seem to have a remarkable capacity to act foolishly even granting that they are products of their own historical moment, cultural and political biases, and political ambitions.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
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