Accumulation of delay retards social processes and particularly social change processes. Action of any kind in a complex society involves a multiplicity of administrative, technical and conceptual operations. The more complex the society becomes, the greater possibility of inadvertent time lags and delays between such operations which, taken in isolation, may each be relatively efficient. These might be called delays of omission. Delays may also be deliberately created by judiciously postponing meetings or decisions. This technique of intentionally delaying decisions and actions is sometimes termed stalling. It is frequently used to gain monetary, military or diplomatic advantages. Since this forestalling of meetings, actions or decisions is deliberately obstructive, as it is intended to prevent action by others, it may be considered as delay of commission.
Delays and stalling on the international level have affected decolonization, for example, and repayments of loans. Arms reduction negotiations may be heavily influenced by delaying tactics.
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.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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