The Western political system is organized for short-term response to problems. Few administrations last a decade. To distinguish themselves from previous officeholders, new officials must act rapidly and in visible ways. Governments can rarely afford to be sensitive to advice of a medium or long term nature, even when it comes from eminent people. As corporation and government management is primarily concerned with personal and corporate security, there has arisen a dominant trend to reward short-term accomplishments and short-range planning.
The Pearson Report, 1969, a report of a group led by ex-Prime Minister Lester Pearson of Canada, the RIO Report (Reshaping the International Order), coordinated by Professor Jan Tinbergen, and two reports, in 1980 and 1983, by a group under the leadership of ex-Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt, have had little effect on the conduct of governments. There are very few private or public enterprises that reward long-range model-building and risk-taking. This has seriously affected the stability of corporate mythology as perceived by the workers within an enterprise or the investors, both of whom are necessary contributors to the health of an organization. This is particularly evident in the growing gap between the rewards provided to executives and those provided to middle and lower levels of management and production.
At national and regional planning levels, short-term rewards are preferred to long-term sustainability, leading to extraction and cultivation patterns that discount the costs to the social and natural environments over the short and long term.