Policy dependence on outdated approaches Delay in adaptation of thinking of political leaders Dependence on mental structures ill-adapted to contemporary problems
Over the past half century, the political class has been content to apply conventional ideas, instead of questioning them. There are no exceptions. Failures of this approach have been disguised. The lag effect is the result of the difference between the evolution of political situations and those of the mental structures of the leadership groups, as well as those of the led. New ideas for new problems, when they can be made known, are difficult for the leadership class to comprehend. Their most basic mental structures are fundamental in that they condition the way they represent the world and the political world. It is they which determine the way in which problems are posed. Intellectual conservatism is thus a structural phenomenon. It is the continued survival of an outdated explanatory system which prevents the elaboration of a strategy appropriate to the control and orientation of planetary strategy.
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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