General obstacles to problem alleviation

Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Obstacles to social change
Obstacles to structural change

People are inclined to despair of the feasibility of structural change because of the cumulative weight of obstacles impeding it. Arguments in favour of this perspective include: structural change is associated with radicalism, and radicalism with violence; local changes do not seem to accumulate into global changes; the world system tends to stifle local change; polls indicate that significant proportions of any population remain conventional and conservative; advocates of change on one topic tend to oppose change on another; strong government initiatives in favour of change tend to lead to that government's loss of power; when change is implement through a strong government, this is often preceived as repressive and achieving more harm than good; collective, nationalized industries tend to be inefficient; people and groups tend to percieve that they will succeed best by cooperating with those having vested interests in the status quo.


Le Chatelier's Principle as applied to social systems:  Reformers, critics of institutions, consultants in innovation, people in short who "want to get something done", often fail to see this point. They cannot understand why their strictures, advice or demands do not result in effective change. They expect either to achieve a measure of success in their own terms or to be flung off the premises. But an ultra-stable system (like a social institution)... has no need to react in either of these ways. It specializes in equilibrial readjustment, which is to the observer a secret form of change requiring no actual alteration in the macro-systemic characteristics that he is trying to do something about." (Stafford Beer, The cybernetic cytoblast - management itself, Chairman's Address to the International Cybernetic Congress, September 1969)

Counter Claim:

Concern with structural change is misguided because most of the world's tyranny is the petty tyranny found in small-scale interpersonal relations. Example: peace activists promote world order while forgetting the needs of their friends, lovers, work associates and families.

Narrower Problems:
Uncritical thinking
Inaction on problems
Underreported issues
Disorders of freedom
Human destructiveness
Inadequate leadership
Obstacles to education
Crisis-oriented funding
Increasing pace of life
Restrictions on freedom
Minimization of problems
Community under-fulfilment
Geopolitical vulnerability
Non-recognition of problems
Proliferation of information
Unfinished imperfect universe
Differing conceptions of time
Deteriorating quality of life
Dangerous building construction
Preservation of obsolete systems
Lack of international cooperation
Inefficient public administration
Limited individual attention span
Unwillingness to resolve problems
Polarized protest against problems
Conflicting international priorities
Preoccupation with isolated problems
Antiquated world socio-economic order
Psychological pollution by mass media
Multiplicity of problems facing society
Complex interrelationship of world problems
Inadequate technical cooperation on problems
Delays in elaboration of remedial legislation
Deterioration of stored documents and archives
Insufficient translation into minority languages
Inadequate public information concerning problems
Inadequate coordination of action against problems
Monopolization of information within organizations
Inadequate rehabilitation facilities for the disabled
Inadequate delivery mechanism in response to problems
Inadequate research on proposed solutions to problems
Inadequacy of the committee system of decision making
Inadequate standardization of procedures and equipment
Inadequate education concerning the nature of problems
Excessive complexity of intergovernmental organizations
Constraint of time on individual and social development
Inadequate legislation relating to action against problems
Shortage of financial resources for action against problems
Obstacles to the development of multidisciplinary approaches
Inadequate organizational mechanisms to act against problems
Inadequate application of available knowledge to solve problems
Shortage of adequately trained personnel to act against problems
Obstacles to effective international nongovernmental organizations
Shortage of equipment and materials needed to act against problems
Inadequate global consensus concerning problems and prospects of humanity
Inadequate buildings, services and facilities for organized action against problems
Unethical practices
Wicked problems
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
26.06.2016 – 05:09 CEST