Exaggeration of research significance Technological hype Exaggeration of organization performance
The Challenger space shuttle disaster has been seen as deriving from failure to effectively report on the inadequate performance of the O-rings used as sealants. Officials responsible for developing an anti-missile system to defend the USA were discovered in 1992 to have repeatedly exaggerated the achievements of space experiments and flight tests conducted in 1990 to demonstrate the success of their research efforts. The seven tests each cost between $12 million and $50 million. More questions remained unanswered than were publicly acknowledged by programme officials. During the Gulf War, the performance of high tech weaponry was repeatedly exaggerated, partly to confuse the enemy and partly to facilitate future sales of such products.
To compensate for the "bad news", including that emanating from the doomsday think-tankers, there is a backlash into "good news". In addition the capacity for dealing with negative feedback is being eroded by other priorities (career, funding, etc), especially when there is a despairing sense that nothing can be successfully achieved. Thus the art of report writing in many institutions, especially at the international level, is increasingly understood in terms of upbeat writing that avoids any negatives and exaggerates whatever is required to maintain the status quo or create the illusion of satisfactory progress.
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.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.