what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

systems again


Even thicker snow apparently struck Britain yesterday – so this was a wide front! Noises were heard in the attic during the night! Bats or rats? We did hear an ominous gnawing sound under the terrace a week or so back! I’m only worried about the risk to the electricity cables?? Nothing evident in the cold light of day – although there are gaps between the old wooden beams through which light can be seen via the schitza roof tiles. These are the issues which threaten relationships – with one meekly accepting nature’s way and the other waiting to pounce and dreaming up various scientific interventions.
I need to return to the systems issue – but on another occasion. Margaret Wheatleyis another writer who has tried to use chaos theory in a rethink of management and Chris Hood’s The Art of the State has the fatalistic school as one of his four basic schools of thinking about government and society. What I’m trying to square is the rationalistic spirit of things such as impact assessment and the logframe in project planning (which are gods for the consultancy world) – and the reality of change. Robert Quinn’s Change the world is perhaps the book which most easily expresses what the approach might mean for managers. But government consultants and policy advisers who work in EU candidate or "neighbourhood' countries have a moral dilemma. The EU expects us to push this rationalistic crap. What do we do?

And here’s a useful case-study just issued by International Crisis Group – on Azerbaijan. It may not be in crisis at the moment - but the report argues that such is the depth of the corruption and repression which the younger Aliyev continues to practice (to the disregard of the rural population) that we can anticipate storms ahead. Coincidentally I am reading Tom Reiss's The Orientalist - about the life of Lev Nussimbaum alias Kurban Said who wrote the marvellous Ali and Nino novel which depicts the tension in Baku in the early part of the 20th century caught as many of its residents were between West and East.
The picture is of the lane at the bottom of our garden - not far from the Transylvanian border

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