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How do societal actors and agencies (apart from school) reduce or distort a global perspective? 2. What is perspective consciousness? Provide an example.

3. What is “state of planet awareness”? Provide an example.

4. What is “cross-cultural awareness”? Provide an example.

5. Why is “empathy” such a critical word for Hanvey’s argument? How do traditional, modern and post-modern people differ in their understanding of empathy and why?

6. Provide what you believe are an example of understanding “global dynamics”?

ED 116 99








SO 008 81


Hanvey, Robert G.
An Attainable Global Perspective.
Denver Univ., Colo. Center for Teaching International


ations.; New York Friends Group, Inc., New York.
Center for War/Peace Studies.
National Endowment for the Humanities (NFAH),
Washington, D.C.



Center for War/Peace Studies,


18 East 18th Street,
New York, New York 10003 ($1.00)

MF-$0.76 Plus Postage. HC Not Available from EDRS.
*Conceptual Schemes; Cross Cultural Studies;
*Cultural Awareness; Decision Making; Elementary
Secondary Education; Futures (of Society); *Global
Approach; School Role;”Social Studies; *Teaching
Techniques; Values; Wo


d Affairs; *World Problems

A more complete understanding of global


is provided in this essay through an examination of the modes of
thought, sensitivities, intellectual skills, and explanatory
capacities which contribute to the formation of a global perspective.
With an emphasis on both a formal and informal educational level, the
essay is divided into five sections which examine the requirements
for an attainable global perspective. Section 1, Perspective
Consciousness, underscores the need to recognize the concept tha


everyone’s perspective is shaped by subtle influences and that others
may have different perspectives. Section 2, State of Vq: Planet
Awareness, examines the problems and solutions for increasing the
ability of individuals to intelligently interpret information about
world conditions. Section 3, Cross Cultural Awareness, describes the
different degrees of -cross- cultural awareness and the,necessity to
reach a stage beyond empathy where one has the capacity’to imagine
oneself in a role within the context of a foreign culture. Section 4,
Knowledge of GlObal Dynamics, analyzes the world as an interdependent
system where the issue of growth may be the predominant contemporary
problem. Section 5, A.;–z1.11Ass of Human Choices, emphasizes that
increased global’ iperspectiVb will require difficult value decisions
about the solutions to our world problems. (Author ‘DE)

D)cuments acquired by ERIC include many informal un blished

* materials not available from other sources. ERIC makes eve effort *
* to obtain the best copy available. Nevertheless, items of ma inal *
* reproducibility are often encountered and this affects the qua ity *
* of the microfiche and hardcopy reproductions ERIC makes availab e *
* via the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS). EDTS is not
* responsible for the quality of the original document. Reproduct ons *
* supplied by EUS are the best that can be made from the original. *










/Om \




This exploration was made possible partly through a grant
from the National Endowment for the Humanities to the
which commissioned Robert G. Hanvey to undertake the
task. It is published by the Center for War/Peace Studies.

Graduate School of International Studies
University of Denver, Denver, CO 80210

218 East 18th Street, New York, NY 10003

An Attainable Global Perspective

Robert G. Hanvey



Dimension 1:

Perspective Consciousness

Dimension 2:

“State of the Planet” Awareness

Dimension 3: Cross-cultural Awareness

Dimension 4:

Knowledge of Global Dynamics

Dimension 5:

Awareness of Human Choices



This e .say is a beginning effort to define some elements of what we call a
global perspective to flesh out some of the things- we will need to know
and understand,,if we are to cope with the challenges of an increasingly inter-
dependent world. The views are those of the author, published here to begin
the discussion, debate, and analysis which will be necessary for a widespread
and more complete understanding of what global perspectives are and how
they can become part of the school curriculum.

Another exploration of questions raised for education by interdependence
is the publication A New Civic Literacy: American Education and Global
Interdependence by Ward Morehouse, Interdependence Series # 3, published
by the Aspen Institute for Humanist;c Studies, Rosedale Road, P.O. Box 28


Princeton, NJ 08540. This is available at $1.00 per copy.

Robert G. Hanvey
An Attainable Global Perspective

This is an attempt to describe certain modes of thought,

sensitivities, intellectual skills, and explanatory capacities
whiCh might in some measure contribute to the formation of
a global perspective and which young people In the U.S.
might actually he able to acquire in the course of their for-
mal and informal education. That is what-is- meant here by an
attainable global perspective. By speaking in such terms, we
imply a modesty of goals. This indeed is our orientation, to
provide some contrast with the general practice of stating
objectives in ideal and often extreme terms.

What is a global perspective? Operationally,we will say that
it consists partly of the modes of thought, skills, etc. that
will be discussed in the following pages. But as conceived
here a global perspective is not a quantum, something you
either have or don’t have. It is a blend of many things and
any given individual may be rich in certain elements and
relatively lacking in others. The educational goal broadly
seen may be to socialize_ significant collectivities of people so
that the important elements of a global perspective are repre-
sented in the group. Viewed in this way a global perspective
may be a variable trait possessed in some form and degree by
a population, with the precise character of that perspective
determined by the specialized capaciues, predispositions, and
attitudes of the group’s members. The implication of this
notion, of course, is that diversified talents and inclinations
can be encouraged and that standardized educational effects
are not required. Every individual does not have to be
brought to the same level of intellectual and moral develop-
ment in order for a population to be moving in the direction
of a more global perspective.

In keeping with modesty of aspirations it is especially.
important at the outset to admit the limited impact of for-
mal schooling and the often profound impact of informal
socialization. Schools are hard put to match the drama and
appeal of the mass media or the grip on behavior and attitude


exerted by the peer group. Furthermore, whatever is learned
while young is continuously reshaped by later experience.
The world view of an American farmer will no doubt reflect
his schooling to some extent, but it is likely to be most impor-
tantly influenced by exigencies associated with his role as a
farmer and by attitudes currently held by his most important
reference group other farmers.

If adult role and informal agencies of socialization are
very important, can the schools contribute meaningfully?
Yes, especially if they are able to stake out areas of special
competence. The schools must select a niche that comple-
ments the other educative agencies of the society. To the
extent that those other agencies and influences work against
a global perspective the schools can perform a corrective
function; to the extent that the other agencies are glib and
superficial the schools can seek to be more thorough; to the
extent that the other agencies have blind spots the schools
can work to supply the missing detail; to the extent that the
other agencies direct the attention to the short-term extra-
ordinary event the schools cart assert the value of examining
the long-term situation or trend (which is sometimes extra-
ordinary in its own right).

Consider, for example, public information and socializa-
tion in the U.S. with respect to nuclear weapons policies. For
many years the governments of the U.S. and the USSR have
influenced each other in multiple ways by developing, main-
taining, and threatening to use nuclear weapons of awesome
destructiveness. The populations of each country, and the
population of the world, have been held hostage to this terri-
ble threat. But neither government really informs its popula-
tion about the true dimensions of the threat. Films of
H-bomb tests, for example, have not been shown to the
American or Russian people. Generations of school children
grow up without examining this profound influence on
national and international policies, without really under-

media threshold




long-term phenomenon

standing what a single warhead would do to a city and its
environs. Occasionally, when th,;..e is some change-or special
event such as a weapons test or a political agreement the
long-standing theories of deterrence will be reviewed in the
media. But there is little probing of the assumptions that
underlie the policies, or reexamination of the potentialities
of destruction. The media are event-centered. A volcano is of
interest to them only when it erupts.

The result of this pattern is that the general perception of
important phenomena is limited and distorted; the public
sees only those manifestations that are novel enough to rise
above the media’s threshold of excitability. But the phenom-
ena, watitettrt%they policies of deterrence, or ,corporate
investments in the developing countries, or government
investments in scientific research, or the protein consump-
tion habits of industrialized populations, continue to affect
our lives, visible or, not.

In fairness to the media it must be admitted that such
phenomena are not, by and large, intrinsically interesting to
most people. To specialized groups, yes, but not to broad
publics. And interest is what keeps newspapers and television
stations alive. It must also be admitted that some newspapers
provide extremely important resources for broad p’iblic edu-
cation and that the television networks occasionally reach
millions with significant documentaries and background
stories. But the general characterization of the media as
event-centered is not, I think, unreasonable.

The media, of course, are more than event- centered. They
are culture-bound and culture-generating. That is, they re-
flect the culture and reinforce it but are also capable of
turning it in new directions. The culture says, “Consume!”
and the media transmit that message ingeniously, seduc-
tively, repetitively, persuasively. Very persuasively. And the
audience responds to the cultural command. It does not
question what it is told to consume. Electric heating is


clean be the proud owner of an all-electric house. Be sure
that the new car can reach 60 miles per hour in ten seconds,
even with the air conditioner on. Buy the lawn fertilizer with
the weed killer built in. Then the times change and the mes-
sages change. Consume, yes, but also conserve. And watch
for environmental effects. And the media, always there on
the growing edge of cultural transformation, pass the new
messages along with the same devotion to technical quality
am’ the same servility to whatever it is currently correct to
believe in that particular society. the messages may be social-
ly useful or not. But the influence is there, the long reach
into every home and hotel room and bar, the powerful rein-
forcing of enduring cultural ideas, themes, stereotypes,
coupled with the equally powerful capacity to mobilize alto-
gether new patterns of belief and opinion almost overnight.

If this is the way the media are: event-centered, and
potent servants of both traditional and emergent elements of
the national culture, what then for the schools? The schools,
after all, are also carriers of the national culture. But the
schools must stake out a niche that balances and corrects the
media. The schools may be bearers of culture but they are
also agents of an academic tradition that encourages scrutiny
of that which seems conventional and obvious. If the media
direct attention to events, the schools must look beneath the
apparent event at the phenomena really involved. If the
media say, “Believe this way!” the schools must reveal that
in other times and other places people believed and now
believe in quite different ways. At the very least every young
person should have experiences in school which demonstrate
in a lasting fashion that (1) there are substrata to the visible
event and (2) culture affects the perception of human affairs.
Thus educated, the person’s reactions to reports in the media
should be, minimally, “There may be more there than meets
the eye,” and “Other eyes might see it differently.” Those
are truisms but the schools can put flesh on them.


Perspective Consciousness

the recognition or awareness on the part of the individual that he or she has a
view of the world that is not universally shared, that this view of the world
has been and continues to,be shaped by influences that often escape con-
scious detection, and that others have views of the world that are profoundly
different from one’s own

Few of us in our lives can actually transcend the view-
point presented by the common carriers of information and
almost none of us can transcend the cognitive mapping pre-
sented by the culture we grew up in. But with effort we can
at least develop a dim sense that we have a perspective, that
it can be shaped by subtle influences, that others have differ-
ent perspectives. This recognition of the existence, the malle-
ability, and the diversity Of perspective we might call per-
spective consciousness. Such an acknowledgement is an im-
portant step in the development of a perspective that can
legitimately be called global.

Achieving perspective consciousness is no small ace=
plishment. It is probably true that most people in most soci-
eties do -not sense the uniqueness of their own or their
society’s worla view. Herman Kahn in The Emerging Japa-
nese Superstate tells the following anecdote:

The Japanese do not think of themselves as being
racist. I once brought sharp surprise to a number of
senior Americans and Japanese with whom I was hav-
ing dinner by suggesting that in some ways Japan is the
most racist nation in the world. One of them asked me
to explain what I meant. I started, of course, with the
obvious point that the Japanese, at least in comparison
with other groups, are relatively pure racially. There
are, so to speak, no blond Japanese, no red-haired
Japanese, no blue-eyed Japanese. And the attitude of
the Japanese toward miscegenation is very different
from that of, say, the French or the Chinese. If some-
body is born of a mixed marriage in France or China
but grows up perfectly familiar with and skilled in the
indigenous culture, he is largely accepted. That is not
true in Japan. The children of mixed marriages are
more or less permanently barred from participating
fully and comfortably in the society. Those bars also
hold against children born in Japan but of Korean or
Chinese parentage. One crucial point in the discussion
was that the Japanese do not normally notice that they
discriminate against these minorities, because the dis-


crimination is so thorough that the issue usually does
not arise [my italics] . I asked the Japanese if they
could imagine, for example, having a General of Kore-
an parentage. They could not. I pointed out that it
was perfectly possible in China.*

It could be argued that people are very aware of differ-
ences in perspective, or at least of opinion. The Japanese may

helbe blind to t racism, but Americans are surely aware of
the racist elemlts in their own society and keenly aware
that different factions within the society have different views
4 appropriate behavior with respect to minorities. And if the
media are important shapers of perspective, isn’t it true that
conflict and dispute are the main diet of the press and elec-
tronic media? Anyone exposed to these influences must cer-
tainly know very early in life that people differ radically in
their perspectives.

Opinion and Perspective
Here, I think, one must make a distinction between opin-

ion and perspective. Opinion is the surface layer, the con-
scious outcropping of perspective. But there are deep and
hidden layers of perspective that may be more important in
orienting behavior. In such deep layers lies the Japanese view
of other ethnic groups. Korean inferiority, note, is not a
matter of opinion to the Japanese. It is profoundly assumed
and thus not recognized as racism by the Japanese. Similarly,
in the deep layers of Western civilization has been the
assumption that human dominance over nature is both at-
tainable and desirable. This, too, until recently, has not been
a matter of opinion.

One of the interesting things that reform and protest
movements do is to carry out mining operations in the deep
layers. They dredge to the surface aspects of perspective that

Herman Kahn, The Emerging Japanese Superstate (Prentice-Hall,
1970), pp. 72,73.



ordinarily unexamined

conceptions of

time, space,
causality, etc.



have never before seen the light of day. Once made.visible,
these nay become the foci of debate, matters of opinion.
The environmental movement surfaced the assumption of
man’s right to dominion over nature and thus posed some
philosophical choices that had previously escaped notice, The
feminist movement raised, the consciousness of women and
men with respect to.”woman’s place.” They labeled the most
commonplace behaviors and. attitudes “chauvinist,” and thus
revealed the deeper layers of perspective in action.

I have suggested that with effort we can develop in the
young at least a dim sense, a groping recognition of the fact
that they have a perspective. And this is very different from
knowing that they have opinions. At the present time the
schools and the media socialize all of us to he traders-in
opinion. We learn this through .discussion and debate,
through the contentious format of forums and organizational
meetings, through talk shows and newspaper columnists. We
learn, especially, that the individual is expected to have opin-
ions and to be willing to assert them. And we learn tacit rules
about “tolerating” differences in opinions so asserted.

We can also learn, if we approach the task with a sure
sense of purpose, how to probe the deep layers of perspec-
tive. A variety of specialists and social commentators regu-
larly operate in these realms and there are well-developed
methods and techniques. Some of these methods can be
learned and practiced. For example, some (but not all) values
clarification exercises can heighten awareness of otherwise
unrevealed aspects of perspective. At the very least if should
be possible to teach almost any young person to recognize a
probe of the deep layers when he sees it. Such probes come
in many forms, from the ironic humor of a “Doonesbury”
cartoon strip to the pop sociology of a book like Future

There are practical steps that schools can take to develop
perspective consciousness in students and to develop other
dimensions that will contribute to the enhancement of a
global perspective. We turn, now, to those other dimensions.


“State of the Planet” Awareness

awareness of prevailing world conditions and developments, including emer-
gent-conditions and tr
conditions, resource
science and technol

nds, e.g. population gtoWth, migrations, economic
and physical environent, political developments,
y, ealth, ilk:nation and intra-nation conflicts, etc.


For most people in the world direct experience beyond picture of world conditions? That question matters because
the local community is infrequent or nonexistent. It is not it is’ difficult to imagine a global perspective that does not
uncommon to meet resiaents of’Chicago neighborhoods who jaielude a reasonably dependable sense of what shape the
have never traveled the few miles to the central business/ world is in.
district, or sophisticated New Yoi.ktaxicab dr”,
never been further south than i delphia. If this is true for
a geographically mobile society like the U.S. it is even more a
fact for other parts of the world. Tourism, urban migrations,
commerce, and business travel notwithstanding, most people
live out their live§ in rather circumscribed local suiroundings.

Communication Media and Planet Awareness
But direct experience is not the way that contemporary

peoples learn about their world. Margaret Mead writes:
Only yesterday, a New Guinea native’s only contact

with modern civilization may have been a trade knife
that was passed from hand to hand into his village or
an airplane seen in the sky; today, as soon as he enters
the smallest frontier settlement, he meets the transistor
radio. tIntil yesterday, the village dwellers everywhere
were cut off from the urban life of their own country;
today radio and television bring them sounds and sights

cities all over the world.*

Nonliterate villager or suburban housewife, if doesn’t
matter that one stays close to home. Information travels,
rapidly and far. News of a border crisis in the Middle East
reaches within hours the shopkeeper in Nairobi, the steel
worker insSweden, the PeruVian villpger. There is now a dem-
onstrated ;,techntcalcaNcity for simultaneous transmission of
messages ,to almost tKentire human species, The character
of the messages is something else again. Here we must ask,
Do the messages received on those millions of transistor
radios and television sets contribute meaningfully to a valid


* Margaret Mead; Culture and Commitment (Natural History Press/
Doubleday, 1970), p. 71.


Generally speaking, the media in almost every country
will transmit news from around the world. As we discussed
earlier, the fundamental quality of news is its focus on the
extraordinary event. An outbreak of influenza is news;
endemic malaria is not. A rapid decline in values on the
world’s stock excha-nges is news; the long-standing poverty of
hundreds of millions is not. So, there are significant limits
and distortions in the view of the wkirld conveyed by news
media. Nonetheless, the prospect is not entirely bleak. For
one thing, the characteristic interests of the news media can
be exploited; events can be staged in such a way as tos call
attention to world conditions not ordinarily juaged news-
worthy. A world conference can be con \’ened on food or
population or pollution problems. The conference itself is-
news. More importantly, the condition that gives rise to the
conference takes on a neWlevel of visibility–worldwide. And
the news media are the instruments of this increased

Communication media, of course, transmit more than
news. The local community’s images of the world outside are
drawn to a substantial degree from the make – believe, world of
cinema and television drama. Tie distortions associated with
dramatic presentations are well documented. The lifeways
and cultural types of other countries are frequently carica-
tured; ironically, the lifeways and types of one’s own society
are also commonly caricatured. While the export of films and
television series from a country may mean an improved bal-
ance of payments, it by no means assures an improved bal-
ance of perspective. The world consumers of Aanerican tele-
vision and film can be excused for believing that, the U.S.
population consists largely of ranchers, doctors, policemen,
and gangsters.



Limits to Understanding
There are other sources of distortion. Political ideology

chokes off the flow ”1. some inhumation, the defense and
security syndrome nations blocks still other intormatiop,
and the selective disinterest of audiences constricts yet other
channels. As an instance of the first, Americans until recently
have had little access to inforimition about Cuba under
Castro. As an example of the second ‘-,the testing, of nuclear
weapons by the French and the ImIiansIkrecent years pro-
duced few hard details about site, yield, fallow. etc. (Govern-
ments have ways to obtain the intOrmation; puhlics do not.) As
ti- patterns of audience interest and disinterest\ consider how
little attention is paid to the affairs of small rations, or to
conditions in the rural areas of the world. And) with no com-
plaint from the audience.

Finally, there is the matter of the technical nature of
world data. There aie now unprecedented resources for gen
crating information shout the state of the planet, and for
sharing and processing the inhumation in order to obtain a
sense of the important patterns. But the procedures are high-
ly technical and the results expressed in technical terms. A
certain level of education is required to see the full signifi:
cance of the data. The case of ozone in the stratosphere is

While environmental scientists are concerned about too-
high ozone levels in the air of cities (since it produces emphy-
sema-like effects) there is also concern about the possible
depletion of ozone in the stratosphere. Ozone in the strato-
sphere blocks out much of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
Such radiation is so harmful that scientists believe that sur-
face life did not evolve on the earth until after the ozone
layer had been formed. There is now a real possibility that
gases released into the air by man will redu,_7e this ozone by
significant amounts. One villain is the propellant gas used in
aerosol cans. This gas is very inert in the atmosphere (which
is why it can be mixed with the many compounds found in
spray cans), but recent research has shown that it breaks
down under certain wavelengths of ‘ultraviolet light. When it
breaks down, chlorine is released, which acts as a catalyst and
destroys ozone. Thus, the gas escapes into the atmosphere
when the spray can is used; it does not degrade in the atmos-
phere (since it does not react with other gases); some of it
seeps into the stratosphere, is broken down by ultraviolet
light, and the released chlorine destroys ozone. Predicted
results: increased number of skin cancer cases, possible biCt-
logical damage to vegetation and some insect species, possible
effects on plankton in the oceans, possible effects on climate.

This is a world condition. Even if we stop using aerosol
cans now, piopellant gas which might destroy an estimated S
percent of the planet’s ozone layer has already been released.
If the propellant gases continue to be produced and produc-
tion increases at its present annual rate, then ozone depletion
might reach 30 percent by lq94.* ,

These projections are not certainties. Furthermore, the
ozone, even if depleted. will eventually build to original
revels if the destructive agents ere controlled. So the situation
is not necessarily dire. But there is a basis for concern. The

“Stratospheric Pollution: Mult!T Threats to Earth’s Ozone.”
– Science, October 2 5, 1974, pp. 3.1S-338.

question is, Who will understand and share that concern’? Can
a problem like stratospheric ozone depletion he widely com-
prehended so that it becomes a living part of what a general
populace ‘vows about the planer? Or are such problems
fated to stay Within the private realms of specialists’?

Overcoming the Limitations
This is an instance where the energies of the schools, prop-

erly directed, might resolve the question in favor of the gen-
eral populace. It’ from the earliest grades on students ex-
amined and puzzled over cases where seemingly innocent be-
haviors the diet rich in animal protein, the lavish use of
fertilizer u n the suburban lawn and golf course were shown
to have effects that were both unintended and global in
scope, then there could be a receptivity for the kind of infor-
mation involved iu the ozone case. The ozone situation
would not seem forbidding; it would be another instance of a
‘model already documented. Students would have a frame-
work within which to handle it. As for the technical aspects
of the ozone .situation, these do not seem beyond the reach
of science and social studies departments that focus coopera-
tively on the technical dimensions of significant planetary
conditions. It may be true that school programs are not typi-
cally organized for such qe,-.task, but it is not outside the
boundaries of our predilections or our capacities.

Suppose the schools do not Work at the task of increasing
the ability of individuals to consume information intelli-
gently about world conditions, or even at the simpler task of
transmitting raw information about such conditions. Sup-
pose, for example, that the schools choose to ignore environ-
mental conditions, problems of world resources, trends in
population, the economic circumstances of various world re-
gions, political developments, social movements, changes in
technology, developments in world law, etc. Can a “state of
the planet” awareness be achieved without the participation
of formal educational institutions? I suspect so. Despite the
flaws and distortions of the media there is simply no ques-
tion that people everywhere are being reached with a flow of
information about planetary, conditions a flow that would
have seemed impossible even a generation ago. The quantity
of information will probably continue to increase. And so
will the quality. General public awareness of the_ state of the
planet may be one of the more attainable elements in a
global perspective.

‘Furthermore, we are not entirely dependent on broad
public awareness, whether it comes from the media or the
sdio’ ‘-. Since a global perspective is here defined as a collec-
tive achievement, the role of specialists should he given its
due. Every society depends on its specialists to sense aspects
of the environment not generally perceived by the masses. If
the specialists are aware of important conditions in the
world, then in effect the whole society has the benefit of
that awareness (or at least potentially has the benefit of it).
Perhaps few people can grasp the meaning and danger of
exponential growth in population aid resource consumption.
But if those few can share their alarm with policymakers the
direction and value orientation of whole nations can he



Cross-cultural Awareness
awareness of the diverSity of ideas and practices to be found in human socie-
ties around the world, of how such ideas and practices compare, and including
some limited recognition of how the ideas and ways of one’s own society
might be viewed from other vantage points

This may he one of the more difficult dimensions to at-
tain. It is one thing to have some knowledge of world condi-
tions. The air is saturated with that kind of information. It is
another thing to comprehend and accept the consequences of
the basic human capacity for creating unique cultures with
the resultant profOund differences in outlook and practice
manifested among societies. These differences are widely
known at the level of myth, prejudice, and tourist impres-
sion. But they are not deeply and truly known in spite of
the well-worn exhortation to “understand others.” Such a
fundamental acceptance seems to he resisted by powerful
forces in the human psychosocial system. Attainment of
cross-cultural awareness and empathy at a significant level
will require methods the circumvent or otherwise counter
those resisting forces. Let us think afresh about what such
methods might he, with a full reclignition of how difficult
the task will he and a corresponding willingness to discard
ideas that don’t work.

Does Understanding Follow Contact
One of the cherished ideas of our own times and of earlier

times is that contact between societies leads to understand-
ing. The durability of this notion is awesome considering the
thousands of years of documented evidence to the contrary.
Consider the following example. When the French began to ex-
plore North America they came into contact with a number of
aboriginal granps. At various times they attempted to muster
the males of these groups into fighting units. The Indians
clearly had no aversion to fighting; they were warriors, skilled
in the use of arms, proud of triumphs over an enemy. But they
would not take orders. French commanders had no control
and the so-called chiefs of these groups depended on persua-
sion, which might or Might not he successful. Every individual
Indian warrior made his own decisions about whether to join
a raid or war party, worked out his own battle strategy, and
left the fray when he chose.

This kind of contact between the French and the Indians
provided the French with detailed information on the ways
of. their Indian allies information they noted scornfully in
their journals, sometimes sputtering in rage and frustration.

But the behavior they described was incomprehensible to
them. By virtue of the concrete experienceS that the French
had with the Indians, the French had rich data but no
understanding. The French were able to see Indian behavior
only in the light of their own hierarchical social system,
where it is natural for the few to command and the many to
obey. Social systems that worked on other principles were
literally unimaginable.

Of course, now we are more sophisticated. What happens
when the nature of the contact between groups is not one of
exploitation or domination but rather one of sympathetic
assistance, and where there is at least some preparation for
the cultural differences that will be encountered? Here is an
account of Peace Corps experience in the Philippines:

Most human relationships in the world are governed
by a pervasive fatalism, in the Philippines best de-
scribed by the Tagalog phrase, bahala na, which means,
“never mind” or, it will be all right” or, “it makes no
difference.” Ainericans, more than any other people in
history, believe man can control his environment, can
shape the forces of nature to change his destiny. That
peculiarity, which is essentially Western, is quintessen-
tially American.

Most of the peoples of the world also value depen-
dency and harmony relationships within the in-group.
Rather than stress independence in relationships
freedom from restraint and freedom to make choices
they emphasize reciprocity of obligation and good Will
within the basic group and protection of that group
against outgiders. It is the group family, tribe or clan

which- matters and not the individual. In the Philip-
pines, this phenomemon is perhaps best described by
the term utang na bob which means a recipiocal sense
of gratitude and obligation.

The value of independence in relationships and get-
ting a job done makes us seem self-reliant, frank, em-
pirical, hardworking, and efficient to ourselves. To Fili-
pinos, the same behavior sometimes makes us seem to
be unaware of our obligations, insensitive to feelings,
unwilling to accept established practices, and down-
right aggressive….

Nearly all volunteers had to struggle to understand
and deal with Filipino behavior that, when seen from
our peculiar stress on independence in relationships as

1 i

opposed to Filipino utang na look was deeply distress-
ing. . . Filipinos wanted to he dependent on others
and have others dependent on them; they were often
ashamed in the presence of strangers and authority
figures; they were afraid of being alone or leaving their
families and communities; they showed extreme defer-
ence to superiors and expected the same from subordi-
nates; they veiled true feelings and opinions in order
not to hurt others or be hurt by them

It is one thing to study and understand utang na
boob. It is another to have a principal treat you as a
status figure and to insist that you tell him how to run
his school, or to have children in your class cower in
what seems to be shame, or to have neighbors who care
much more that you should like them and that you
should have a pleasurable experience than that you
should get, your job done,

Filipinos, with their incessant hospitality and curi-
osity, repeatedly made it plain that for them the main
job of Peace Corps volunteer& was to enjoy themselves
and to enhance pleasure for those around them, an
approach to life best described by the Filipino phrase,
pakikisama. . . . Nothing was more difficult for volun-
teers to understand or accept than that Filipinos
wanted them for pleasure in relationships and not to
achieve the tasks to which they had been assigned….

It was not just the Filipino’s stress on utang na boob
and pakikisama which interfered with getting the job
done. It was also bahala na, the widespread fatalism of
the barrio which showed itself in the lack of emotion
at the death of little children, the persistent and nearly
universal beliefs that ghosts and spirits control life and
death, add the failure of Filipinos to keep promises and
appointments. Why should the job matter when fate
governs human existence?

During the first two years, four volunteers resigned
and twenty-six others were sent home, usually by
mutual agreement, because they were not able or will-
ing to cope with the extraordinary psychological bur-
dens of being Peace Corps volunteers. Some volunteers
developed a “what’s the use” attitude and failed to
appear at school, or made short unauthorized trips
away from their barrios. Withdrawal was sometimes
followed in the same volunteer by extremely hostile
behavior against the Philippine Bureau of Public
Schools, Washington, and the Peace Corps staff. Some
volunteers, particularly those in the first group, wished
there was some honorable way for them to cut short
their tour of duty without an overwhelming sense of
personal failure.*

The American Peace Corps volunteers, like the French
officers of the 17th century, could not escape the poWerful
influence of their own culture, especially since that culture
was so deeply embedded in the very definition of the ink.
sion. The task was to render assistance. And success was
measured by some kind of closure, “getting the job done.”
Filipino behavior stood in the way of getting the job done.
There were distractions, delays, and detours. And the posi-
tive reinforcements that a busy, efficient American would
have received in his home setting were nowhere to be found.

T;’wrence H. Fuchs, “The Role and Communication Task of the
Change Agent Experiences of the Peace Corps in the Philip-
pines,” in Daniel Lerner and Wilbur Schramm, ads., Communica-
tion and Change in the Developing Countries (Honolulu: .East-West
Center Press, 1967), pp. 242-245.


The result: puzzlement and frustration equivalent to that of
the French in their relations with Indian groups.

Achieving Understanding
But stink volunteers did solve the cultural puzzlsL

A male volunteer from South Catalina, 4.,12,,:as as
much admired by Filipinos and volunteers as ariY.vol-
unteer in the project. Almost from ,the first,,he ac-
cepted people for what they were, learned-the dialect,
made friends, and seemed to enjoy that/More than any-
thing else. After two years, he. wrote, “I consistently
belived and followed a life based on getting away from
all identity or entanglement with the Peace Corps. My
reasons were . . . figure out a little bit about what
was going on in The Philippines, to see what was really_
significant in my own place, to try to understand, lite
here, and to learn to function in a way that could be
meaningful to me and the community. I burrowed into
life here unmindful of anything but my community
and involvement and survival….”

Although everyone had thought that he epitomized
the ability of a volunteer to live deeply in the culture
after it’s* months, he wrote toward the end of his
third year, “I have continued to change here and have
now sort of reached a point of being able to feel with
others. This is different from understanding howlhey
feel. I am able to be a part of them as they ‘do things
with each other and me. . ..”*
D was a success in both Filipino and Peace Corps terms.

So was another voluntee


Acmale volunteer from Massachusetts ran what ap-

pears to have been highly successful in-service training
classes on English and science for teachers. He also had
effective adult education classes and a successful pig-
gery- poultry project. He seemed to blend into his com-
munity almost from the beginning, becoming one of
the first volunteers to learn the dialect from his region
and use it extensively. He enjoyed serenading at night
with the gang from the sari-sari store and drank tuba
with the older men. who, as he put it “had the pleasure
of learning they could drink the American under the
proverbial table.-t

These two cases teach us some useful things. Both volun-
teers genuinely joined their communities. They learned the
language, sought to “burrow in.” Most importantly, they ac-
cepted the Filipinos on their own terms and made friends
with them, presumably long before their own understanding
of the local culture had developed. D wrote, “The people are
different, but willing to take me in….” Somehow or other,
the Filipino traits that so frustrated other volunteers were
not an obstacle to these two. Instead. these two acceptpd not
only the worth of the Filipinos but the worth of their ways,
enough to practice them joyfully. And out of that long przie
tice came D’s remarkable statement that lie was now able to
feel with others.

Did the two volunteers “go native”? In a sense. Perhaps
the most important respect in which this is true lies in the

Ibid., p. 253.

t Ibid., p. 250.

th ial atitlL tj tbC !cil .t tfltt(a
a ai Ia:t I he e teL’is iii

lic I hat tip ttii va it iced in two
i 11 iia have LCU itil’nailv .ahte to tee pai-

iit: iii 1:. ‘va ‘atists Iii to iink tuba with the
et it, that pai ii tion t hate vua tat

tl:iL the tz: ;’r nz! iur itei’e nut
v ltee: ( inv,ltf the ,ippi t

ap ‘.Li . attic inr tiatil ie1 icr that 1) cli
– r ” cii cia it i the Peace (‘oip a the ap

Iik ! hi’s

icli an awareness ul minol it world-views, The i ssmg ele-
ments arc lespect aiid pai ticipation. The society offers limit-
ed ialitic,zions t’ir reinforcement of respect toi mulorities

and vei limited penalties tar disrespect. And ii ofhrs
bsolutelv no rewards to those of the white matoritv who

might seek to participate in mlnorit behavior patterns. The
sit U. It)fl tOT the miiioi it gro Us is st)niewhat dift’eretit
tilL-IC ale o.ial rewat ds !ui pai ticipatilig in the majontv cul-
ture and many individuals shuttle moic or less successtuhiv he-
t’.cen the tvvu worlds oi woik out some kind of synthesis.



l mat av areness of a proknnii suit iS exiremeI
a dii ticimit tt attain – what are the optluns Are tho. esser

varieties of awareness that ijught nonetheless he said to con-
IV. h t’ I tribute to a Iohal perspective’ Are there better methods

a’ -‘i a :at a ,i than have typically been employed to reach awareness” Is the
\ ; coal it sd sv urt liw hule. ,e does d1tis,’cii It unit awai eness

I ct me talk to that last question lust Yes, cross-cultural

.iWaIeIlcSs does matter. a the tolk Ing matur reason ii for
it other. Several million years of evolution seem to have
produced in Us a creature that does not eiisl! ecogni/e the.0
menibers of its own species. That is stated ii rather esagger-
atd form but it refer-s to the tact that human rtroups coin-
tiTonir ha-dittkuit un aicepting the liuntanne of ithei
human eruup.ia a a a .’- an’ Irc’ ,

a ; a. . a . \pdl idLe that I) teit that L -t.s e call a group ot piimitives iii nitrthemn Noi th
a i I n a et’u. aint teelmg m l’thpm v at America Fskimos this nahie. originated h certain

a h it , ii 011 Pri’ C. Csfl\’dlaht it :’: . Indians to the south of the Eskimos, means “Eaters of
a a at ter au-ta: ‘pe icu iii tue dtt -ut:es 0 Raw Flesh” however. the I skinios’ own name h

a 0 iItiIili2I.ittts ate u-pi- thiellisdlves is not I-skiifl hut Is Inupuk. meaning ”RealI’eipIe’ By their name the- provide a contiast he-
t’ ‘


a’-ie’c thiits Itt_s id iitht_ ips tt I ittt. I I uJit ht_

a ,. -‘: a- OetweeT Rt’t’iltS ,.!dt ‘ ‘ \,people Out me tievem real.
‘I T. ae. ‘:uITn

1.1,1 t- at .0 .:ai i nv. .it’e
-V. 1 IT nat

unii Pucipotion Miaaiii Elemonts

‘a a ,’,- ‘ : Ta Tun- .iIn:L.-

a. ca _ – . i’ !:- e.. :

i-u ,’ ic ktnd ‘h,i

– , ,, ‘., i a .’: u t’;g lIitei’ at

I. .i”: na a.i it 1:tCII Sustdiflthl attot,..
. I, a !,’IT . -.,tiute u- I” 1 1

La’ TI. a’.a I he L Lilait Il a


1 ,:L’-a SI ‘ i ,in’ge’ l t
i”, “, ,’- ” ,,. – utte u-Lean it’. ill the III

:.LI.-C. t a

V.1′ an, ”Ii” ,Lna,,.’ Ci a. leava tht

ta. Lit ,aJro’,i aV.aICtlC-:, iS nt le tiL’d- ‘, ‘- t” an. V. 0 TC.I, hI t’,
– a ,’ a.a:u’ i,’V,eaal t.. L cur ‘a’lti e

a .’L .- t’ in ,-l:.d’, tepitc mnlcgtatlaI ant

( 1.1.0. ‘a u a-a’: vtc-l’un’t aJ:teta

I hi.: nractieg iat naming one’s own group “the peopie”
and 1 mi i icati in ic lia 11 rig alt ‘timers to iu- t -quit c-human
‘ft ii’. fats heeii docupñemed in ,’toiiIitera te goups all over the
vvatld, But ii u sIr1u-1r one maniksi,tiuu ot -t species ti .ut
that sI iw . it s’h I in rim ski ii populations as well – It is t hiert_’ in

hi i’,t uk’ taca’ ot the white patents tlemnonstiatmg against
-t_ i. tol h usmn1 – .0 will find it lurking in the hat_’kg n mud as
Russians and ( ‘t Indst_’ meet at the negotIating table itt work
mat what is tstitibl a houndai s. dispute. And it flares into

gemi during tribal disputes in Kena
It ikt list . it_c. have bee it an adaptive t i aim – Pc rlips_ ui

– e nova tend to miepiecate. it still is. e call it
chauvinism rather titari self-esteem. (‘hem l. . there are positive
ct ue t:. a’.soci,tled Vv ithi a strong sense of g4ii iLleuitul . I uy.

us a virtue evcr whiee. dmsiovalt a!tlioitetl cveivwhere –
I he iti ct ha i mm )ny t grit ups is ‘t tenet biened ii a0arm’ssim in
.ai he displat_e1 – diver ted to external taigeus. %nd it agures’

‘am mti is n be List i tied, t hen it I met ps i I the cii ems is not quite
bimau It helps evei moi e it time enem can be siiowp to he
engag it ig in pi act ucc hat am e SO mm ut ragei musl duff em cut ft m
tue ‘- mvv it that lit c’. td ii he cued ib lv labeled u’r h uin,m

‘1 I-cia’ Wa’ ,r itnie vv hen the mimd,ti U mat ‘malt CIUps m’


‘It c nh’Ii ii I t’,’.’. ,m 11 n )t’tt t’mIj’tC L)ut’ m lit’ ‘U U itt-bin
t’,t”.Sm’i itt, . i ‘i”

humans was the basis for the survival of the species. But in
the cGtitext of mass populations anti weapons of mass
destructiveness, group solidarity and thoi associated tendency’
to deny the full, humanness of other peoples pose. serious
threats to the species. When we speak of “humans” it is
‘important that we include not only ourselves and our imn e-
diate group but all Iciur billion of those other bipeds, hoy-
ever strange their ways.

This is the primary reason for cross..:ultural awareness. If
we are to adMit the humanness of those others, then the
strangeness of their ways must become less strange. Must, in
fact, become believable. Ideally, that means getting inside the
head of those strangers and looking out at the world
through their eyes. Then the strange -becomes familiar and
totally believable. As we have seen, that is a difficult trick to
pull off. But there may he methods that will increase the
probability of success. Further, there are lesser degrees of
cross-cultural awareness than getting inside the head; these
mote modest degrees of awareness are not to be scorned.

Levels of Cross-cultural Awareness
We might discriminate between tour levels of crosscul-

tural awareness as follows:

Level Information Mode Interpretation

. awareness of superficial
or very visible cultural
traits: stereotypes

tourism, text-
books, Nation-
al Geographic

144.citerc, ”
iizt?11,. ,


awareness of significant
and subtle cultural
traits that contrast
markedly with one’s

culture con-
flict sittua-

ice. frustrating,

III. awareness of significant
anti subtle cultural
traits that ,ontrast
markedly with one’s





awareness of how
another culture feels
from the’etandpoint
of the insider

living the

believable be-
cause of sub-
jective fund-


At level I, a person might know that Japanese were exag-
gerated in their politeness and gestures of deference. At level
II are those who know, either through direct or secondhand
experience, of cultural traits that significantly (and irritat-
ingly) contrast with one’s own practices. The French in their
telations with some Indian tribes and the Peace Corps volun-
teers who failed to adjust might be at this levet. So, too,
might those who despair over the seeming inability of many’
developing countries to control population growth. At level
III are those who might know, fir example, that the really
distinctive aspect of the Japanese social hierarchy has
nothing to do with the forms of politeness but rather exists
in the keen sense of mutual obligation between superior and
inferior. The level ill person accepts this cultural trait intel-
lectually; it makA sense to him. ‘Peace Corps violunteers

might have had this kind of intellectual understanding before
actual contact with host cultures. After that contact, sonic
of them slipped to level II and some moved to level IV.

According to this scheme, “believability” is achieved only
at levels III and IV. And I have argued that b,clievabiiity is
necessary if one group of humans is to accept othet mem-
bers of the biological species as human. I have also noted
the rigors of the climb to level IV. This seems to leave level
III as the practical goal. But-is lev I III enough?

My position is that level III is i deed more attainable than
level IV, end it if a ,reasonably worthy goal. But not quite
enough. We should try to attain at least some aspects of level
IV awareness. We can, There are new methods to be ex-
plored. And there is a more general reason for encourage-
ment. The evolutionary experience that seemed to freeze us
into ‘a small-group psychology, anxious and suspicious’ of
those who were not “us,” also made us the most adaptive
creature alive. That flexibilit/y, the power to make vast
psychic shifts, is very’ much with ns. One. of its manifesta-
tions is the modern capacity for empathy,

Beyond Empathy
Daniel Lerner in The Passing of Traditional Society

‘Empathy . . . is the capacity to see oneself in the

other fellow’s situation. This is an indispensable skill
‘for people moving out of traditional settings: Ability to
empathize may make all the difference, for example,
when the newly mobile persons are villagers who grew
up knowing all the extant individuals, roles and rela-
tionships in their environment. Outside his village or
tribe, each must meet new individuals, recognize new
roles, and learn new relationships involving hvitself….

. . . high empathic capacity is the predominant per-
sonal style only in modern society, which is distinctive,: rt
ly industrial, urban, literate andparticipant. Traditional-
society is nonparticipant it deploys people by
ship into communities isolated from each other and
from a center .. .

Whereas the isolate communities of


society functioned well on the basis of a highly con-
strictive personality, the interdependent sectors of
modern society require widespread participation, This
in turn requires an expansive and adaptive self-system,

,ready to incorporate new roles and to identify personal
A’alues with public issues, This is why modernization of
any society has involved the great characterological
transformation we call psychic mobility . . . In mod-
em society more individuals exhibit higher empathic
capacity than in any previous society.*

It’ Lerner is correct, modern populations have a dramatic-
ally .different outlook, a dramatically different readiness for
change, than traditional populations. That difference must
have been learned and by millions of people. If the latent
capacity tor empathy can he learned or activated, then it
may not he too much to work toward a psychic condition
that teaches a step beyond empathy. Magoroh,Maruyama, an
anthmpolgistphilosopher, describes that next step as trans-

*’ Dania Lerner, The Passing of’ 11(rditihnal ,S*,)eiety (Free Press,
1958), pp. 50, S I. I/


1 ‘it

Transspection is an effort to put oneself in the head
. . . of another person. One tries to believe what the
other person believes, and assume what the other per-
son assumes.. . . Transspection differs from analytical
“understanding.” Transspectiin differs also from
“empathy.” Empathy is a projection of feelings be-
tween two persons with one epistemology. Transspec-

Thon is a trans-epistemological process which tries to
learn a’ foreign belief, a foreign assumption, a foreign
perspective, f lings in a foreign context, and conse-
quences of s ch feelings in a foreign context. In trans-
spection a erson temporarily believes whatever the
other perso believes. It is an understanding by prac-

Empathy, then, means the capacity to imagine oneself in
another role within the c text of one’s own culture. Trans-
spection means the capac. y to i gine oneself in a role with-
in the context of a for ign – culture. Putting Lerner and
Maruyama together we might chart the psychic development
of humanity as follows:

Traditional peoples

Modern peoples

unable to imagine a viewpoint
other than that associated with

xed roles in the context of a
local culture

able to imagine and learn a vari-
ety of roles in the context of a
national culture

Postmodern peoples able to imagine the viewpoint
of roles M foreign cultures

Magoroh Maruyama, “Toward a Cultural Futurology,” Cultural
Futurology Symposium, 1970 American Anthropological Associa-
tion national meeting, published by Training Center for Commu-
nity Programs, University of Minnesota.

Or, we might show the sequence of development in a
more graphic way, as involving a movement froth the con-
strictions of focal perspectives through the expanded psycho-
logical flexibility necessary for role leaning in large, hetero-
geneous national societies, to the advanced versatility of
“global psyches” that travel comfortably beyond the con-
fines of the home culture. (The gray zone is home culture.)

The modern personality type did not develop because it
was planned. It emerged in the context of changing social
conditions. The postmodern personality type, similarly, is
not likely to be produced by educational strategies. But if
there is a broad social movement, an essentially unplanned
intensification of human interaction on the world stage, then
educators and other interested parties can y th’ett. minor
but nonetheless useful roles in the unfolding ama. For edu-
cators; that will mean providing students with maximum ex-
perience in transspection. And maximum experience means
more than time. It means a climate in which transspection is
facilitated and expected and in which the expectations are
reinforced. Under such circumstances the schools might pro-‘
duce a slightly higher proportion of persons with the kind of
psychic mobility displayed by D, the Peace Corps worker
who could feel with others. That would be a gain.

If more and more individuals reach the vantage point of
level IV awareness there will be another kind of gain. Dispell-
ing the stray geness of the foreign and admitting the human-
ness of all human creatures is vitally important. But looking
at ourselves from outside our own culture is a possibility for
those who can also see through the eyes of the foreigner
and that has significance for the perspective consciousness
discussed ealjier. Native social analysts can probe the deep
layers of their own culture but the outside eye has a special
sharpness; if the native for even a moment can achieve the
vision of the foreigner he will be rewarded with a degree of
self-knowledge not otherwise obtainable.


transspection capacity

natio Al
pew alive

high impolitic nape ‘nay

‘. local

Imo empathic,







Knowledge of Global Dynamics

some modest comprehension of key traits and mechanisms of the world
system, with emphasis on theories and concepts that may increase intelligent
consciousness of global change

-How does the world work? It is a vast, whirring machine
spinning ponderously around a small ‘yellow sun’? Is there a
lever we can push to avert famine in South Asia. or one tha’t
will cure world inflation, or erne to slow the growth of world
population’?,ls it our ignorance of which levers to move that
results in tragedy a crisis? Is it our ignorance of how the
gears intermesh tha causes breakdowns in the stability of the

Or is the ma me useful as a metaphor? Is it perhaps
better to think f the world as an organism, evolving steadily
inresponse to the programing in its germ plasm? Are wars
and famines merely minor episodes in the biological history
of a planet serenely following a script alre y written?
– The latter view is not a comfortable one for people in

industrial societies, raised tocbelieve that al ost anything can
be engineered, including the destiny of the world. But the
machine image doesn’t quite work, either, although we con-
tinue (as I have done) to speak of “mechanisms.” The idea of
a machine suggestg an assembly of parts that interconnect in
a very positive fashion, so positive that when you manipulate
one part you get immediate, predictable, and quantifiable

rYesp’onse in other parts. That does not seem to des:bribe the
world as we know it.

But both machines and organisms are systems of intercon-
nected elements and it is the idea of sy..tem that now pre-
vails. How does the world work? As a system. What does that
mean? It means we must put aside simple notions of cause
and effect. Things interact, in complex and surprising ways:
“Effects” loop back \and become “causes” which have “ef-
fects” which loop back . . . . It means that simple events
ramify unbelievably.,

The World as a System
The World as a system, is it well understood? Are the

interactions, however complex, charted and analyzed? Not
yet. I3ut the dynamics of the world systerq- are under inten-
sive imfestigation, frequently in the contekt of-policy plan-
ning by governments and corporations. These ask their advi-
sors. “What will happen if we make decision A as opposed to
decision B?” Th.-re are a number of strategies for answering


that kind of question, but the world conceived as a sysign is
intrinsic to all of them. This kind of exprience and other
studies have generated a small body of knowledge about im-
portant factors in the world system and about the dynamics
tic the system how the elements interact. Many aspects of
that knowledge are very technical and beyond general under-
standing, but certain concepts and principles are reasonably
accessible. Some like the concept of feedback are al-
ready making their way into the domain of popular. know-
ledge. Other ideas, with a bit of effort and ingenuity, can be
put within the reach of non-specialists.

These ideas will hav considerable value as constituents of
a globalperspective, pri arily because they replace simplistic
explanations and expect tions with more sophisticated, ex-
planations and expectati . For example, the simplistic ex-
planation of high birth rate n some of the less developed
countries is lack of education an lack of technology. People
don’t know how to control repro tion and they lack the
means to do,so,. The solution, then, is t dd information and
birth control devi . The systems view, by contrast, is that
there are more f ctors. operating in the situation than one
initially imag1hes. And you’d better find them and figure out
how they connect to the other factors. That assumption of
hidden complexity alters radically the interpretation of glob-
al phenomena. It reduces the likelihood of contempt for
those peasants who, strangely, do not seize the opportunity
to limit family size. And it improves the long-range possibili-
ties for real control of the situation. lc

The systems view in itFelf, however, does not guarantee
that hidden or subtle factors will automatically he revealed.
For thqt we must turn to a variety of independpnt inquiries
which have-lattempted to isolate and measure/ such factors.
Many !of these studies have been part of the general move,
menKtn recent years to understand and facilitate economic
develppmen.t. Why have some countries leapt ahead of others
in economic productivity?Why is there resistance to technical
inn9vatiori in some situations, acceptance in others? The
mote conventional answers to these questions have been in-
creasingly challenged ,14/ explanations that involve factors of
culture and psyctrlrOgy, such as patterns of motivation and
cognition. Perhaps these newer explanations deserve no

special standing, but they do direct the attention to factors
that ar’ ih,t ordinarily considered.

This is worth noting. Because it is also true of systems
thinking. The results of thinking in systems terms often of-
fend what we like to call common sense. Similarly, the newer
explanations ask us to believe things about ourselves and
others that tall outside the ordinary repertoire. We must

,–‘learn not only to accept the intricacies of system interactions
buy the influence of cultural expectations.. and cognitive
states that we do no usually sepse. The implication is fithis:j
much of what shoul be learned about global dynamics’ will
not be learned in informal arkinonformal settings, i.e. the
media’s view of how the wor Avorks cannot he counted on
to incorporate our best kno ledge of how the world works..
So we must use the schools t transmit that knowledge. This

Principles of Change
As stated., these are dry bones. So let’s put some flesh on

them, beginning with tile question of how students might
learn some basic principles of change. One of the most im-
portant and illuminating principles is that

things ramify

Suppose there is a pond. in the pond and around it live
several hundred species of animals and plants. One day a new
species is introduced to the pond habitat. What will happen?
The innocent view is that you have simply added something.
You had several hundred species; now you have one more.
By contrast, the educated view is that the introduction of a

is appropriate because the knowledge is technical, and it is., new species to the pond system may bring profound changes.
necessary because the knowledge often runs against the grain The population of some species may dwindle, others ex -.
of common belief and thus requires special justification;The plode; s )me may perish altogether. The new species may
classroom, with all its limitations, is a reasonably good envi.,),,have uch Teets because it disturbs complex relationships
ronment for mastering the technical and legitimating the new had acl ieved some degree of equilibrium. The new ele-.
and strange.

The School and Globai Dynalefts
But let’s begin to talk in more colic

ly might the schools teach aim
swer proposed
selection being, Does the particular learning contribute to an
understanding of global change? Because the control of
change is the central problem of out era. There are changes
we desire and seem unable t(). attain.- And there are changes
we wish to constrain and, as yet, cannot. There is also an-
other kind of change in spite of our difficulties we are
growing in our detect and manipulate change. A

hal perspective that fails to compreled both the prob-
lems of change and the promise of improved control will not
he worthy of the name.

Three categories of learning about change suggest them-

terms. Whz+e-ra4.;t-
obal dynamics? The alit

selective, with the criterion” it

I. Basic Principles of Change in Social Systems

the ramifications of new elements in social1 systems
unanticipated consequences
overt and covert functions of elements
feedback, positive and negative

II. GtOwth as a Form of Change

4sired growth in the form’of economic devel-
esired growth. in the form of exponential

increase in population, resource depletion,

III. Global Planning

national interests and glt)bat planMag
attempts to model the world system as related

to national policy formulation


meat sends shock waves through the entire system because
the habitants of .the pond envirotioent are hound up with
one another; wherever and however the new element enters
the life of the pond, the -effects will ramify through the

. Social systems operate in equivalent ways. Consider the
case of the Papago Indians of Southern Arizona. Around the
turn of the century Indian agents began to provide the Pap-
ago with farm wagons .Until that time, the primary means of
transporting goods had been the horse, used as a pack animal.

Papagos had their own meths is of packing. They
made saddles of two cylindrical bundles of whe’at stilw
or grass tied together with leather thongs and slung so
that one rested on each side of the horse’s hack. Goods
to he transported were put in panniers, made of fiber
or rawhide nets, which were slung over the strawpack

The Indians customarily changed their residence
with the season. During the inter months they livedAl
in the mountains, where ther were permanent supplies
of water in the form qf springs. In the summer they
moved down into the valOys to plan and harvest crops
of corn, beans, and w,*t. The inter and summer
villages were from 6 or 8 to . -r 20 miles apart.

Trading expeditions were frequently organized by
the Papagos for the purpose of obtaining seeds to plant.

. . Buckskin, grass rope, large baskets, and pottery
ollas were the usual trade goods. Papago traders some-
times went as far `as 250 miles on such expeditipns
reaching Bisbee, Arizona. and Hermosillo, Sonora….

Papago villages were small, ‘rarely consisting of more
than a hundred people, rid were organized as land –
using, political units, lay g claim to some permanent
water supply in the moo tains and to an area of arable
fields in the valley. Um Ily a charm, a large dirt-
banked reservoir, held the mestic water supply for a
field village during the summer months….

Hardly any surplus was produced in the desert vil-
lages, and there was no full-time specialization of labor.
All the men, including even the curing and diagnosing
shamans, worked in/the fields. They took care of the,
horses and managls!ditlieir packing, and most men could”
engage in the simple crafts of leather and woodwork-
ing. Women, besides cooking and ‘performing other

household duties. were part-time specialists in pottery-
making and basketry. The older hays and girls gathered
wood from round about the village, armload by arm-
load, and also carried the water inq ollas from the
charms or springs to the houses.*
Then came the won, vhich was welcomed by the Pa)-

ago even as it began to transform their lives. The wagon was a
thing of iron-and wood. Keeping it in repair required iron-
working, so a new skill and a new role for males- devel-
oped, that of :lacksmith. On the other hand, the skills of
making panniers and pack saddles fell into neglect since tack-
ing goods on individual horses was no longer necessary,

The wagon made it possible to haul watucfrom the reser-
voirs to the households in large metal barrels, which grad-
ually replaced the clay ollas. The female craft of making ollas
became much less important and the women devoted less time
to it.

The wagon was also a c mvenient means of hauling fire-
wood. The men began to cut wood in large quantities, replac-
ing the random gathering of women and children. Some of the
wood was sold in nearby tomihs and this stimulated interest
in the possibility of se(ling surplus corn and wheat to towns-

‘people, Thus the Papa hegar to move more actively into
the ,cash economy of the area, Although contawith local
towns increased, trading contact with .Mexicans decreased in
terms of numbers of Papago males involved..One or two men
on the wagon could make the trading expedition in place of
the much larger number of men and horses previously re-

And the wag lildan effect on- community- solidarity.
Accep nee of the wagon as a resource of the whole

village under joint management was surely nut a part of
the expectation of the Indian agent. He probably
thought in terms of individual ownership. What hap-
pened was an adjustmrint to fife existing social organi-
zation and property,c0cepts of the Papagos. The vil-,
lage headman brouglithe wagon into the4ulture as a
unique resource. like the land, the use of which must
he shared, This sharing led to the new group activity of
road-building, in accordance with the same pattern as
land improvements.-‘r

Things ramify. A new element is, in trodnologies
.'”. disappear or decline, The sexual division of labor changes.

New skills are learned, Old patterns of contact with outsiders
erode, new patterns emerge. Community activities find a new
focus. The effects of a lowly farm wagon on packhorse

The Papagos and their wagon seem remote from us,siow.
And not, perhaps, -very important. But cases like this docu-
ment the natural behavior of social systems in useful ways:
From such cases students can, learn not only that new ele-
ments have the power to alter whole systems but that there
are inevitably unanticipated consequences. The Papagos
wanted the wagon. They, had practical tasks deafly in mind.
And it served many of their intentions. But it seems unlikely
that they intended the destruction of certain traditional
crafts, or a new division of labor, or increased partiefrifiv
in the region’s cash economy. If they-Dad wished for any tit

* Edward H. Spicer, ed.. Human Problems in Technological Change
(John Wiley & Sons, 1967), pp, 25, 27.

t Ibid.. p. 31.

these effects, it seems just as improbable that the wagon
would have been chosen as the instrument for bringing them
about. And yet, it was the instrument.

Partly because our understanding of complex social sys-,
terns is limited, surprise continues to be the rule. Carroll
Pursell, a historian who specializes in American technology,
puts it this way: there are always more effects than intended.
To a considerable extent we have traditionally tended to
blind ourselves to this fact. We have dismissed those unin-
tended consequences as “side effects,” as if they cre of minor
importance. But the “side effects” are often the6ost impor-
tant effects. In recent years the ecology movement has per-
formed a major job of consciousness raising in this regard.
There are now laws and regulations that require organizations
to anticipate and assess the environmental consequences of
their activities. A new level of consciousness is thus rein-
forced by government fiat. There are no equivalent pressures
to examine oth kinds ofimpact, but sensitivity is growing.
What the s iety is learning is that

r there are no “side effects” bur
there are surprise effects

What this rulesaysis that when you intervene in a social
system he prepared for surprising consequences too profound
to be dismissed as “side effects.” -“,’

The extent to which consequences li,’-a11 he both surprising
and profound is nicely demonstrated by the case of bottle-
feeding technology. It. is an article d faith in the developed
countries that “modem” practices are superior to “tradition-
al” practices, and that if less developed lands will incorporate
modern practices the lives of their peoples will he improved.
The bottle-feeding of infants is a modern practice involving
special containers and nipples and commercially marketed
“formulas,” most of whicll must he mixed with water. In
recent yeks bottle-feeding has become a symbol of modern
sophistication in developing countries, although it is begin-
ning to lose its appeal in the countries where it has its origins.

In the United States, the breast has been gradually
transmogrified from its nutfitional role into a cosmetic —
and sexual symbol so potent that an American woman
may no longer nurse her baby in public. The trend is
beginning to reverse: over the last decade there has
been a grass-roots movement to resume breast-feeding,
a back-to-nature reaction against the unwarranted in-
trusion of technology into an intimate, aspect of family
life. Ironically, just when American mothers are put-
ting babies back to the nipple, women in under-devel-
oped countries are imitating in droves the Western fad
for the bottle,*
What .are the consequences of brittle-feeding for the per

ple of developing lands? Erzonornic loss, for one thing.
Twenty years ago, 95 percent of Chilean mothers

breast-fed their children beyond the first year: by
1969, only 6 percent did so, and only 20 percent ofI
the babies were being nursed fin.’ as long as two
months. Potential breast milk production in Chile in
1950 was 57,700 tons, of which all but 2900 tons, or 5
percent, were realized, By 1970, 78,600 tons (or 84


I o

Nicholas Wade, “Bottle- Feeding: Adverse Effects of it Wes rri
Teehnology.” Science, April 5. 1974, pp, 45-4fi.


A global perspective appropriate
to the times must include . . .
insight into particular patterns
of change, those most character-
istic of the times.

percent) of 93,200 potential tons were unrealized. The
milk of 32,000 Chilean cows would he required to
co sensate for that loss,*

B edirig tends to he an urban phenomenon in devel-
opin_ .ntries although declines in breast-feeding are also
report d in rural areas, Even when calculated only for urban
populations the losses are substantial.

An estimated 87 percent of the world’s babies are
born in the developing countries, about a quarter of
them in urban areas. If 20 percern°9 f the-estimated 27.
million mothers in urban areas cl.pAiot breast -Feed; the
loss in breast -milkls $365 million. If half of the other
80 percent do not continue to breast-feed after the
first- six months, the, total loss reaches,, $780 million.
These estimates, however, clearly understate the situa-
tion-, losses to developing countries more likely are in
the billions.l.

These figures do not adequately depict the losses in per-,
sonal terms. The poor cannotafford to buy muc of anything;
they especially cannot afford to buy what they o not need. A
poOr woman persuaded that bottle-feeding is superior to
breast-feeding is simply b’eing robbeii: henceforth she denies
her child the superior nutrition she possesses and allocates,

,– :.carte resources for the purchase of inferior nutrition.
The child is alsoz,being robbed, possibly of life itself. For-

mulas must he mi0t) with water and local water supplies are
often contarninatelSevere diarrhea is much more common
in bottle-fed babies than in those who are breast-fed.


According to a 1970 studytin San Salvadk three-
quarters of the infants who di rom the end of the
first through fifth month had bee reast-fed less than
thirty days. if at all: of those who d in the last half
of the first year of .life, slightly ove ralf had been
breast-fed less thaw a month. . . . -peat s of children
from diarrheal diseases (which are \ usually nutrition
related) in Recife, where only 22 percent of the chil-
dren were breast-fed at least one month, were nearly
thrd’ times the rate in Kingston. where the correspond-
ing figure is 73.percent.** ._\


Even when children do not lose their lives they and
their society may lose a portion of their human potential.
* Alan Berg, The Nutrition Factor (Brookings Institution, 1973), p.


+ Ibid., pp. 92.93.

** ‘bid_ pp. 94, 95.

Adequate nutrition is crucial to the full development of the
brain and it is especially important in the early’rnonths of
life. As breast-feeding has declined, the average age of chil-
dren suffering severe malnutrition has dropped from eighteen
months to eight months. Malnutrition at that early age often
leaves permanent handicaps.

There is another consequence. of bottle- feeding. Nursing
mother are less likely to become pregnant. In societies
where breast-feeding is common, births are spaced more
widely. Lactation is a kind of birth control, and bottle feed-
ing removes this natural constraint.

Economic loss, infant mortality,.improper brain develop-
ment, population growth. Surprising and profound conse-
quences of a minor technoiogyintroduced to the developing
peoples of the world. The commercial food companies in-
tended only to expand their markets and increase their
profits. The go nmental agencies with their dry milk feed-
ing programs irTended only to improve nutrition. But the
consequences ramified beyond and in some respects contrary
to intentions. That has been the common experience of tliose
who seek to ,change even the smallest elements of social

Much of the difficulty in anticipating consequences origi-
nates in the failure to discern the complex functions of system
components; Breast-feeding has a very obvious function: to
provide nutrition for the infant. But it has taken much re-
search to shoW that there are special factors in that nutrition
which build the\body’s immunity systems and thus guard
against disease throughout h1 Another hidden function of
breast-feeding, as mentioned tove, is birth spacins, Thus,
there are obvious functions an less obvious, concealed or
unknown,. functions. When we remove a component from a
system we Are unplugging not only the obvious connections
but often inadvertent tearing loose the concealed wiring of
all those other-function . The best and often th-emost
,painful way to learn all he functions of a component is to
remove it from the system. That, in effectis what happened
when bottle-feeding supplanted breast-feeding in the develop-
ing countries. We now know much more about the complex
functions of breast- feeding.

Sometimes, of course, the concealed wiring is not very
concealed. People know /bout it, at least *ntuitively. This is
one explanation for resistance to change. eople, realize that
a seemingly small change will turn their w rld upside down.
A classic case of this is described by Elting orison in Man,
Machines and Modern Times. At about the turn of the cen-
tury the American naval bureaucracy was re isfing the efforts
of a young officer to introthice a new kind f gunsight pio-
neered by an English admiral. The new gunsi called for a
new system of gunnery, called continuous-aim firing, and was
much more accurate. Using the old system the Navy had
tired 9500 shots, during the Spanish-American War, and regis-
tered 121 hits. But we had won the war, so why change the
system? Under the new syste by contrast,

… one naval gunnelt-mad ifteen hits in one minute at
a target 75 by 25 feet (at a range of 1600 yards): half .
of them hit in a bull’s-eye 50 inches square.*

Eventually, the young officer won his case but only after

* Elting E. Morison, Men. Machines and Modern Times (M.I.T. Press,
1966), p. 22.

the intervention of President Roosevelt. Why the resistance?
Here is how Morison explains it.

The opposition, where it occurs, of the soldier and
the sailor to such change springs from the normal hu-
man instinct to protect oneself, and more especially,
one’s way of life. Military organizations are societies
built around and upon the prevailing weapons systems.
Intuitively and quite correctly the military man feels
that a change. in weapon portends a change in the
arrangements of his society. . . . In the days when
gunnery was taken lightly, the gunnery officer was
taken lightly. After 1903, he became one of the most
significant and powerful members of a ship’s company,
and this shift of emphasis naturally was shortly reflect-
ed in promotion lists.* ,

Morison’s hypothesis seems eminently reasonable, i.e. it is
quite likely that there are times when people intuitively un-
derstand the cQmple ‘ty of their social arrangements and the
fragility of those ar ements. There are surely other times
when such understanding is lacking and people single-ind-
edly pursue narrow goals without anticipating any effect-

‘t cept the uhievement of those goals. Ih trying to understand
change and resistance to change both possibilities must be
kept in mind. But perhdps the most useful adjunct to our
understanding is the rule that reminds us metaphorically of
the multiple and often hidden functions of elements in a’
system: iip

look for the concealed tiring

Suspect, in other words, that the obvio function of the,
element is not its only function; track d n those other
functions. The obvious functiop of a naval gunsight is to aim
aPgun. The hidden fun5iori’of that naval gunsightt was to
serve as the technological base of a social hierarchy. Proof?
Change the gunsight and watch the hierarchy change.

Let’s take stock. Three rules have beenproposed:

things ramify

them are no “side effects” but
there are surprise effects

look for the concealed wiring

Do these ,..ontribute to an understanding of c,hange in
social systems? In a small way, perhaps. The first two rules
constitute a prescription for caution and humility. They say,
“Watch out, consequences can be unexpected and pro-
found.” ,The third rule helps to explain the reasons for that
taution and humility the connections that tie the system
toather are comple4,and to some extent hidden from view.

Technological Innovation and Change

But we need to know more. global perspectiv appro-
priate to the times must include n t only general phnciples
but insight into particular p rns of change, those most
characteristic of the, times. e cases sketched above the
Papago and their innocent acceptance of the farm wagon, the

* Ibid., pp. 35-37.

Navy bureaucrats’ resistance to the new gunsight, the de-
structive effects of bottle-feeding are small episodes in a
worldwide movement that has been building for several cen-
turies. This movement undergirds what might be called the
technological innovation pattem of change. There are two
elements in this pattern: the generation of new technology
and the diffusion’of technology from one society to another.
Since World War II this has been an especially powerful pat-
tern in the world. The reconstruction of war-devastated lands
and the emergence of proud but poor new nations called
forth major programs in technical assistance. The economic
redevelopment of the industrial countries that “lost” the war
enabled fresh starts and engineering breakthroughs; Japan,
for example, jumped ahead in steel, shipbuilding, and elec-
tronics. The Cold War stimulated high technology develop-
ments in nuclear weapons, biochemistry, space capabilities,
computers. Educational institutions produced increasing
numbers of scientists and engineers to feed the growing de-
mands Of governments and corporations. Billions allocated to
R & D (research and development) assured their employ-
ment 4),M other billions were allocated over the years to2technic= aid, to transfer advanced technology from the
“haves” to the “have-nots.”

The rapid pace of technological development and its diffu-
sion shapes and Shake§!_our lives. But we hardly notice. We
cannot imagine living under other circumstances. Like riders
in a racing car our senses are dulled by the roar of our pas-
sage and we do not feel our speed.

Is it possible to become more aware of this pattern of
world change continuing revolution in technology that
transcends all ideologies and undermines all traditions? If so,
to what purpose?, Will increased awareness bring increased
control? That will depend to some extent on the nature of
the awareness. The desirability of technological innovation
has not been questioned until very recently. Now there is a
questioning attitude, with respect to environmental conse-
quences. But there is only slight attention to other kinds of
effects. In general, the benefits of technological change con-.
tinue too seem concrete and immediate, the risks tenuous and
distant. Confidence in technological solutions remains high,
particularly in the developed countries.

Under these circumstances, gains in awareness will require
very focused effort. I* would suggest three targets. First, v
young people should be sensitized to the global consequences
of technological decisions which seem to be the_legitimate
responsibility of the individual, or corporation, or nation.
Stratospheric ozone depletion is a case where individual in-
dulgence in a minor convenience and corporate interests in
the sales of that convenience may be leading to a condition
of global peril. There are similar cases livorthy of study.

Second, students must be encouraged to imagine what has

hitherto been unimaginable the abortion of certain tech:
nologies, We need some classroom games and simulations in
w1-ich the central task is to decide about pulling the plug.
Like, the psychopathic computer in the film “2001,” the
machines and their advocates will threaten and mutter as the
process of disconnecting them proceeds. The nuclear energy
ihdustry, which is a prime candidate for abortion because or
the totally unresolved problem of radioactive wastes, can be




expected to go down fighting. The readiness to contemplate
abortion of selected technologies will be facilitated by knowl-
edge of alternatives, some themselves technological, some
involving new institutions and values. The “need” for nuclear
energy-, for example, rests On certain assumptions about the
inevitability and sanctity of economic growth, and the avail-
ability of alternate energy resources. These assumptions are
not inviolate, we should be willing to entertain alternative

Which brings us to the third and most important aware-
ness that our beliefs about the naturalness and the good-
ness of technological change are related to our beliefs about
the naturalness and goodness of economic growth. The belief
in the desirability of economic growth comes close to being a
universal secular religion. Advanced industrial countries,
however wealthy, pray that growth will continue and view
temporary interruptions as calamities. The less developed
countries pray at the altar, too, hoping to achieve rates of
economic growth that will more than match rates of popula-
tion growth, Sophisticated technology and continued ad-
vances in sophisticated technology are widely viewed as the
necessary instruments of this growth. In advanced economies
the movement is in the direction of automatic machinery and
the gradual phasing out of tasks requiring human labor and
human thought. In the developing countries the problem of
production is seen in terms of machines that will amplify
human labor, chemicals that will increase the fertility of land
and suppress insect pests, and transportation that will link
the hinterland to markets.

It seems unarguable that developing countries should seek
and be helped to improve the material conditions of life and
Particularly. to eliminate the direst kinds of poverty and suf-
fering. Growth that will provide adequate nutrition, health
care, and shelter is not _to be despised. That means increases

The belief in the desirability
of economic growth comes
close to being a universal
secular religion.

in agrictrisural productivity at the least, developments in
transportation and communication, possibly major efforis to
develop and improve industrial production. But improved liv-
ing standards may also come by improvements in the social
arrangements through which people obtain the necessities of

How do you help developing countries grow? The domi-
nant Westeritr–rwdel calls for increased use of complex ma-
chines and the training of technicians to operate and main-
tain til’em. Apply the knowledge of scientific experts. Use the
latest variety of seeds, even though they require irrigation
and heavy application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

The main thing is to increase production through efficient
use of all the factors that contribute to output toolsore.
sources, labor, knowledge.

The Western model of economic growth is strongly orient-
ed by the value of efficiency and by the goal of maximum
production. It does not attend, typically, to the problem of
equitable distribution. The ruling assumption is that if pro-
ductivity rises everyone in the society will benefit, at least to
some degree. There is another model of growth, represented
by the ideology of Mao’s China:

The Maoists’ disagreement with the capitalist view
of economic development is profound. . . . Maoists
believe that while a principal aim of nations should be
to raise the level of material welfare of the population,
this should be done only within the context of the
development of human beings, encouraging them to
realize fully their manifold creative powers. And it
should be done only on an egalitarian basis that is,
on the basis that development is not worth much un-
less everyone rises together; no one is to be left behind,
either- economically or culturally. Indeed, Maoists be-
lieve that rapid economic development is not likely to
occur unless everyone rises together….

While they recognize the role played by education
and health in the production process, their emphasis is
heavily placed on the transformation of ideas, the mak-
ing of the communist man. . . . The Maoists believe
that economic development can best be promoted by
breaking down specialization, by dismantling bureau-
cracies, and by undermining the other centralizing and
divisive tendencies that give rise to experts, technicians,
authorities and bureaucrats…. Maoists seem perfectly
willing to pursue the goal of transforming man even
though it is temporarily at the expense of some eco-
nomic growth. Indeed, it is clear that Maoists will not
accept economic ,development, however rapid, if it is
based on the capitalist principles of sharp division
of labor and sharp (meaning unsavory or selfish) prac-

While capitalism, in their view, strives one-sidedly
for efficiency in prOducing goods, Maoism, while also
seeking some high degree of efficiency, at the same
time and in numerous ways builds on “the worst”:
experts are pushed aside in favor of decision-making by
“the masses”; new industries are established in rural
areas . . . expertise (and hence work proficiency in a
narrow sense) is discouraged; new products are domes-
tically produced rather than being imported “more ef-
ficiently”; the growth of cities as centers of industrial
and cultural life is discouraged….

Of course, Maoists build on “the worst” not because
they take great delight in lowering economic effi-
ciency; rather, their stated aims are to involve everyone
in the ,development process, to pursue development
Without’ leaving a -Single person behind, to achieve a
valanced growth rather than a lopsided one. .. .*

The Wegtern model of growth has significant achievements
to its credit, but does not always travel well when applied to
the problems of the less developed countries. It creates new
scientific and technical elites in countries which may be fran-

JohiA. Gu ey, “Maoist Economic Development: The New Man
in the New ‘hina,” in CharleSX. Wilber, ed., The Political Econ-
omy of Development and Underdevelopment (Random House,
1973), pp. 308-310, 312.

18 it


tic to lay aside a societal structure controlled by elites. It
fosters new dependencies, not the least of which is a depend-
ency on fossil fuels. And it is based on an ethic of individual
striving and achievement that often runs counter to the Mode
of groups which treasure cooperative social activities and
goals. Most important is the primacy of growth itself the
ultimate goal is an unceasing expansion in the production of
goods and services. In the service of that goal technological
progress is viewed as an unblemished asset.

The Maoist model subordinates growth to other considera-
tidns: equitable distnbution of material benefits, collective
participation. the denial of legitimacy as well as opportunity
for self-striving, localism, and inventiveness by nonexperts.
Nonetheless, growth is important there also, and has been
achieved. The Maoist model may travel no better than the
Western model but on the home grounds there seems to have
been substantial success. China is still “underdeveloped” with
a per capita GNP of perhaps $160 but:

The basic, overriding economic fact about China is
that for twenty years she has fed, clothed and housed’
everyone, has kept them healthy, and has educated
most. Millions have not starved; sidewalks and streets
have not been covered with multitudes of sleeping. beg-
ging, hungry, and illiterate human beings: millions are
not disease-ridden. To find such deplorable conditions.
one does not look to China these days hut, rather, to
India. Pakistan. and almost anywhere else in the under-
developed world.*

China’s contrast with other sectors of the less developed
world is striking, but the contrast with the values and strate-
gies of the Western industrial world is no less striking. For
those seeking cross-cultural perspective on groWth and devel-
opment Mao’s China offers a superb curriculum.

Let me stop for a moment to revieiv. The dimension un-
der discussion is that of global dynamics. with an emphasis
on principles, patterns, and mechanisms of change. A few
cautionary principles of systems change were illustrated.
Then I argued that an understanding of global change
required not only the guidance of principles but awareness of
certain dominant patterns of change in the real world. One
such major pattern was technological innovation. I suggested
that consciousness of that pattern required, among other
things, a recognition of the link between ideas about tech-
nology and ideas about growth. The almost universal com-
mitment to growth was noted, as was the existence of a
major society China now practicing a form of develop-
ment in which growth, while important, is subordinated to
other values.

What I have not yet said, at least directly, is that growth
itself is perhaps the most significant change in the contempo-
rary world. It manifests itself in the form of increases in the
absolute numbers of human beings, in the size of political
units, in the produCtivity of goods and services, in the inten-
sity of interactions among human groups. These forms of
growth depend on other forms of growth increases in the
consumption of resources, in the extension and grip of politi-
cal authority, in the organizational management of people
and things. And they spawn yet another form of growth

increases in the waste products of human activity, thermal
pollution of the atmosphere, chemical pollution a air, land,
and water.

Growth, then, has two faces. There is the smiling face that
promises improvements in material welfare. And there is a
tragic face that we have preferred not to see. Some who have
recently, dared to look upon it say that it too holds a prom-
ise. The promise that growth in the human population,
growth in the consumption of resources, growth in pollution,
cannot continue for very much longer. The limits have al-
most been reached.

That; diagnosis or warning has been circulating for some

Growth itself is perhaps the
most significant pattern of
change in the contemporary

time. Harrison Brown worried about it in The challenge of
Man’s Future in the 1950s. A more dramatic form came
several years ago with the publication of The Limits to
Growth. This was the report of a research team at the Massa-
chusetts Institute of Technology sponsored by the Club of
Rome. Using a great deal of data, and positing specific quan-
titative relationships among factors, the team projected pro-
ductivity, population, resource, and pollution figures into the
next century. The graphs spewed out by the computer were
shocking. Several important mineral resources were k:ni the
verge of exhaustion: in practical terms, for example. zinc and
tin ore might he unavailable within twenty years, and petro-
leum would last only another half century. There were other
supply problems. Arable land is a finite resource. At present
rates of productivity. agriculture can support perhaps eight
billion people. The world could have that many people short-
ly after the turn of the century. Inerease.productivity?.0.K.
But if population growth rates continue, that only delays the
day of reckoning for a few decades. By the middle of the
21st century the human race would have banged its head
against a hard and final wall no further increases in food
possible from agriculture as we know it.

Limits scared people and they sought reassurance. It was
available, abundant, and free. But events and new studies
‘tend to bear out some of the grim forecasts of the Limits
analysis. A very recent study by Mesarovic and Pestel* looks
at the future of the world system region by region. Various
scenarios, testing the effects of different policies, were
played out on the computer. The results for one region —
South Asia were especially tragic unless population growth
could be quickly halted and unless the region could be given
massive help in industrializing its regional economy.’Sia:e

* Mihajlo Messarovic and Eduard Pestel, Mankind at the Turning
* Ibid., p. 315. Point (E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc./Reader’s Digest Press. 1974).



these two conditions are not likely to be met, the tragic
scenario will probably be played out with real actors.

I have suggested that a global perspective should include
some understanding of change, and that growth may be the
dominant form of change in the contemporary world. That
sounds academic and not particularly important. What the
Limits and Mesarovic-Pestel studies assert, however, is that

=0.4, growth is of critical importance. The central message of these
studies is awesome. It goes something like this: Before very
long the world system is going to break down. That doesn’t
inecn- tural catastrophe but it does mean that the system will
suffer some terrible shocks, The reason for the impending
breakdown is that population, resource Consumption, and
pollution are grbwing exponentially. Since the world popula-
tion is already large,’ since many nonrenewable resources are
almost used up, since the environment’s capacity to absorb
pollutants is already strained, such growth cannot he con-
sidered benign. Exponential growth is treacherously rapid
and will bring us to the earth’s finite limits and thus to a
condition of severe stress within a few generations.

Schools and the Issue of Growth
This is an iftrportant message. it may not be entirely ac-

curate inits analysis, but as a wrning of probable danger it
deserves wide dissemination. By all agencies, including the
schools. The young as well as the rest of us need to be
apprised of the situation.

My impression at the moment is that issues’of growth are
not commonly found in the schools’ curricula. ThisOs not
too surprising. There needs to be a context, a persistent, con-
text. Not just the occasional spasm of interest in this prob-
lem and that. And there needs to be some consensus in influ-
ential quarters that growth can be thought about, ques-
tioned, planned. In other words, this is an issue open to
rational thought and thus a proper subject, for inquiry in
those of our institutions that teach and subscribe to reason.
The problem of a context wilt be solved if teaching for a
global perspective begins to play a larger ‘part in the orienta-
tion of curricula and ‘there are other possible contexts if
that does not occur. The prOblem of legitimacy is, I think, on
the way to being solved by-events-and by the convergence of
several broadly based social movements. The environmental
and countercultural movements of the late sixties and early
seventies hammered away at the values that undergird the
cult of growth. Energy politics in the last few years has
shaken the serenity of true believers previously untouched by
the protest movements. The movements forced people to
look at subtle costs of growth hitherto ignored. The rise in
the price of oil forced even the hardiest capitalist to think
twice about the conventional costs. So awareness has to some
extent already been raised, doubts have been uttered, and it
no longer requires bravado or ideological intemperance ‘to
think about growth. The underlying commitment of the soci-
ety (ours and most others) to growth will doubtless continue,
perhaps even be reinforced by the shock of apostasy, but
agnostics are not in any danger of becoming outcasts.

But can the schools manage the issues? At the outset I
suggested the need for modest expectations, for “attain-
ability.” Assuming that it is increasingly respectable to dis-
cuss the problematic aspects of growth in precollege class-

rooms, is it in(ellectuallyipractical to do so? The answer, I’m
afraid, is a rather .stkoared affirmative. Affirmative because
the impqrtant forms orgrowth in the world today, and the
mechanisms which feed them, are not too difficult to un-
derstand. Subdued because the issues are intricate.

Exponential increase is the crucial aspect of growth that
must be grasped.Positive feedback (when dominant over
negative feedback) is the mechanism that energizes it. Feed-
back simply refers to a situation in which the “effect” of
sonle event loops back and influences the next event. Imag-
ine a city whosestreets are clogged with automobile com-
muters., An expressway is constructed to handle the traffic.
The availability of the new expressway encourages more
automobile commuting, which has the effect of clogging the
expressway. So more expressways be built, which in
turn will soon be clogged.


more auto


In effect, the more tiaffic the more highways and the
more highways the more tralqic. In population, the more
people the more births and-the more births the more people.
That’s, positive feedback. If automobile commuters were
rational, the long delays on the crowded expressways, the
increased rate of accidents, and the hours of breathing ex-
haust fumes might prompt the search for alternative trans-
portation. Clogged streets might lead to mass transit and less
auto traffic. That’s negative feedback. Sometimes positive /’
and negative feedback are in rough balance. When they are’

‘not, when positive feedback is stronger than negative fed-
back, high rates of exponential growth can result .lb the’caSe
of world population, birth rates have remained high in many
regions while death rates (negative feedback) have declined,
producing a net growth of 2% each year. That’s 2% of a.
growing population so each year the world adds more people
than it added the year b e. Thus exponential growth: a
constant rate of grow pplied to a growing amount.

Year Population
Number Added
(at 2% growth)

1975 4000 million
1976 4080 80 million
1977 4161.6 ” 81.6
1978 4244.8 ” 83.2 ”
1979 4329.7 ” 84.9

1980 4416.3 ” 36.6 ”

If the world added 80 million people each year that would
be linear growth; if you graph it you end up with a straight
line. But the world is not adding the same number of people


each year; it is adding the same percentage (in this case “:re)
of a growing total. Graph that and you end up with a steep-
ening curve, the signature of dramatic and possibly cata-
strophic growth.

The dynamics of feedback and the characteristics of expo-
nential growth are not beyond the reach of young students.
Once grasped, they set the stage for at least a beginning
comprehension of issues related to growth. The basic issue,
and the most profoundly heretical, resides in the simple ques-
tion “Is growth desirable:Ahat question can be applied to
hundreds of specific instances, from plans to increase the
agricultural productivity of South Asia to the housing poli-
cies of local communities in the U.S. It is not; of course, a
simple question at all. Not too long ago it was. The answer
was always “Of course!” Should community X permit real
estate developers to build thousands of new houses on the
edges of the city each year? Of course! Why? Well, partly
because some people still live in substandard housing. but
mostly because a lot of people who live reasonably well want
to live even better. But what if the additional housing over-
loads the water and waste-disposal systems? That could be a
problem, but we think about the local economy, too.
If we don’t keep building, a lot of carpenters, roofers, elec-
tricians, and other craftsmen won’t have work and that
means they won’t be able to buy the things and services that
keep the rest of us at work, and you know where that leads.


So even it’ continued mowth brings problems we don’t dare
stop, do we? Now you’re \getting it!

Questioning the desirab4Ity, growth forces all kinds of
subterranean assumptions to the surface. That can be unset-
tling.– like picking one’s way through a philosophical mine-
field. Those bumps on the ground are value choices you
never thought about before. Touch one and if move
your equanimity for some time to comer

Is it realistic to imagine that precollege students can safely
and usefully trod such difficult terrain? Usefully, yes, in a
minor sort of way. Simulations can give students practice in
the emergent arts and techniques of growth assessment.*
Such simulations, of course, offer the merest shadow of
actual experience, but they anticipate and legitimate a world
where growth is increasingly subject to critical evaluation and
less and less the outcome of cultural momentum. Safely? If
that means without stress, no. We are in the process of tran-
siting from one psychic Order to another psychic order. We
are beginning to see things that we never saw before, to know
things that we ‘never knew before, to doubt things’that we
never doubted before. It isn’t comfortable. We are changing
and it hurts.


* See: “Simulating National Policy Choices.” Intercom No. 77 (Win-
ter 1974/75). Center for War/Peace Studies.. pp. 42-48.



Awareness of Human Choices

some awareness of the problems of choice confronting individuals, nations,
and the human species as consciousness and knowledge of the global system

Imagine a land of permanent dusk, a rough terrain
through which winds a darkly gleaming river. Here and there
across the landscape and along the river campfires glow.
Around each tire a cluster of people, huddled against the
dark, preoccupied with its own affairs. From time to time,
there are forays into the area away from the light of the
canfPfires and sometimes a brief contact with other groups.
Not always a very rewarding contact. Each group has devel-
oped distinctive ways of living, ways that seem appropriate
and natural to its members. bizarre and threatening to out-
siders. But the dark separates and allows each group to cul-
tivate its own mysteries and what it sees as its own territory,
the area illuminated by the flickering light of its own camp-
fire. And in the dark lie downstream group does not know
that the upstream grt4pabides by the same liver. (Jr even
that it is a river and not a sea.

But now imagine (hear with me!) that the long night be-
gins to end. The campfires which had once been the center of
each group’s existence now seem pale and the whole land-
scape is etched by brightness and shadow. The people stand
amazed and trembling, their previous perceptions and under-
standings and myths washed away by the glare. The hills,
each of. which in the dark had been experienced singly. are
now seen to be connected. forming a chain. Each group along
the river sees for the first time that other groupshe
same flowing waters. There are patterns to .i.(r/r1 valleys
and forests and a network of trails, a yellow and dusty On-
broidery of meadows vividly green. Outcroppings of ii;ock
that in the dark had seemed mysterious and ominous \,tre
shorn of their personalities and reduced to the ordinary .–AN
other peoples that in the dark had seemed illysterious and
sometimes ominous now look only awkward and a bit un-

This is fantasy but it as also a fair qegiction of the
situp in which human species now finds’ilsell. Flooded
by nevi4nowledge of how social and physical systems work
and interact on the global stage, sensing trends and patterns.
never sensed before, newly able to see into the distance of
time and imagine the future consequences of present aoions.
In the glare of new understandings, the old centers of our

existence grow pale and old habits lose their authority. So we
stand awkward and unsure, troubled by the need to resolve
strange new questions, lacking confidence that the ethical
principles of the past apply.

Pre-global to Global: A Transition
Throughout this paper I have talked of changes in aware-

ness. Awareness of our own cultural perspective, awareness
of how other peoples view the world, awareness of global
dynamic’s and patterns of change. In this final section I wish
to emphasize that such heightened awareness, desirable as it
is, brings with it problems 4,4 choice. As an instance, in a
-pre-awareness” stage the undoubted benefits of pesticides in
agriculture, forestry, and the control of diseases such as
malaria provide clear jugification for prolific application.

But then information about thti dangers of pesticides be-
gins to accumulate. DDT is found in the tissues of organisms
far removed from the points of appliziit-ton. Some species are
threatened with extinction. Risks not only to present human
populations but to future generations are identified. In some
countries the use of certain pesticides is halted altogether. A
change of awareness has occurred and new behaviors have
resulted. In sonic parts of the world.

Where is the problem of choice’? It lies in the tact that
pesticides like DDT are still in use. Widely. Hundreds of mil-
lions of people depend on DDT to control malaria and agri-
cultural pests. Ask someone in the developed countries if
DDT is still in use and he will likely say no, answering in
‘, of his own country’s practices. But use the question
on a world basis and the answer is yes. Viewed as a collec-
tivity, the human species continues to use DDT.

This continued use constitutes a de facto human choice.
In a conflict between the rights of living populations to con-
trol obvious and immediate threats to health and the rights
of other living and future populations to freedom from sub-
tle and long-term threats to health and subsistence, the for-
mer wins out. The immediate and the obvious triumph over
the long-term and subtle. But although the choice seems to
have been made the problem of choice remains. There is a
new cognition in the world. We now know that there are


long-term and subtle risks. Once we did nut. We now admit
that other peoples ond future generations have rights. Once_
we did not. That new ‘knowledge has not had the power to
halt the use of DDT where life and health are under severe
threat. but it has had the effect of blocking its use in many
other parts of the world, To put it. simply, there are now two
possible hehavi, it; with respect to DDT:

it it will solve a problem. use it

it it will solve a problem, don’t use it

The second of these hehaviorsniriginattn; in the new cogni-
tion. the new awlarent>s.,at,f4S and rights.

The DDT situati4 is simply’ an instance, a small manifes-
tation of the ma .)r cognitive revolution ;that is now under-
way. But 14 is a representative one. Many practices once
essentially automatic, whose benefits were assumed. are now
questioned. They are questioned because we know new
things. We ‘:now how to measure minute quantities. We
know that factors interconnect in complex ways. We know
that there are limits It the resources and carrying capacity of
the planet. In the context of the new cognition, action does
nut pioceed automatically. Calculations of advantage and dis-
advantage become explicit and detailed. Choosing a course of
behavior becomes a more reasoned process. That shift
from the automatic to the calculated is a very important
expression of the cognitive revolution we are now experienc-

Let me expand on the concept of cognitive revolution.
particularly as represented in the writings of the economist
Robert Solo. Soh) developed the concept of “cognitive revo-
lution” in his ho6k Economic Organizations and Social
Systems. In that hook he analyzed and compared stages of
economic development in terms of what people could ques-
tion and think about.

Those values, conceptions, relationships, and tOrms
of functional organization which, for a society. are set
beyond the pale of critical evaluation or reasoned
change are called here traditional. Those that ale con-
sidered open to critical evaluation and are systematic-
ally challenged and changed will be termed rational__
For every society there is a zone of the rational and a
zone of the traditional. What is contained in the zone
of the rational vis a vis the zone of the traditional is of
fundamental importance in determining the capacity of
a society for economic development.

most Americans consider any machine or mech-
anism. any technique or process of production, or
any business organization to be properly subject to
critical evaluation, to reasoned study, to purposeful
change. In the light of this rational cognition of
mechanism, of technical process. and of business organ-
ization, Ameridans have developed the ways and means
of subjecting these to systematic analysis. evaluation
and change. For sonic other societies, and particularly
the “developing” ones, the cognition of mechanism, or
process, and of business organization fall within the
zone of the traditional. They are … outside the scope
of systematic challenge or change.*

* Robert A. Solt. Ecemmnic Weani:atioas. and StIcial SyStOna
(Bohbs-Morrill Co., Inc.. 19(17), p. 376.

Solo goes on tunexamine three stages of historical eco-
nomic development in these terms. In the craft economy,
individual activities, various technical processes. and the rela-
tionships among economic actors all fall within time tradi-
tional. The craft economy “. . manages itself, following its
beaten paths. moving by an ancient clock4ork that has been
driven into the instinc.ts of the individual and into the habits
of the group.”

The shop economy was ushered in by the Industrial Rev:).

The Industrial Revolution was part of a general

assault on the traditional society by the individual in
the rational pursuit of his self-interest … each was on
his own, out for himself. free within the scope of his
personal powers to inquire, to manipulate. to change
the world for the sake of personal advantage . . Each
operation, and consequently the whole economy, was
driven by the open-ended desire of the single individual.
tor more for himself, more to consume. more to pos-
sess, more to display, more as a mark of worth and
success. The “craft economy.” of artisan and peasant
became the “shop economy” of the technician-inven-
tor and the free-wheeling entrepreneur . The watch-
words in the shop economy were not authority but
efficiency, not continuity but progress, not status but
success . . . The ancient rhythms of the crafts were
stop-watched, manipulated, speeded. divided into
parts. analyzed, redesigned. ..

Rationality, however. stopped at the shop door.
All that’ went on within ‘his factory or shop was

sub4litted to the critical inquiry and creative imagina-
tion \Pf-the owner-entrepreneur. But what of the inter-
action of his ship with all the myriad of others? . . .
These interactions were not brought within the zone of
the rational. What occurred in the market vortex was
not subjected to critical analysis or reasoned, deliber-
ated change.**

Then came the Organizational Revolution.
Another fundamental change in the scope of the ra-

tional cognition: now occurring. In the name of eon
mimic planning, or of political direction, or through the
development of autonomous corporations that encom-
pass a vast number of complex activities, the rational
:cognition is being extended beyond the scope of indi-
vidual supervision and of private self-interest. Virtually
all economic relationships are being opened to inqiiiry.
to analysis. and to the possibility of control and s:.-s-
tematic change … this extension of the rational cogni-
tion is coining about in many ways and has been ex-
pressed in a variety of functional organizations. In
Russia and China it is being engineered, from the top
downward with the rationality introduced first in the
control of general relationships and in’reference to col-
lective goals. In- the United States and Western Europe.
emerging out of the __rationality of small entities. it is
occurring in the corollary growth of the large corpora-
tion and the extension of political responsibility.


Ibid., pp. 377, 378.

J. Ibid., pp. 379, 380.

* Ibid., p. 38i.
Ibid.. pp. 381, 382.

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runderstood,practices d pkilieies that have destructive et -,
feet S beyond the national borders ean he followed withortir
lecogintion ot the scif destruative implication, Further.
since the protection of national interests is an Qxpansive
enough concept to include suicidal displays or pride and
determination. the scale of destruction visited on others can.
he awesome. Frit the fast 25 years it has lvvien
Russia and the U.S. to contemplate seriously the use of
weapons that would devastate not just the two countries but
the planet. for generations to come. That kind of non.
ehalance about eftects on others epitomnics the pre – global

Global Awdreness and Human Problems
The emergent global eognition contrasts sharply with the

pre-global. Lone-‘orm aons.equences begin to he considered.
Linkages between events are seen in the more complex light
of systems theory. Social goals ands values are made explicit
and vulnerable challenge. And nations begin to note that
their Interests.and activities are not separable tiom the inter-
ests and activities of others. Finther, systematic attention is
given to problems that transcend the national. regional. of

tonal. Human problems.
A global cognition has certainly not been achieved. Pre.

global forms of knowing continue to orient muali cif human
behavior. But the transition is UuderiA,.*, driven by the con-
vergent energies kir a Variet3, or social movements. If the
essence cii the transition is the shut from the unquestioned
for the consciously considered, then science must be seen,as
the most potent of these movements. Demanding. exposurti
of assumptions. active and systematic collection of eviden.:e,
and a fluid read mess to alter conclusions in the light kif new
data, the ethic and procedures of science pose a profound Lind-
lengc to oilier modes or knowng. The challenge is world-
wide. Scientific inquiries have been so manifestly. productive
that sclerosing methods are universally employed. permeating
almost every aspect of human activity.

Within the main current of the scientific cut. or
elaisiaIy associated with it are developme?Its ni ,eahirology
that constitute a movement in their own right. f here are the

and observation Ilhttinnents Thai make it possible
to detect, monitor. count, and analyze. tiny quantities of
chemical -, patterns pit niii,:ro-;:hange on the earth’s orrface,
tiler irrimagnetie radiatii in. microscopic stiactures. These are
more than devrfes for generating the data that leads to put,
iutowiedge. They are tools for monitoring the a:aro-realm:in:es
of human actir in. Whether a satellite sensor detectinr, an tilt
spilt or a gas ahromatograph measuring the partsTai
of imr m animal tissue. such instruments extend the iminan
nervous sy stem and thus the probability of human action
hirsad on rational calculations of effect.

Other technologier, and institutions are contributing to the
emergence oi a gbilial cognition. The ct impute: plays an nn.
Portant role in Work’ dentoriaPine and economic studies and
n the sy!,tents engineering movement. the latter. winch had
its early appheations in military and corporateat planning, uses
the computer to work rapidly. through the thousands tit equa-
or ins that posit how and with what qziantnative ti’qce various
factors in the worlO system relate to one another. System,

engineering and its models of how the world works can Ile,
challenged on many grounds, not the least of which is thaelts
forecasts may he just plain wrong. But accuracy at this
point is less important than intention and effort. Studies like
The Limits to Growth represent an altogether new level of
concern with long-term effects, complex ‘linkages of factors,
and the worldwide consequences of local decisions and
actions. Computer technology clearly facilitates this particu-
lar approach and the consequent healthy shticks to conven-
tional wisdom inherent in its “counterintuitive” results.

I don’t wish to exaggerate the influence of science and
technology on the development of to global cognition. Other
forces are at work, even a few aimed directly at the target.
But the unaimed, the inadvertent, are perhaps the more im-
portant. This would certainly include anything tending to
enrich the vision of nation-states as they pursue their “inter-
ests.”. Even the much maligned multinationals might con-
tribute to such an enriched vision. Corporate managers with
far-flung interests may take a longer, more complex view
some instances than political leaders. Their pvirrsperitives are
not channeled by popular attitudes; their interests are not
served by the success of any one nation. The multinationals
as organizations are creators and beneficiaries and necessarily
guardians of what is’ fashionably called interdependence.

The Mild:11’4 of that term interdependence testifies
in itself to the reality of the movement towaid a global cog-
nition. I have beer-etroubled at times by the facile use of the
term, believing than ,41. was a technical concept and meant to
be used with tealmitil precision. If interdependence meant
innitual dependence did that extend to asymmetrical relation –
snips” For example, what about trade between tfie eco.
rionneally weak and the economically strong, where in one
simse each needed the other but posse#e.d decidedly unequal
bargaining powers? Or what about the’imutual dependence of
antagonists. e.g.. military establishments? Externa/ threats
are the primary !umlauts of military organilationS; with a
high enough level of threat they grow and careers flourish.
They depend for those threats not on their friends but on
their enemies. Surely that is a kind of interdependence.

All of the complaining was nonsense on my .part It took a
while but it finally hit me. Interdependence was not a tech-
nical term at all. It was a code word. Social movements need
their code words and of course they use them a 110 erndely.
But the core message was there. The word was a distilled
argument. a challenge to the conceit ot autonomous power
and privilege, a call for recognition of cvniner.rions and conse-
quences dial vulnerabilities dial the old Cognition did not
admit. And, like other code words, it was a badge of identity:
To speak of interdependence was to belong to those who
Rnew how the world really works.

Let us consider. Proposition one: we ‘are in a rood of
transition, moving from a pre-global to a global cognition.
Proposition two: global cognition is characterized by new
knowledge of system interactions. by new knowledge of
long-range and wide-range effects, and by a more ;einiscions
use of such knowledge in planning human action. Proposition I
three: as such knowledge and its rational use expands. human
choices expand. Proposition tour an awareness of this ex-
panded range ,tit choice constitutes an import alt dimension
of a global perspective.

Awareness and Alternative Choices
Concretely, what might such awareness involve? It might

involve knowing of proposed alternatives to continued
economic growth, as in the so-called steady state world or
equilibrium society. It might involve knowing af,alternatives
to national policies of humanitatian aid and technical assis-
tanee. as in proposals for concerte, efforts by the developed
nations to build not only the agricultural and industrial capac-
ities of developing regions but a more coordinated global
economy in which emergency needs for food aid would he
much reduced and in which.necessaly food imports could he
paid for by regionally specialized industrial exports. Or, in
sonie contrast to the high technology on which the latter
proposals depend, it might entail knowing of the small-scale,
self-sufficient food and energy systems being devised by John
Todd and the New Alchemists group at Woods Hole* or spme
exposure to E.F. Schumacher’s ideas about “intermediate
technology. “t It might consist merely in recognizing that the
energy deficit used to justify development of such dangerous
technologies as the fast breeder reactor is the product of a
particularly gluttonous way of life, and that changing our
habits may he a reasonable alternative to risking our habitat.

World Hunger: A Case Study of Alternative Choices

As a way of exploring in more detail what an increased
awareness of choices might mean, consider the problem of
hunger and malnutrition in some areas of the developing
world. Prevailing practices call for donations of food to meet
emergency situations and technical assistance to increase
local productivity. both allocated- largely at the discretion of
individual governments. Motives tend to he mixed. political
aims ckarly interwoven with humanitarianism. The West sees
fragile economies as susceptible’ to infection trom the left
and seeks to strengthen their resistance. The collectivist
countries use aid to build-political debt and opportunity.
looking toward eventual restructuring of the total society.
The competitors. however, share this: they meet their own
cultural/ideological expectations and serve their ow. political
interests through the actions they undertake. The primacy of
those expectations and interests is never in doubt.

The prevailing practices, at least at current levels. are not
doing the job. The secretary-general of the UN’s Food and
Agriculture Organization noted in a recent speech that the
goal of self-sufficiency -in food within a decade could not be
met and that “the most urgent need . . . in the immediate
years ahead will he for a radicals. increase in food aid on a
guaranteed basis.”‘” The 1974 World Food Conference sug
rested that the deVeloping countries work toward an annual
increase of agricultural production of 3.6 percent, a rate of
increase that, unlike the current 1.6 percent. would outrun
population growth. In his appraisal the FAO official said,
“To speak frankly, it is clzi_at that such a transformation can-
not he brought about within the next ten years.”

° Nicholas Wade. “New Alchemy Institute: Search fur an Alterna-
Ow Agriculture.” Science. February 24.1975. pp. 727-729.

. Sthumacher, Sinai/ ic Beautiful (Harper Row, 1973’1.

” 1,)ri, Tunc.c. June 26.1975.

Conventional Answer

The conventional assessment of the situation, then, goes
something like this. Hundreds of millions of people lack ade-
quate food. They should be helped. Help consists of direct
food transfer, technical assistance, and investment. Such help
has averted immediate calamities. there have been break-
throughs in agricultural-productivity, but there are no guar-
antees of long-term assistance, and-investment commitments
are insufficient. Furthermore, the recipients seem unable to
achieve some of the changes in their societies, e.g. land re-
form and income redistribution, which might facilitate eco-
nomic development and gradually eliminate the need for out-
side assistance. So the problem of hunger in the world re-
mains unsolved.

One conventional answer (at least in the West ) to the
stubbornness of the problem is to increase the level of assis-.
tance.- This is essentially what the FAO official was prop9S-
ing. More direct food aid, more technical assistance, more
investment in agricultural production by both the developing
and the develplYed countries. (Population control has been a
standard component of the conventional answer but this has
become an increasingly delicate subject. with much suspicion
of Western motives.)

Increases in assistance are not everywhere accepted as the
answer. but some level of aid is assumed. A June 1975 item
in the New York Times noted that “the European Common
.Market governments refused early today to 1 crease their
contributions of grain to needy countries.”* Deb: e centers
not on whether there should be aid but on I much, of
what type, where allocated, for what reasons, and with what
probable results. These are questions discussed by national
and regional policymakers. and the answers reflect national
and regional priorities and concerns.

The discussion, of course, is highly technical and the
sketch I have given does not do justice to the vtriety of ideas
or the sophistication of analyses that play a part in decisions.
There have been decades of concentrated attention to prob-
lems of economic development, thousands ;If studies and
projects and progt anis. On the basis of this work by the
specialists. however, broad policies are developed and the

)lic acquires a rough sense of what the alternatives are. It
is my impression that until quite recently the public concep-
tion of alternative policies for dealing with world hunger
reduced the question to “How much aid should my country
contribute?” There arc two ‘assumptions in that question.
The first is that aid should he given. The second is that
decisions about aid are properly national or regional as in
the case of the Common Market.)

Challenges to Traditional Approaches

Consider. now, some ideas that challenge or bend the ,e
assumptions and the traditional approaches to aid. The big-
gest public splash has been made by the,roposal to apply
the criteria of triage to decisions about aid, and by Garrett
Hardin’s “lifeboat ethics.” Triage is a battlefield surgery con-
cept that focuses assistance on those whoi need help and can
be helped. Those who cannot be,s.aved tin(‘ those who will
survive without aid receive no attention. Hardin’s lifeboat


0 New York Tinter, June 26.1975.

analogue simply proposes that pulling the drowning into a
lifeboat already- filled and ready to swamp dooms all: the
survival of some requires letting others go under.

These are public shockers and have been widely de-
nounced as morally reprehensible. Triage says don’t assume
that every desperate situation can he salvaged: allocate your
resources on the basis of deliberate judgments about who can
really he helped. Deny the self-gratifications of charity mind-
lessly diffused and substitute the more sober rewards that
come from concrete improvements in selected situations.
Hardin’s message is somewhat different. lie raises the possi-
bility that the giving of aid can he dangerous: don’t risk the
whole human species in order to save part of it. Triage says
he effective. Hardin says he careful. Both deny the easy satis-
factions of the humanitarian impulse and both ignore politi-
cal criteria.

A message in a similar vein conies from Jay Forrester of
MIT. Forrester’s work is in computer models of systems and
in recent years he iras turned his attention from engineering
systems to social systems. His studies have led to the follow-
ing view of humanitarian efforts:

Humanitarian concern means help for one’s less for-
tunate fellowman. At times such help is based on a
much too simplistic view of the situation. It is usually
aimed at immediate goals. Long-term and short-term
goals may he in conflict. When does help in the present
lead to increased distress in the future?

Consider an overpopulated country. Its standard of
living is low, food is insufficient, health is poor, and
misery abounds. Such a country is especially vulnerable
to any natural adversity. … Droughts bring starvation:
but is that due to weather or to the overpopulation
that made sufficient food stocks impossible? The
country is operating in the overextended mode where
all adversities are resolved by a rise in the death rate.

. But suppose that humanitarian impulses lead to
massive relief efforts from the outside for each natural
disaster. What is the long-term result? The peopb! who
are saved raise the population still higher. With more
population the vulnerability of the country is in-
creased. . . . Disasters occur oftener and relief is re-
quited more frequently. But relief ‘leads to a net in-
crease in the population, to more people in crisis. to a
still greater need tOr relief, and eventually ro a situa-
tion that even relief cannot handle.*

In many ways this is not a new argument but in Forrest-
er’s case it derives from and is holstered by a relatively new
procedure of forecasting the computer modeling of
systems. In a rather famous paper, “The Counterintuitive
Behavior of Social Systems-, Forrester details the advantages
of this approach:

It is my basic theme that the human mind is not
adapted to interpreting how social systems behave. Our
social systems belong to the class called multiple-loop
nonlinear feedback systems. In the long history of
human evolution it has not been necessary for man to
understand these systems until very recent historical
times. Evolutionary processes have not given us the

Jay W. Forrester. -Churches at the Transition Between Growth
and World Equilibrium,- in Dennis L. Meadows and Donella H.
Meadows, eds.. Thwarri Global Equilibrium: Cullcted Papers
(Wright-Allen Press. Inc., 1973), pp. 351. 352.

mental skill needed to interpret properly the dynamic
behavior of the systems of which we have now become
a part….

Until recently, there has been no way to estimate
the behavior of social systems except by contempla-
tion, discussion, argument, and guesswork. . . It is
now possible to ‘construct realistic models of social
systems in the laboratory. Such models are simplifica-
tions of the actual social system but can be far more
comprehensive than the mental models that we other-
wise use as the basis for debating governmental ac-

T11 mental model is fuzzy. It is incomplete. Fur-
within one individual a mental model

chang ss with time and even during the flow of a single
convirsation. . . . Fundamental assumptions differ but
are never brought into the open. Goals are different
and ire left unstated. . . . it is not surprising that con-
sensus leads to laws and programs that fail in their
objectives or produce new difficulties greater than
those that have been relieved.

For these reasons we stress the importance of being
explicit about assumptions and interrelating them in a
computer model. . . . But the most important differ-
ence between the properly conceived computer model
and the mental model is in the ability to determine the
dynamic consequences when the assumptions within
the model interact with one another. The human mind
is not adapted to sensing correctly the consequences of
a mental model. . . The inability of the human mind
to use its own mental models is clearly shown when a
computer model is constructed to reproduce the
assumptions held by a Single Then it usual-
ly happens that the system that has been described
does not act the way the pertin anticipated.*

Forrester would argue, then, that solutions to the world
food problem should be determined lzk fashioning a very
explicit model of how the world system works (what affects
what ), adding pertinent data, and then letting the computer
test the consequences of alternative policies. This, in fact, has
been done. Mesarovic and Pestel, in their study Mankind at
the hinting Point, tested hundreds of scenarios for South
Asia, a region particularly susceptible to food shortages.
Their standard scenario qscumed that “the historical pattern
of development based on a somewhat optimistic view of the
past and present situation will continue.”

We. . . assume that an equilibrium fertility level will
he attained in about fifty years. We also assume, quite
optimistically, that the average use of fertilizer per hec-
tare in the entire regiort will surpass the present North
American level toward the end Of the fifty-year period:
At that time South Asia alone will consume more fer-
tilizer than the whole world consumed in 1960.
Assuming that the fertilizer is used on every piece of
land under cultivation. the yield per hectare will -in-
crease by about 1000 kilograms approximately the
increase that the Green Revolution brought to the best
lands in India and Pakistan. Still proceeding optimisti-
cally, we assume that all remaining arable land in South
Asia is quickly brought under cultivation. and that all
technological inputs. such as irrigation systems (which
must accompany the fertilizer to produce high-yielding

* Jay W. Forrester, -Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems.-
Technology Review. January 1971.

grain), will be available as needed. Finally, we have
assumed that no mass starvation takes place. The dif-
ference between the .food needs of the region and the
food production in the region. . . is assumed to have
been made available by other regions.

Our computer analysis, pregnant with optimism,
shows dearly that the food crisis in South Asia will
worsen. In spite of all the advancements assumed, the
availability of fertilizer and land assumed, the protein
deficit will continuously increase: by the year 2025 it
will he up to 50 million tons annually. Such de kits
‘could never be closed by imports: to pay for
quantity of imports, South Asia would have to spend
one third of its total economic output. and three times,
what it earns frdm exports. But even if South Asia had
that kind of money, the physical problems of handling
those quantities of food would be incredible. In one
year the region would then have to import 500 million
tons of grain twice as much as the total tonnage of
all goods now being shipped overseas from the United
States. … Moreover, these quantities would have to be

every year, in ever increasing amounts, with-
out end. In sum, it would be impossible.*
What Mesarovic and Pestel really expect for South Asia is

tragedy. Since the demands of the ‘standard scenario cannot
be met, the problems will be resolved by natural means a
much increased death rate. The only way to avert the
tragedy, they say, lies in policies tested in another scenario.
These policies include a population control plan that looks to
fertility equilibrium in 15 years, a concerted effort by the
developed world to build the agricultural and industrial capac-
ities of the region. and the creation of a coordinated world
economic order.

In the fifth scenario, investment aid is provided to
South Asia in sufficient amount and at the time needed
to close the food-supply gap and the export-import
imbalance. The magnitude of such a program will re-
quire a concerted effort by the entire Developed
World. The export potential of South Asia would he
increased substantially, and the world economic system
would have to be modified so that South Asia could
pay from exports for most of its food imports. These
exports would have to be industrial, since the regional
food demands Obviously will absorb the local agricul-
tural output. But to make this scenario feasible, the
Developed World must help South Asia to deli, lp its
own exportable and competitive industrial spe.

Scenario five the only way to avert unprecedent-
ed disaster in South Asia requires the emergence of a
new global economic order. Industrial diversification
will have to be worldwide and carefully planned with
special regard for regional specificity. The mast effec-
tive use of labor and capital, and the availability of
resources, will have to be assessed on a global, long-
term basis. Such a system cannot be left to the Mercy
of narrow national interests, but must rely on long-
range world economic arrangements.t

Note the prime condition for saving South Asia. Not the
erratic provision of aid at the discretion of individual nations
but a massive, concerted program in the context of a coor-
dinatz.d world economy.
* Mesarovic and Pestel. op. cit., pp. 121. 122.
a Ibid., pp. 125, 127.


These four view points —,triage, lifeboat ethics, Forrest-
er’s ideas about humanitarian lm, the Mesarovic-Pestel con-
clusions represent alternatives to conventional responses to
the hunger problem. And, in some measure, all display the
distinguishing marks of global cognition. All suggest that cus-
tomary responses to the needy be set aside and replaced by
more deliberate, more effective measures, even though these
outrage conventional wisdom or morality or national sensitiv-
ities and sovereignties. Simple theories of cause and effect
(the problem is a food deficit: the solution is more food) are
set aside in favor of more complex theories. Assumptions,
criteria, and goals are made much more explicit. And the
goals themselves change, from simple rescue of those in im-
mediate distress to consideration of the survival of the spe-
cies. Further. the nation as the main actor in policymaking is
challenged in favor of coordinated global planning.

To know of these alternative viewpoints is to expand
one’s repertoire of choice. To know of them, also, is to be-
come aware of problems of choice, dilemmas that do not
present themselves when the vision is more limited. In spite
of the difficulties raised, however, this increased conscious-
ness is surely an important constituent of a global perspec-

Access to such alternatke viewpoints is not especially
difficult these days but it Is by no means automatic. Efforts
must be made and acme of those efforts can take place in the
schools. An operationally defined missioi.-, for educators
might be to increase the number of solutions that students
can propose for a given problem and the quality of the solu
tions, as measured by criteria of global cognition. That would
include beingzensitive to the likely consequences of different
policies and particularly to the differences between short-
term and long-term consequences. After instruction, a stu-
dent would be able to advance more solutions, including
some that rest on nonlinear theories of social dynamics and
that incorporate a concern for peoples and generations other
than those that seem to be involved.

Such an increase in awareness is, I think, a fairly modest
goal. I am not proposing that students choose. among alterna-
tives only that they know of them. This in itself is a mildly
revolutionary step. It means becoming more conscious,
potentially less bound to custom and convention. Is such
awareness enough? ,Enough for what? We are talking here of
a global pers ctive, from which other things may flow. Let’s
say, simply that such an increase in awareness is a solid and
necessary ase from which to proceed.

* * *

I have discussed five dimensions off global perspective.
Are there more? I am tempte to be aggislAnd say no, this
is it, the final crystalline i. But of course there are more,
as many more as anyone ares to invent. And that, of course,
is precisely the case. Such dimensions are inventions, con-
structs of the mind. This particular set is just one assemblage,
a collage of ideas selected and shaped by one individual’s
proclivities aad prejudices. This is not to say that there are
not real changes underway in human consciousness. I am
convinced that there are and that they are in the direction of
something that can be called a global perspective. But any
particular description of that phenomenon is properly sus-
pect. Even this one which is, by coincidence, my favorite.



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