Governance

Why the military must(n’t) invade our schools

In yesterday’s Telegraph there was an article titled ‘Why the Military must invade our schools’ and whilst this might have a simplistic attraction in the situation we find ourselves in as a society, it fails to address the reality we are now in. Fragmented as society of’ individuals’ in a future where the Common Good must be placed centre stage as the energy and resource intensity of our society, SystemUK, inevitably falls.

Radio and Television programmes abound, Panorama last night for instance, but none recognise this fundamental reality. The Seventies were the beginning of the future we are now in, only with outcomes differed was a result of the exploitation of North Sea Oil. Which we squandered on Business as Usual, creating no reserve for the transition to the future we are in.

As a consequence, neither did we educate for this reality and the common purpose and action this future requires. The ‘Service for the Nation’ required of us all.

We are now in a world of fire-fighting failure demand and looking for End of Pipe solutions to Society’s Failure Demand. Such is the reasoning behind ResPublica’s genuine concern. Failing schools, send in the military to sort out the problems.

But we are all in this together for the Common Good, and whilst it is eminently sensible to encourage military personnel to take up the work mentioned in the article, dealing with the issues in separate boxes does not solve the problems at system level, SystemUK.

We thought resources were plentiful, to squander as we thought fit as individuals, rather than the reality; limited and needing to be marshalled for the Common Good.

In this future we must all be expected to act for the Common Good, bankers included!. This can only be achieved by educating for and implementing, universal and compulsory ‘Service for the Nation’ , not military discipline in a forlorn attempt to contain the Failure Demand created by not doing the right thing right as a Society.

There are difficult times ahead but we must start now if we are to ensure a coherent and competitive society rather than a failing one. There are scenarios out there we do not   need to let happen.

dd

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Service for the Nation

The financial crisis and the current Banking furore illustrates our failure to educate for ‘Service for the Nation’. An understanding inbuilt in citizens of the benefits they receive from society and their responsibility for it, together with an appreciation of how this impacts global societies.

We seem to have lost this quality in ourselves and it is increasingly degrading our Quality of Life.

On it depends our survival as a coherent society with an acceptable Quality of Life for all.

Here are some of my thoughts

DD

A 21st Century National Service

The UK Government has introduced a requirement for 11 year olds, starting secondary education in September 2009 to stay in Education or training until they are 18.

There is currently much debate about how this translates into positive outcomes and Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity, which is the outcome least required as we shift paradigms into the OPW. A 2005 OFSTED report finding that only 12% of 19 to 30 year olds interviewed thought that school had enabled them to be creative or understand risk.

In addition the change to fee paying in Further and Higher Education has led to most learners deciding to stay local to complete their education.

Similarly, with no form of National Service, young people not in continuing education experience no other input than their local area and as a result, in most cases, have no expectations beyond their limited boundaries. There is clear evidence that this is causing a dependency culture and an underclass, as is being widely reported.

So where do we stand at the start of a new decade and halfway through the UN Decade for sustainable Development 2005-2014?

It can be stated

◦       There is a wide spread of achievement output from the UK’s Education System

◦       This is aimed at satisfying a paradigm that no longer exists.

◦       This results in high youth unemployment.

◦       Leading to disaffection and continuing underachievement.

◦       And withdrawal from involvement in the wider society

◦       Causing violence and crime, fuelled in many cases by drugs.

Clearly, increasing the age of compulsory education will have no effect on this vicious circle unless we recognise the paradigm we need to educate for is shifting rapidly as we move into the One Planet World.

We have to recognise, as stated throughout this article that education has to liberate the creativity that will enable citizens to help create the OPW within the UK. This can only be achieved through ‘service above self’.

This is not the politically correct thing to say at this time, but it is central to any future that can be envisaged in a UK of around 70 million citizens.

Conclusion

Our conception of National Service is coloured by its compulsory and in many cases arbitrary nature, where outcomes were not tailored to the needs of individuals, or even society.

This is not the aim of Service for the Nation; the aim is to provide rounded citizens with a range of knowledge and skills appropriate to their talents and the creativity to use them effectively and efficiently in helping create the One Planet World.

This does not mean that military service will not be part of the mix for those attracted to such service and we need to acknowledge the part played in current conflicts by our young people.

We do not need to reinvent the wheel as there are service organizations, Scouts etc. who know how to create future citizens and leaders that we can use as templates.

These things are critical

◦       There must be an element of compulsion for all to contribute in their own way.

◦       There must be a controlled but significant element of risk.

◦       Service should be away from home for realistic periods

◦       Learning and work undertaken must result in value added to society.

◦       All must have access to achieve to laid down standards

◦       Rank must be available for significant leadership ability.

Many will argue that this cannot be afforded but the real question is “can we afford, not to be able to afford it?” – if the alterative is societal collapse.


Greece and Essential Value, a letter to a friend

To Catarina Tully at From over Here

Hi Cat

Sir David King has just made the following statement: Sir David King lambasts Treasury for preventing green economic recovery http://bit.ly/M1AxgG

How do we get the message across that it is not about ‘resource efficiency’ but about the ‘effective’ use of resources creating ‘essential value’. This is not an easy discussion to have, but if we don’t face up to this as a society we will end up in the situation in the book just released. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jun/08/why-uk-no-longer-superpower

If we continue to muddle along on the basis that completely free enterprise can find a way forward when the marginal cost of producing a barrel of oil is over $90 and the useful energy remaining is on a downward trajectory, we are deluded. http://vimeo.com/43261566

We see in Greece the effects of the reducing Energy and Resource Intensity of a Society and Economic Block that does not recognise what is really happening.

Chandran Nair does recognise this and is doing his best to make Asia aware of the situation: as Asia tries to grow using the multi-planet paradigm this contagion can only spread. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_CL2imxmeE

These are Global issues but we must act as SystemUK if we are to be competitive and provide inspiration to others on the art of the possible. Are we the innately ingenious people we think we are, or was our prosperity purely a result of the Energy and Resource Intensity we were able to exploit?

The answer is probably a lot of both and we need to recognise this if we are not to squander this innate creatively and ingenuity as the Energy and Resource Intensity of SystemUK inevitably falls.

Regards

Derek

https://trailblazerbusinessfutures.wordpress.com/governance/seminar-resources/lc/


My letter in the Professional Engineering Journal 2007

Engineers are supposed to be mathematically literate but a simple understanding of compound interest is all that is needed to see that the current predictions of growth are the pipe dreams of economists.

Take a chess board and put one unit on the first square, 2 on the second and 4 on the third and continue doubling up. The time to each doubling is 70 divided by the rate of growth i.e. 7%/annum is equal to 10 years.

Add the squares together 1+2+4 = 7 i.e. the sum of all previous doublings is less than the value on the next square – 8

Oil was first commercially exploited in 1859 and we are now at around 30 billion barrels/year and on the 32nd square. At the present rate of growth we will need more oil in the next 20+ years than in the previous 150!

Even if this amount of oil exists, finding, extracting and applying unknown technologies to turn the poor quality, heavy, and polluted crude we obtain into useable product is clearly not possible on this time scale.

And that’s without the climate crisis and the fact that we need a fair amount of the remaining oil to create a low carbon future.

Derek

Derek Deighton MIQA AIEMA AMIMechE

Coordinator, Northwest Engineering Institutions, Sustainability Joint Venture

Northwest Energy Forum

Trailblazer Business Futures, Business and Built Environment Systems Integration

Helping create the One Planet World through creative partnerships

Strategic Thinking in UK Governance

The UK Public Accounts Committee has recently carried out a consultation exercise on ‘Strategic Thinking in Government’. A link to the submission made by me can be found below.

dd

Background to the consultation

Reasons for the inquiry

 In October 2010 PASC published a report, ‘Who does UK National Strategy?’, which concluded: The answer we received to the question, “Who does UK Grand Strategy?” is: no-one … As things stand there is little idea of what the UK’s national interest is, and therefore what our strategic purpose should be.

 Background

 The global system is increasingly multipolar, with power shifting East, potentially diffusing to international institutions and to different non-state actors (like civil society, business, high-net worth individuals, cities and regions, sovereign wealth funds, Diaspora groups, international multi-stakeholder fora).

 The development in social media that harnesses the ‘wisdom of crowds’, cyber-advances, and other technological progress is transforming the context of policy making. This challenges the capacity and nature of government but also provides opportunities for both stronger engagements with the public and clearer national leadership.

 The complex and unpredictable nature of many global issues, which stem from multiple and interrelated problems, require systems-based and evidence-based analyses if emergent strategy is to be effective and efficient. Within this context, many countries (including the UK) face implicit, diffuse and unpredictable risks, rather than explicit and identifiable threats.

 In a previous report, we identified a deficit of strategic capacity across Government. In its initial inquiry, the Committee found “little evidence of sustained strategic thinking or a clear mechanism for analysis and assessment. This leads to a culture of fire-fighting rather than long-term planning”.

 We wish to assess what progress has been made since then.

 Response to the PASC Consultation on Strategic Thinking in Government v2

Civil Unrest and failure demand in society

We see in the UK civil unrest that was predictable as a result of our failure to think at system level and then having to deal with the resultant failure demand in society by constantly changing end of pipe solutions.

Our continuing to think that we can return to a multi-planet  economic path flies in the face of observable reality and can only lead to the further weakening in the cohesion of society. My comment in 2002 pointed this out.

DD

Comment on the North West Region’s Framework for Employment Skills and Action (FRESA) 29 August 2002

“Looking at the FRESA, I feel I must make a comment arising from paragraph 24, page 9 copied here

            “Job losses are expected to be dominated by males, while a large proportion of job gains will go to females. Some 60% of all job gains are expected to be part-time and the bulk of such jobs are expected to be in hotels and catering, business and other services. In terms of job losses the bulk are expected to come in elementary trades, process operatives, skilled metal and construction trades. Major gains are projected in caring and health, teaching and administrative and clerical occupations”

            This seems to me to be a forecast of potential disaster in the UK. It will at best lead to a position where a large proportion of males feel excluded with probable social unrest. Any gains are predicated on the assumption that service industries will grow and this is already under pressure with the possible transfer of call centre jobs to India (denied).

            I recognise that these are problems the Learning and Skills Council cannot solve but they must be acknowledged. Attached is an email to Channel 4 News in response to discussions on juvenile crime. I strongly feel that the issue of National Service – or service for the nation, not primarily the traditional military service, must be addressed to provide constructive work for primarily males across the age range that will otherwise be idle.

            This can be tied in to the work required to create sustainable development at home and abroad, which fits in with the thoughts expressed in my original submission to the Regional Strategy; that the Region and the UK cannot rely on classical economic solutions to prosper in this century.”

 The cry will go out that we cannot afford to  do this, but in a world of falling energy and resource intensity, can we afford not to?

Reference Service for the Nation in the One Planet World

 

Reducing the ‘Resource Intensity of Society’ ~ the critical driver for HE and FE

“In the #oneplanetworld how do we continually reduce the #resourceintensity of society? Do we rethink everything, or do we let the Earth do it for us?”

Resource Intensity of Society – “the resource used per person per unit of ‘essential goods and services’ created”.

Two things flow from this

  1. Non-essential processes add no value to society in a resource constrained world, their RI is effectively infinite
  2. The least resource intense process is the one that doesn’t exist.

The Oil Drum 30th July http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8210

It has been a constant theme in these columns that the global oil supply is under real threat. The facts to confirm this are everywhere if one were interested in pursuing the topic. (Google “Peak Oil” and see what comes up). A clear indication of a shift in supply is that Saudi Arabia, while it increased its output by 700,000 barrels per day, has kept more of its oil at home to benefit its own citizens with air-conditioning and desalinization projects.

So how do we confront a shrinking economy at work and at home? Brutal assessments will be the order of the day. Even though the top 10 percent of the population will manage to keep luxury businesses going for a time, the economy must shift away from businesses that feed the public’s desires to those that address what people need to survive.

Small enterprises will fare better. All businesses should start wondering whether their employees could get to work if they couldn’t afford to fill the gas tank. Is your business near a transit network? These are tough questions”.

“So how do we confront [and avoid] a shrinking economy at work and at home?” We do it by decoupling ‘service availability’ from ‘resource use’ as viewed from a ‘SystemUK’ perspective, by rethinking FE and HE to enable the creative reduction in the processes ’essential ’ to maximising our Quality of Life with the resources competitively available to us. We become continually more ‘effective’ as a society.

We don’t do it by trying to do what we are doing now more ‘efficiently’

Competitively winning constrained resources requires us to evolve and create organisations that can innovate as expressed in the presentation. Enabling the Future v1

Let’s not change a Challenging Adventure into an Impossible Challenge

dd


R we 2 remain fixated on cuts, or will we start creatively reducing the #resourceintensity of SystemUK?

Yesterday in the Mail on Saturday Iain Martin contributed an article “Sorry to depress you but there will have to be even harsher spending cuts“. This perpetuates the myth that the world is still a multi-planet one without limits, as economics, as presently constituted assumes.

The reality is, however, that it is a ‘oneplanetworld’ where we are now bumping against resource limits and the balance of economic influence is shifting from the West to the East. ‘Cuts’ are now not the answer to our predicament and our future, not that they ever have been, if had had but the whit to realise.

We have to rethink ourselves as SystemUK against future of a limited and reducing access to energy and other resources, both in an absolute and competitive availability.

Critically we have to rethink how we govern ourselves in a oneplanetworld which is increasingly local and with the resource availability per person per unit of goods and services reducing.

Intelligent and creative Resource Intensity reduction, not knee-jerk ‘Cuts’ is the only way to retain a democratic, coherent and competitive SystemUK in the oneplanetworld.

dd

Iain Martin Mail on Saturday 19 July 2011

…But it’s becoming increasingly clear that the present problems will not be a temporary phenomenon. This week, the newly-created Office of Budget Responsibility released a chilling report on Britain’s longer-term economic prospects. It said that our already high levels of debt will climb to more than 100 per cent of national output shortly after the middle of this century.

The cost of an ageing population — with more and more demands on the NHS — will increase pressure for much deeper spending cuts or big tax rises…..