September 23, 2008

“Designing Freedom” lessons from Cybernetics relevant today

Filed under: cybernetics — Bricoleur @ 7:31 pm

Designing Freedom Designing Freedom by Stafford Beer

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I finally got my own copy of this book (which I’ve been looking for it since about 1990)…

I’d forgotten just how great it is.

I’ve been angered lately about the number of absolute falsehoods spread by ALL sides in both current election campaigns (USA and Canada) – sometimes on purpose, often because they simply “don’t get it.” This book covers some of the reason this is endemic in our societies and at least gives me some hope that someday the leaders of our systems of governance will discover the route to stabilizing our systems. But for now I shake my head in fear and anguish.

Case in point – the current financial market failure and massive bail-out scheme of the Bush administration. As constructed it simply cannot be successful. The system being proposed simply is not viable – if for no other reason it lacks the requisite variety necessary for control(indeed one only has to note how many changes had to be made even before it got from the exec branch to the legislative branch because it was too ‘simple’ to possibly do more good than harm).

In this book (originally a series of radio lectures on the CBC network in 1973) Beer explores many items – even a quick read gives ample reasons justifying my fears as our control systems increasingly are inadequate for the task at hand.

This is an excellent introduction to the works of Stafford Beer… a start here guide to cybernetics – the science of effective organization. Read it to understand the real issues that face our institutions and society at large. Google Preview

View all my reviews.


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