Monday, April 11, 2011

CHAPTER 1: A PARADIGM is a model of how something works.  Once you have created a correct paradigm in your mind it will help you make better decisions.  For example, is the earth flat or round?  If Columbus had a flat earth paradigm he would have stayed at home.   Your paradigms will also affect what information you believe and what you will ignore.  In psychology this is called CONFIRMATION BIAS. Once formed, paradigms are not easily changed.  People would rather ignore certain facts than have to change an established paradigm.  Facts which do not fit a paradigm create an uncomfortable feeling called COGNITIVE DISSONANCE.  To better appreciate the importance of paradigms you might want to google "Galileo". 

And finally a bad paradigm will result in decisions that do not help solve problems but usually help you create even more. A change from one paradigm to another is called a PARADIGM SHIFT. 

There are three interrelated paradigm shifts suggested in this book.  The first is organizational. The second is moral.  And the third is economic. Most people never experience even one paradigm shift in a lifetime so this is a pretty big challenge for any reader. 

In social organization theory the major competing paradigms are HIERARCHY and SPONTANEOUS ORDER.

Hierarchy is the familiar top-down management model of organizing social activity.  It is usually learned from experience.  For example schools, teams, and firms are all organized this way.  Without a leader disorder would prevail.    

Spontaneous order is based on the concept of  self-organization.  This paradigm is hard to learn by simple observation unless you are unusually perceptive. 

So what exactly is spontaneous order?  The concept can be traced back at least as far as  Mandeville's THE FABLE OF THE BEES through Adam Ferguson's A HISTORY OF CIVIL SOCIETY to the Nobel prize winning economist F.A. Hayek (who coined the phrase).   The most recent term for it is complex adaptive system (CAS).  Read this.  Click on Basic Tutorial and then on Complex Adaptive Systems.

Review Questions:  Consider highway traffic vs. airplane traffic. Why does one have a "controller" and the other not have one?  Is the economy of the United States organized more by spontaneous order or by hierarchy?  Is there a trend?  Is this trend good or bad? 


1 comment:

drferguson said...

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