10A_Dror_Presentation Outline by qihao0824

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									                     THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE:

      HELPING COUNTRIES TO WEAVE THEIR FUTURES

                                 Yehezkel Dror

                          Outline of Key Note Address

             UNDP Public Administration Reform Practice Meeting

                            Bratislava, April 21, 2004




Part One: Deliberate Future Weaving – a “Must”!



   1. Global and Local Processes Pose Critical Choices Involving Grave

      Dangers and Exciting Opportunities

             The concept of “critical choice”: Confucian Xunzi (Hsun-tz"
                                                                        u):

              'Yang Zhu lamented at a crossroad: if a man makes an error of

              half a step in the wrong direction, when he awakens to the fact, he

              will have made a blunder of a thousand li"

             Thanks to science and technology the actual and potential

              impact of human choice on future realities is mutating to

              unprecedented intensity.

             Humanity is positioned between material plenty for all, collective

              suicide and creation of a new “humanity”.

             On a lesser but still crucial scale: each country and region faces

              critical choices, often for high stakes.

                  i. Illustrations: Joining the EU and thriving in it; global

                     competition and trade; unemployment; security.


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2. Human Ambitions Pose High Expectations and Demands

         Humanity is also in an epoch of rising expectations and

          demands, as expressed in values of human rights, human

          development and so on. These “push” public action to try and

          realize what may in part be impossible.

         This puts pressures on governments resulting in part in more

          effective action, but also in divesting of responsibility and

          “blowing of bubbles”.

3. "Spontaneous" Historic Processes Cannot be Relied Upon

         If one could be reasonably sure that “the cunning of history” will

          lead to a pleasant “end of history” without very high intermediate

          costs, governments and societies could and should avoid radical

          future weaving endeavor.

         But this is not the case, even optimally working markets, civil

          societies, informal networks and other self-organizing bodies

          and processes being dense with congenital limitations.

         Furthermore:

              i. They do not work optimally;

             ii. To work better they need active governmental facilitation

                 which constitutes indirect future weaving;

             iii. In terms of democratic values, only governments are

                 entitled to make critical future shaping collective choices.

         Many ongoing and foreseeable historic processes will, or at

          least may, produce dismal results unless revised, redirected and

          at least monitored and over-ridden when necessary.



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              i.   This applies, to take a relatively benign illustration, to

                   consequences of joining the European Union.

4. Hence the Need for Deliberative Selective Governmental "Future

   Weaving"

         It follows, that deliberative and selective governmental future

          weaving is a must.

              i. Comment on the origin of the concept “future weaving” –

                   Plato, The Statesman

         Governmental: On all levels, but with growing importance the

          higher the level: national; multi-national; global.

         In governments: Need for “Central Strategic Brains”.

         Deliberative: Based on the best thinking and judgment human

          being and organizations are capable off.

         Selective: Focused on what is most essential in terms of

          avoiding the bad, moving towards the “good” as pluralistically

          and partly consensually understood, and gearing for the

          unconceivable sure to come.

         Governmental future-weaving activities are of cardinal and also

          fatal potent more than ever in human history.

5. Embedded Within Societal Future Weaving

         Proposed minor conjecture: “Unless public opinions achieve

          much higher moral and cognitive qualities, either the impact of

          public opinions on governmental future weaving must be

          contained or that weaving will often be for the worse with rapidly

          increasing cost.”



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         Proposed major conjecture: Humanity is not ripe to wield the

          powers science and technology gave it. “Maturing humanity” is

          therefore a prime task – leading to the need for a revised

          philosophy of government, going inter alia back to some

          classical Chinese notions. But this is a subject which I do not

          take up here despite its far-going implications for governmental

          educational tasks.

         A minimum set of implications, crucial for future-weaving,

          includes:

              i. Social actors should engage in self-improvement;

             ii. Movement towards “learning societies” is a must`

             iii. Radical changes in citizen teaching and introduction of

                 obligatory university studies on local, regional and global

                 problematic are a must.

6. Deep Governance Redesign is Essential for Providing Essential

   Future-Weaving Core Capacities

         Little needs to be said to make the point that contemporary

          governance is not well equipped for critical future-weaving

          activities, neither morally nor cognitively.

         A main conclusion of my studies of governments on multiple

          levels and in various cultural settings, from inside and outside, is

          that all present governance is obsolete and lacking essential

          capacities, some less so and some more so – but all a lot!




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    7. Not Only Is Governance Very Lacking in Essential Future-Weaving

         Core Capacities, but this Deficiency, However Glaring and Dangerous,

         is Not in the Center of Governmental Improvement Approaches

               It is interesting to ponder the question why most contemporary

                conceptions of “good governance” and most ongoing reform

                efforts neglect what may well be the most urgent and critical

                need of all: Upgrading governmental and societal future-weaving

                capacities.

               But let me take a positive approach and conclude with four

                illustrative governance redesign directions.1



Part Two: Qualifying Governance for Future-Weaving: Four Redesign

Directions

    i.      Strong Global, Continental and State Governance

               Many of the more crucial issues facing humanity are global in

                nature and can only be handled on a global level. Consensus

                cannot be relied upon to assure essential measures. Therefore,

                strong global governance is needed. Outdates notions and

                fictions of "sovereignty", "equality of states" etc. will have to be

                abandoned and a structured global regime instituted, far beyond

                the present United Nations, though hopefully based on it.

               This also applied, with adjustments, to continental governance

                and, first of all, the European Union, where the proposed

                constitution has to be adopted.

1
 For extensive treatment, see Yehezkel Dror, The Capacity to Govern: A Report to the Club
of Rome (London and New York, Frank Cass, Francis and Taylor Group) 2002.


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         To be realistic, a strong global regime will probably come about

          after a number of calamities demonstrate the gross

          inadequacies of present global governance bodies despite their

          important and often successful work. But individual countries

          should take the likelihood of a strong global regime into account

          and, in the mean time, give more weight to global considerations

          and play more active and constructive a role on main global

          issues.

         To move to the state level, future-weaving requires consistent

          long-term policies, subject to learning; and often involving

          "constructive destruction" as well as "tragic choices" between

          present needs and future welfare.

         To meet such prerequisites, democratic power concentration

          within "strong states" is essential. Presidential and Prime

          Ministerial regimes are required, combined with electoral

          methods avoiding dependence on weak coalitions which make

          effective future-weaving nearly impossible.

         Suitable constitutional structures should be accompanied with

          consensus-building efforts on political and societal levels on

          long-term strategic policies.

         Also necessary is lengthening of electoral cycles, five to six

          years being a minimum required between elections.

ii.   "Future-Representing" bodies




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          A congenital problem of democracy is that the future

           generations do not vote, despite the impact of present choices

           on their fate.

          The unavoidable result is application of very high political

           discount rates to the future and therefore giving priority to

           present needs and demands over long-term achievements.

          Visionary democratic leaders and future-concerned publics can

           reduce the severity of the problem, but these are infrequent

           phenomena on which future-weaving cannot depend. Therefore,

           needed are structures protected against current pressures and

           able to give much weight to long term considerations.

          Coherent and professional civil services, think tanks, some

           forms of Second Houses -- serve to illustrate possibilities.

iii.   Upgrading Politicians

          While skepticism and also cynicism on politicians is widespread,

           amazingly little though is given to upgrading the quality of

           politicians. This is all the more of a serious omission because

           mediocre politicians are sure to fail in leading their countries

           through the present epoch of shifts towards a good future.

          To put it more bluntly, while the high caliber of many politicians

           should be recognized, the scarcity of outstanding politicians as

           needed in many countries should also be recognized.

          Indeed, the situation is graver than meets the eye: Many

           politicians who seem to perform quite well according to opinion

           polls and voting behavior are in reality quite under-qualified and



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          many of their decisions are likely to be judged by future

          historians as very mistaken.

         Let me add that in contemplative and social science literature,

          as well as in writings by politicians, systematic thought on the

          qualities needed of senior politicians in the 21st century is

          lacking (though empty slogans abound).

         To move to some practical short-term improvement possibilities:

             a) University programs should provide students interested in

                 politics with suitable learning opportunities;

             b) "National Policy Colleges" (as well as regional and global

                 ones) should be set up where politicians and other policy

                 shapers have an opportunity to consider in depth crucial

                 long-term issues;

             c) Steps should be taken to have candidates to reveal more

                 of their true self, such as by public "interrogations";

             d) Senior politicians should reveal all medical and financial

                 information.

             And more.

iv.   Strategic Central Minds of Governments

         The easiest to implement and still very important improvement

          direction is to build up strategic central minds of governments.

          Having discussed this subject at other opportunities and written

          a lot on it, let me just mention five crucial steps:

             a) Professional staff units near top level decision makers

                 dealing with strategic choices within long-term and



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                    holistic perspectives have to be set up and constantly

                    improved.

                b) "Think Tanks" to work on long-term crucial policy issues

                    at distance from the pressures of power are a must.

                c) Top quality policy professionals have to be developed to

                    staff main strategic staff units and think tanks. This

                    requires advanced public policy university programs and

                    intense in-service training.

                d) Actual advisors to top level decision making have to be

                    professionalized in strategic "future-weaving" thinking in

                    addition to whatever disciplinary background they have.

                    Intense crash-courses and workshops can accomplish

                    much is well designed.

                e) High-level decision making processes have to be

                    evaluated and improved so as to assure systematic

                    thinking based on high quality position papers, to inform

                    and support top decision makers.



Conclusion

            Let me conclude by trying the impossible, namely looking at

             humanity and human governance from "above", say an outer

             space tribunal. I cannot escape the feeling that it would

             appreciate the technological and cultural creativity of humanity,

             but condemn us who arrogantly call ourselves "homo sapiens

             sapiens" as morally corrupt and governance-wise stupid. Having



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    some live in luxury while many suffer from extreme deprivation

    will serve to condemn humanity as immoral and in part evil. And

    looking at the realities of contemporary politics and governance

    will serve as convincing evidence of humanity being

    governance-wise stupid.

   The few saints and outstanding politicians may spare humanity

    from extreme a verdict, showing a potential for the better

    however small. Therefore, humanity may be given the 21st

    century as a last chance to mature morally and cognitively and

    to demonstrate a capacity to govern itself.

   This I think is our situation: It is up to the 21st century generation

    to use for the better the awesome future-making powers given to

    humanity by science and technology – but this, in turn, as one of

    the necessary conditions requires radical upgrading of

    capacities to govern and weave the future.

   Failure will result in automatic harsh punishment, without the

    need for an outer space tribunal.

   It depends on us and on the governments we make.




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