Wednesday 21 November 2018

The futility of schemes of socio-economic-political reform

I find myself more and more convinced at the futility - and therefore net harmfulness - of schemes of social, political, economic and any other kind of reform.

What happens is that I will often enjoy and appreciate the 'critique'-orientated 'introduction' to reform schemes, in which there is a description and analysis of the problems. But then, when it comes to making suggestions of how things might be improved, I just become escalatingly irritated and annoyed - and quit in disgust!

Not because the proposed improvements are 'wrong' but because They Will Not Happen; indeed they cannot happen.

The reason that they won't/ can't happen is the same reason that they haven't already happened but instead the opposite has happened - and that reason is the motivation of the people involved.

My professional life has been spent in various institutional settings - universities, medicine - including both hospitals public health administration, and scientific research. All had very significant problems which (in a technical sense) could have been solved quite simply but weren't - and instead all of them suffered multiple harmful changes culminating in bureaucratic/ totalitarian takeover.

The same applies at every level of scale - from the smallest business, through local and national government up to international relations. We can see how, in theory, things 'might' be made better; but in actuality things have systematically and incrementally become worse.

Why? Because of the real motivations of the people involved. For example, in educational institutions hardly anybody is - even in the slightest degree, really interested in education. None of the bureaucrats, very few teachers, even fewer students - and extremely few parents-of-students (who mostly pay for education; one way or another).

People are interested in salary, status, power, sex; they are interested in marks and grades and certifications; they are interested in moral self-advertisement, snobbery, politics... But hardly anybody, anywhere, ever, is interested in education.

And that is the real problem. And that is the problem in all the situations around and about.

And, as a strong generalisation - over a timescale of several or many decades, people's motivations are getting worse; not better.

And, absent an awakening to something like Romantic Christianity, this worsening of motivations will certainly continue (nothing to stop it!).

And that is why schemes of reform are futile.   

1 comment:

Chiu ChunLing said...

Schemes of reform are necessary in order to clarify why socio-economic-political reform is futile.

As long as people can claim they don't know how a problem could be fixed, they are off the hook for choosing not to fix it. So to bring home that the reason a problem is not getting fixed is because there is no will to fix it, you must present a reasonable solution that clearly would fix the problem if people were actually willing to fix it.

Even I can't fix things I don't know how to fix. I know more ways to fix most problems than many people, and not all of them are explicable in ordinary terms, but I have to know what I'm doing (whether or not I can explain it). Otherwise, I can't fix things and thus, however upset I may be that they are not fixed, I don't feel any personal responsibility for them.

To confront our moral responsibility to do what is right, we must have some clear idea what we could do that would actually fix the problem, if we were willing to fix it.