Towards A Theory Of Systemic Action
Today I want to share with you an interesting paper on what is needed for systemic action by Zaid Hassan.
You can download it here and find an excerpt below.
Click here to access the full essay (PDF, Page 21)
As our world increases in complexity, more and more resources are being directed at addressing challenges such as climate change, public healthcare, inequality and poverty. The success of these efforts however is a function of how effective our strategies are as opposed to simply how many resources we can throw at a challenge.
Many of these challenges are growing faster than our attempts to address them. Situations such as acidification of our oceans, greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, demographic shifts leading to either an unemployed youth bulge or an ageing population dependent on healthcare systems, are all examples where the directionality of trends is outpacing our efforts to address them. Part of the reason for this is where we choose to intervene. We have a choice of intervening at the level of symptoms or the level of causes.
Systemic responses can be understood as attempting to address the causal drivers of a situations and not simply operating at the level of symptoms.
The scale of these challenges when taken together threatens to reverse much of what has been accomplished in the modern era. In the face of such vast challenges, we have to ask ourselves, what does action that can address these challenges causally look like? What, in other words, does systemic action look like?