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April 12, 2010


Hazel Edmunds

He's had long enough to reform anything that needed reforming - the fact that he hasn't surely speaks for itself!


Not to defend NuLab, because all my experience is that changes need time to bed in to be successful and "relentless reform" has been a major problem since Thatcher's time (esp. in the NHS.)

Still, I think you need to read up on some complexity/complex adaptive systems theory. Permanent optimality in things like public services is an illusion.

As for automatic feedback systems, they tend to work well when you're interested in a single variable pair (e.g. matching supply to demand) but as soon as you have more concerns, the equations get hairier...


I can't find an email for you but notice I've had lots of visitors from here in the last 24 hours. Can't see a link either but then I'm the least techy blogger in the land!

Like your style of argument so am off to add you to my reader.


'But how can it make sense to say: “There are faults in the system which we can identify now and fix. But when we’ve fixed those, there’ll be other things to fix. And then there’ll be more, and so on forever“?'

Because society changes. A system that might have worked as well as possible fifty years ago wouldn't today, because since then we've had major technological advances, significant globalization, external and internal immigration, social and cultural changes, etc etc etc. I agree that reforms need time to bed down and be assessed, but I doubt we'll ever reach a moment where we can just rest on our laurels entirely and consider ourselves perfect.


if Tom is right then last year's reforms were useless because come next year they have to be reformed further. Should not reforms need time to take effect?

And why do we have to concentrate on crime and immigration during elections when equally if not more serious issues are crying out for attention?

Me tend to think that they are useful distractions.


Systems Thinking - as you point out - are already being used successfully in the public sector.

In fact such is the success and sophistication of systems thinking method, that the targets dreamt-up by politicians are exposed as pointless.

With the right measures (ones that tell the truth about performance) feedback is instant and measures in the hands of workers is leading to innovation unheard in top-down control systems run by the current government.


Ian R Thorpe

One of the reasons western nations are all in a mess is that in the past few decades social change has been forced at too fast a pace for human communities to adapt to.

As we look forward to a jobless economy further degradation of the quality of life seems inevitable


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