Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Failure of US Long Range Strategic Planning, National Economic Security, Public Law

If we are living in the solution rather than the problem, then why not look at a National Referendum to force ethical planning and transparency into corporate and government planning documents.  

Why not seek a referendum requiring all US organizations include a paragraph in their objectives, mission statements, and long range organizational plans that would address larger national failures that resulted in the sub-prime housing bubble, savings and loan crisis, 2008 financial crisis, Dot Com Crash, high unemployment, low taxes for high income earners, federal income tax rules that can't be understood by any one individual, court systems that are too expensive for common man on Main Street, and political and regulatory capture by those with the money to 'get in the game'.

Politics based on power is no longer acceptable.  And business or multinational business based on money or power is no longer acceptable or sustainable.  That means leaving money overseas off-shore till legislation is drafted for the US Congress - is no longer acceptable for those that pay payroll taxes automatically every payday.  Balancing power between people, the government, and corporations is a much better policy.

The main advantage of a National scheme or referendum for government and organizational ethics clauses is to make up for failure of the US Constitution and Federal Legislation.  We should adopt some national pride codified by public law that supports public discussion and transparency to keep our US Organizations on the right track.  The theory being that if we think right, can point to common goals and national concerns, then we will act 'right'.  We will address as a team or community the weakness in policy or actions.  Employees will raise discussions on their own to bring their organization in line with ethical objectives.  And it is very appropriate as ethics training for our young students and businessmen and businesswomen.  

I believe there is value looking at a kind of "reorganization" of government based on transparency, ethics, and opportunity for everyone.  I believe this kind of reorganization can be accomplished though goal setting and long range planning.  Of course the idea is to position our nation for the future and correct the failures of the past.

First I wanted to point out some problems with Strategic Planning, organizational missions and objectives. Maybe we can agree that a strategic plan by Henry Kissinger or Zbigniew Brezinski for the world based on an ethnocentric perspective is flawed and likely unethical. Perhaps we can even agree that strategic planning is a corrupting influence on the world based on the killing of non-christians and suppression of foreign governments by our own governments. 

I think a government or corporate executive can be easily understood as a human working on his mission to secure revenue, funding, profit, or value for his organization. Each of us may play roles during the work day as a corporate player, an ideologue, as a financial investor, as a person that provides service to his community, as a parent, as a friend, or as a moral citizen. Each human has many different motivations and interests.

So how do you fight the Long Range Strategic Plan for Goldman Sachs?

How do you stop a Long Range Strategic Plan by some faction of Big Businessmen, Big Multinationals, Big Petroleum Interests, World Bankers, or some evil doer?  Well you don't.  You regulate to discourage crime and fraud.  But if you can create a national imperative or national initiative to include ethical rules in all Strategic Planning it may accomplish very much in my opinion.  

In the Government they call this a "Reorganization". Clearly new rules of transparency (regulations) and new "Grand Goals", "National Goals", or "Sustainable Social Goals" would have to be adopted.

There is a precedence for this kind of legislation under public statutory law known as the social contract between a citizen and a state. The social contract defines the relationship between a state and an entity that owes allegiance to it according to wikipedia. Further, public law interacts with civil and human rights.

What is the weakness of my idea?  Well there is no way to know what government is doing. No one wants people sticking their nose into their business even government business. We have a federal "Freedom of Information Act of 1966" that has helped US Transparency and various states have passed their own version. So there is a conflict of interest between the corporate or government employee/manager/executive and letting citizens know the details of business operations. The point is large organizations by their nature do not want their operations publicly known, will resist transparency, and citizens will face years of work to get the full picture of government activities in order to demand that remedies or reparations be made through public planning documents. 

In summary this is my proposal: 

1) Insert National rules for mission statements and objective statements

2) Insert National rules for ethical behavior in goal statements

3) Mandate that US Legal Organizations Strategic Planning clearly state and addresses the community, environmental, financial interests of the government in unemployment, job preservation, and social safety nets that may be affected by job losses created by mergers and leveraged take-overs by hostile or unfriendly firms that may saddle the organization with huge debt

4) Make all US Corporations, Fountadtions, governments, and legal organizations incorporate mission, objectives, and goals that are ethical and transparent to the public and employees.

5) US Strategic Planning as practiced in the US is focused as it is on it's own goals is acting like a maverick, acting like a loner, acting to the exclusion of national identity and responsibility. US Organizations ARE Acting like an off-shore privateer, a pirate, or a disinterested party. 

6) There is nothing wrong with forcing corporations to serve the country if not the community by being transparent. I think we would expect the same of NGOs, Foundations, PACs, 501 (c)(4) organizations, 527 organizations (soft money), and any legal entity formed or incorporated in the USA.  US Legal entities must be better citizens or state economy participants.

Links for discussion of weakness in current US Strategic Planning:


Roger Erickson said...

Yes, even broader discussion of balancing local/national policies would help - just by getting more people to think.

We need a dynamic equilibrium between narrow & national goals. Making that process even more dynamic will require increasingly distributed amounts of increasingly tuned feedback.

You can't continuously tune a growing economy without constantly improving the tuning methods.

This ain't rocket science, which is what economists keep trying to make it.

Middleaged-Living-in-a-Land-of-Makebeleive said...

Thanks Roger. You remind me that my point is also that organizations are part of the community, state, and country. And Long Range Strategic Planning focused as it is on it's own goals is acting like a maverick, acting like a loner, acting to the exclusion of national identity and responsibility. They ARE Acting like an off-shore privateer or like a pirate.

"A man or a woman can commit a patriotic act by serving in the military" "However a corporation can never commit a patriotic act". I forget who made this quote (I paraphrase and added woman because when this country was founded women could not join the military).

There is nothing wrong with forcing corporations to serve the country if not the community by being transparent. I think we would expect the same of NGOs, Foundations, PACs, 501 (c)(4) organizations, 527 organizations (soft money), and any legal entity formed or incorporated in the USA.

US Legal entity must be better citizens or state economy participants.

John Lounsbury said...

Let me write a comment for someone who didn't. (Hint: This is sarcasm.)

What a bunch of Clappy Trap!

Everyone knows that free markets will by their very actions produce the optimal welfare for a society.

Planning Smanning!

If you turned all the unethical and the criminologic loose in the world with no regulation there would be almost instantaneous establishment of an ideal economy and society with the competition assuring that everyone got the maximum utility.

How do I know? Didn't Adam Smith say there was a benevlont invisible hand? Didn't Aynd Rand show us that greed and selfishness is good? Didn't Milton Friedman show us that all we have to do is ration money and let people fight over it to get a perfect result?

You've got some nerve posting such garbage as this piece.

More serously, this is the best written piece I have read by you.

Tom Hickey said...

Good post and definitely the direction in which nations need to be thinking, although if the US doesn't take the lead, it is unlikely to happen otherwise, at least to the liking of the US. In that case, the US would oppose change and has the means to do so.

Our species needs to adopt a systems approach globally, marshaling all resources that intelligence can bring to bear on the challenges of our time. A systems approach in this regard needs to be global in scope. The task must be approached through geo-policy > geo-strategy > operational strategies >and tactics down to the local level.

If we as a species cannot coordinate sufficiently in this way, they policies, strategies, tactics, and operations will be nationally determined from the top down and therefore will be nationalistic, on one hand, and favor the ruling elite, on the other. We know from studying history where that leads.

Policy deals with goals and planning and operations with achieving outcomes iaw the objectives that goals determine. Policy requires criteria for goal-setting, and this necessarily involves norms, hence reference to rules such as values, cultural mores, and institutional arrangements. Creation of a global policy agenda and species level goals is daunting, but necessary. It cannot be top down and also be effective. Contemporary communications media make this possible at this stage of species development.

Unless a global debate is conducted intelligently within a comprehensive universe of discourse, the consequences are unlikely to be satisfactory. The question is whether our species is up to this challenge, given the prevailing level of collective consciousness. Technology cannot make up for the general level of intelligence lagging behind the level of challenge.

If the prevailing level of collective consciousness not up to this yet, and I think it is probably not at this point, then what can be done to raise the collective level of consciousness quickly enough to a sufficient level to increase the adaptability rate ensure that rate of return on coordination exceeds the rate of increase in complexity.

For example, today I read a news report in which one of the scientists involved in the study of climate change was quoted as saying that public awareness of the threat is way behind scientists' awareness of it and that scientists were extremely concerned about the likely consequences for the world, which we are already beginning to experience.

Middleaged-Living-in-a-Land-of-Makebeleive said...

Hi Tom;

Thanks for the comment. I read it yesterday and wanted to think on it. I suspect that you and Roger are better readers and writers than I. I am a bit daunted by both your's and Roger's prose.

I will say that although many people are poor at writing bullet charts, they may have shaped my writing and I find them very easy to understand.

I appreciate your comments and agree that systems approaches are needed. I would go further and say that we don't really know what we are doing till we get down to documents processes and functions, and looking at what is really happening at the user level.

Maybe I want to point out the weakness of looking at the big picture and discussing tactics. Success will only be achieved by really knowing the many, many, many Users, smaller systems, smaller processes, smaller functions, etc.

Certainly the first requirement, therefore, is a groundswell of support across the nation for a referendum.

Leadership and dynamic front-men will have to be found, guided, created, and be vital to any social movement.

Middleaged-Living-in-a-Land-of-Makebeleive said...


Good response. You are really starting to loosen up. LOL. Actually I don't know that much about your opinions so I am glad you posted and gave me a little insight.

I value your comments and assistance since we seem to share many opinions.

Tom Hickey said...

Certainly the first requirement, therefore, is a groundswell of support across the nation for a referendum.

I agree that the grassroots level is where change needs to come from. But I don't see a great deal of "wisdom of crowds" there at this point.

There needs to be a debate among alternative paradigms so that the issues can be understood at the grassroots level otherwise people will be acting on a combination of "intuitive common sense," emotion, and narrow interest. This is why promulgating understanding of MMT, complexity, etc. are so important. The are not intuitive for most people, and the wisdom of the crowd is not likely to come up with this awareness without education.

The problems we face now are global in scope and if humanity cannot rise to them as a species, there are going to a lot fewer humans around in the not too distant future. If we don't act together now, out children and grandchildren will be at risk, and the generations after that at greater risk.

Roger Erickson said...

I think most people would wholeheartedly agree with the easy to understand steps you lay out.

An understandable goal is step one.

Next, everyone in the country who agrees will ask ... "HOW do we do that? How do we start?"

Personally, I think your outline is worth taking to both OWS and the TeaParty ... who both need graceful ways to achieve clearer direction.