UCSB ENVS 106 - Lecture 11 Thinking in Systems Chapter 5_POST (20 pages)

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Lecture 11 Thinking in Systems Chapter 5_POST



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For more than three decades and in more than a dozen books Professor Robert D Bullard has documented that healthy places and healthy people are highly correlated The poorest of the poor within the United States have the worst health and live in the most degraded environments Bullard s lecture explores how the environment justice framework redefined environmentalism and challenged institutional racism and the dominant environmental Extra Credit Opportunit y Mark your Calendars Chapter 5 System Traps and Opportunities Policy Resistance Examples Abortion is a tricky political Population Increase in Romania Outlaw Abortions and ethical issue even Increased illegal underground abortions today in our society but outlawing it did have these Tripled maternal mortality rate unintended consequences Increased Orphan Population Drug Supply on the Streets Supply Shift Unintended consequences Similar Stability in Supply Policy Resistance When various actors try to pull a system stock toward various goals the result can be policy resistance Any new policy especially if it s effective just pulls the stock farther from the goals of other actors and produces additional resistance with a result that no one likes but that everyone expends considerable eff ort in maintaining The Way Out of the Trap Let go Bring in all the actors and use the energy formerly expended on resistance to seek out mutually satisfactory ways for all goals to be realized or redefinitions of larger and more important goals that everyone can pull toward together The Tragedy of the Commons Herdsman share a plot of land a common area What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd 1 I get the value of one more animal The overall common area is degraded due to overuse ever so slightly 2 Everyone shares the degradation overuse of the land 1 Pollution as a Tragedy Your contribution to the overall problem is low Reducing or eliminating your contribution is somewhat costly Riding a bike takes more time and effort Carpooling takes time and coordination Driving a less polluting car gets you mocked by your family The harm from the overall problem is high The Tragedy of the Commons When there is a commonly shared resource every user benefits directly from its use but shares the costs of its abuse with everyone else Therefore there is very weak feedback from the condition of the resource to the decisions of the resource users The consequence is overuse of the resource eroding it until it becomes unavailable to anyone The Way Out of the Trap Educate and exhort the users so they understand the consequences of abusing the resource And also restore or strengthen the missing feedback link either by privatizing the resource so each user feels the direct consequences of its Drift to Low Performance Allowing performance standards to be influenced by past performance especially if there is a negative bias in perceiving past performance sets up a reinforcing feedback loop of eroding goals that sets a system drifting toward low performance Perceived state vs Desired State Perceived state can negatively feed back into desired state Boiled frog example The Way Out Keep performance standards absolute Even better let standards be enhanced by the best actual performances instead of being discouraged by the worst Use the same structure to set up a drift toward high performance Escalation The Arms Race Positive reinforcing feedback Increasing Costs Increasing Risk of War Advertising More chaos Need to tunnel through get to consumers Kids Age 2 11 see an average of 25 000 television advertisements per year Escalation When the state of one stock is determined by trying to surpass the state of another stock and vice versa then there is a reinforcing feedback loop carrying the system into an arms race a wealth race a smear campaign escalating loudness escalating violence The escalation is exponential and can lead to extremes surprisingly quickly If nothing is done the spiral will be stopped by someone s collapse because exponential growth cannot go on forever The Way Out of the Trap The best way out of this trap is to avoid getting in it If caught in an escalating system one can refuse to compete unilaterally disarm thereby interrupting Competitive Exclusion Ecology Find a niche get ahead and exclude other species from accessing it Exclusion can lead to extinction Society Poor kids who do everything right don t do better than rich kids who do everything wrong America is the land of opportunity just for From the Article some more than others Specifically rich high school dropouts remain in the top about as much as poor college grads stay stuck in the bottom 14 versus 16 percent respectively Not only that but these low income strivers are just as likely to end up in the bottom as these wealthy ne er do wells Some meritocracy What s going on Well it s all about glass floors and glass ceilings Rich kids who can go work for the family business and in Canada at least 70 percent of the sons of the top 1 percent do just that or inherit the family estate don t need a high school diploma to get ahead It s an extreme example of what economists call opportunity hoarding That includes everything from legacy college admissions to unpaid internships that let affluent parents rig the game a little more in their children s favor https www washingtonpost com news wonk wp 2014 10 18 poor kids who do everything r ight dont do better than rich kids who do everything wrong Competitive Exclusion If the winners of a competition are systematically rewarded with the means to win again a reinforcing feedback loop is created by which if it is allowed to proceed uninhibited the winners eventually take all while the losers are eliminated The Way Out Diversification which allows those who are losing the competition to get out of that game and start another one strict limitation on the fraction of the pie any one winner may win antitrust laws policies that level the playing field removing some of the advantage of the strongest players or increasing the advantage of the weakest policies that devise rewards for success that do not bias the next round of competition Example NFL Revenue Sharing of TV Income Shifting the Burden to the Intervenor Physical or psychological stock Addiction drugs can add to your psychological wellbeing stock but not in a long term way Reinforcing feedback tends to result in increasing needs for the drug as it alters your perception rather than the


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