September 19 (the second Monday of the month) is the 103rd meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. The registration is at https://global-elephants.eventbrite.ca .

Global Elephants in the Room: A reflexive prospective following 50 years of the Global Problematique

For September’s Systems Thinking Ontario, OCADU’s professor Peter Jones will share a preview of his talk for RSD11 on a world system perspective of the Club of Rome’s Global Problematique.

It has been 50 years since the original Limits to Growth report to the Club of Rome. Since then, many of the original controversies triggered by the dire scenarios produced by the Meadows research team have been accepted as current outcomes of their prediction, anchoring its position as prescient in climate and economic policies. The Limits to Growth project was based on the original Club of Rome prospectus know as the Global Problematique, a problem framing produced by Hasan Özbekhan, a first-generation social system thinker who advocated requisite variety and stakeholder engagement to resolve the problematique.

After 50 years the technocratic approaches of systems thinking still pervade methodology and design. The globalism inherent in the Problematique also remains; with rapidly developing new economies in the Global South, these assumptions ought to also be reconsidered. Why must the Problematique be situated as “global?” Even as Özbekhan’s stakeholder-centred vision may be achievable today, but now we must ask, who are the real stakeholders for these problems? Jones critiques the original view of “the global” as originating from the Club of Rome expert-centred framing and contrast the Western policy mindset with systemic design’s stakeholder-centred systems view. Jones will discuss the mappings from these studies and show an alternative non-Western frame with significant difference in priorities, if the Global South is centred instead of the West.


Suggested pre-reading:

Özbekhan, H., Jantsch, E., & Christakis, A. N. (1970). The predicament of mankind: A quest for structured responses to growing world-wide complexities and uncertainties. Proposal to the Club of Rome. [Part 1 excerpt]

Christakis, A. N. (2006). A retrospective structural inquiry of the Predicament of Humankind. In Volume 1: Rescuing the enlightenment from Itself (pp. 93-122). Springer, Boston, MA. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

Christakis, A. N. & Diedrich J. (2022). Co-constructing Retrospective and Retroductive Global Problematiques Virtually with the Logosofia platform, in the context of the Climate Crisis: A report on the Gedanken Experiment. [manuscript]


Post-meeting artifacts

Bloggers are encouraged to write about their learning and experiences at the meeting. Links will be added to this page.