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

Format: Papers, RSD11, RSD11: Design over time, Topic: Culture & Society, Topic: Policy & Governance

Peter Jones

Fifty years have passed 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 MIT research team have been accepted as current outcomes of their prediction, anchoring its position as prescient in climate and economic policies, as well as in foresight studies. Yet many of the original critiques also remain justified, as several significant predictions were not realised. The World Model simulation project was the winning proposal of two programmes offered in response to the original Club of Rome prospectus, The Predicament of Mankind. Also known as the global problematique, the predicament was a multi-crisis problem framing Continuous Critical Problems produced by Hasan Özbekhan. After 50 years, the technocratic approaches of systems thinking still pervade methodology and design approaches to the megacrisis. The inherent assumptions of Western globalism in the problematique have rarely been, if ever, criticised. With rapidly developing, non-aligned economies in the Global South, these assumptions ought to also be reconsidered. I discuss alternative non-Western frames that indicate differences in priorities if the Global South is centred instead of the West. The original view of “the global” is critiqued as originating from the Club of Rome expert-centred framing, and the Western policy mindset is contrasted with a social systemic stakeholder-centred view. 

KEYWORDS: globalisation, problematique, value base, civilisational systems, global south

Citation Data

Author(s): Peter Jones
Year: 2022
Title: Global Elephants in the Room: A reflexive prospective following 50 years of the Global Problematique
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD11
Article No.: 126
Host: University of Brighton
Location: Brighton, UK
Symposium Dates: October 3–16, 2022
First published: 22 September 2022
Last update: 30 April 2023
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404

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Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


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