The Unions – Part of a Bigger Problem

Ah yes! The UNIONS. The “problem” with the unions is actually similar to the problem we have with corporations, colleges, the military, public education and government itself. And that problem is ISOLATION! I.E. IVORY TOWERS! Whenever society “solves” any problem in isolation ( what system engineers call OPTIMIZATION ), then they cause other problems elsewhere (sub-optimization). What humans are failing to understand and acknowledge is that the world has reached a level of complexity and interconnectedness that can no longer be solved one piece at a time. And that’s what’s wrong with our government. It was developed for a simple minded, very small population, homogeneous, agricultural society that needed 2 weeks just to send a message from one end to the other. Today, if an earthquake hits Japan, car repairs stop in Boston and NY in a matter of days.

The Union model originated at least as early as the Roman “collegia” around 400 BC. It was all about protecting a “group” of workers from pay or working conditions dictated by a small number of overseers. Fast forward to American industrialization all the way through the post WWII period. We still had the same simple approach. What humanity now has to wake up to is that the modern world has irreversibly changed! We are no longer able to view a coal mine disaster at Upper Big Branch Mine as just sloppy safety practices. The U.S. Government “TOOK” responsibility for “insuring” mine safety. U.S. regulators then “overlooked” 68,000 safety violations with no serious legal actions against the mine company OR against the regulators for failing to do their job? The unions went along with this! The politicians ignored it saying “we can’t stop mining coal. We need POWER to run industry.”

ENOUGH! The unions, industry, and the country as a whole, are all in such a disaster because people are in denial about the sophistication needed to manage the complexity of the modern world. No small number of demands will fix this. But to get started with limited resources, OWS should include a DEMAND that will get the government to start addressing the much bigger organizational problem. And, NOTE WELL, this sophistication can’t be implemented by politicians who are just “good speakers”. They have to have the ability to understand the complexity or they won’t be able to do the job.

About Nanook

I am the "REAL" Nanook. I wrote the book LIARS! It presents the philosophy behind most of the posts on this blog. Look for information about it at
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