| As indicated on the main www.eyeonsociety.co.uk Home page, this website was originally set up with a view to disseminating, and promoting discussion of, insights into the public management arrangements that are required if we are to create a society which both offers high quality of life to all and has a chance of surviving into the future.
The author’s insights into these matters had their origins in research into the educational system. However, they found their most important application in connection with sustainability. Our research in this second area shows that, if our species and the planet as we know it are to survive in anything approaching their present form, we will need to radically change the way we live. Pervasive change in every nook and cranny of society is required. These manifold changes cannot be foreseen or decreed by any central authority. There can be no blueprint.
But our research also pointed to another unanticipated conclusion. It shows that what happens in society is primarily determined by a network of invisible, but mutually reinforcing, social forces that are currently not under human control. These operate like the network of interacting physical forces that control the movement of sailing boats and the planets. One of Newton’s main achievements was to show how these invisible forces could be described, measured, mapped and harnessed. The need is for a parallel development in the social sciences. The task of mapping these social forces is perhaps best described as socio-cybernetics. Cybernetics is concerned with the study of the guidance and feedback systems which control the behaviour of animals and machines. The reference to animals is important because it highlights the fact that cybernetics is concerned with the study of the operation of networks of unknown and interacting processes … not just with man-made systems. So socio-cybernetics becomes the study of these networks of, as yet invisible, interacting social forces which control what happens in society.
The vital question is, therefore, how to promote the evolution of a learning society – a society which will experiment, innovate, learn, and evolve toward sustainability (instead of in the opposite direction) without assuming that there can be “wise” leaders or committees to issue directions. This is, of course, exactly the question that Adam Smith and Fred Hayek sought to answer by promoting the “economic marketplace”. Unfortunately, as the author has shown in his book The New Wealth of Nations: A New Enquiry Into the Nature and Origins of the Wealth of Nations and The Societal Learning Arrangements Needed for a Sustainable Society their solution does not, and cannot, work. The purpose of this website is, therefore, to promote the development of an alternative answer.
This section of our Website lists the titles of both published and previously unpublished articles relating to the topics mentioned above. A click on one of the associated links will bring up the full article, or, at least information on the source from which it can be obtained.
No single article can, by itself, provide a comprehensive discussion of the issues. Rather, each deals with one topic or another, drawing on others as required. The older articles mostly offer preliminary findings and thoughtways. The later ones summarise one selection of outcomes or another. To obtain a more comprehensive picture it will be necessary to turn to one of the author’s books.
For this Section of our website to fulfil its purpose, it is essential for readers to comment on these articles. The author would therefore value comments both on any of the articles as a whole and on specific sections within them. Please click here or on the "How to participate" link in the left hand navigation panel for guidance on how to do this and to request a username and password.
Although chapters from some of the author’s books are available on this site, it has not been possible to include all of them. Those who wish to obtain these books should click on the appropriate link alongside the bibliographic details listed on eg. the Master List of Articles page. This will bring up more complete information on the book’s contents and indicate where it can be purchased.
The articles are grouped under seven headings:
1. Understanding and influencing social processes; Creating a Learning Society; New Forms of Democracy and Bureaucracy; Sustainability; Sociocybernetics.
2. Some Problematics.
3. Current psychological measurement and evaluation techniques.
4. The Nature, development, and assessment of competence.
5. The role of Psychologist: General.
7. Raven's Progressive Matrices.
The entries grouped into the first two Categories along with those in the later group "The Role of Psychologist: General", deal with the topics the understanding of which we are most anxious to advance here.
Articles in the other groups deal with better researched - although often still problematic - topics.