Tag Archives: finance

Facing Modernity’s Shadow: The Compulsion to Act

Nature is the only system that has been stamped robust by time. Once we recognize businesses are living systems and not machines, as ecosystem designers of any stripe be it corporate leader or parent, we are faced with the most important question of all: When to intervene? We in the West tend to take a proactive stance. We have a bias to action. We take the initiative. We seek to control the situation. This has hidden costs. One is that we are all overstimulated — which manifests in high blood pressure and a myriad of stress-related illnesses. These are side effects of an overactive stance. But there are more direct costs, too. Iatrogenics is the medical term for harm from intervention or death by treatment. It is the third leading cause of death in America. Treatment kills more people every year in the United States than any single cancer. This would make health care a pretty slow-learning field, as they have had the Hippocratic oath (First Do No Harm) for 24 centuries. But health care at least recognizes the notion of harm from treatment. As Nassim Taleb has pointed out, politics and economics have no such term. In the inaugural issue of design4emergence, biologist Rolf Muertter asked, “Read more