Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System

Roam on Sundays IX

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Last week’s Zoom chat was another success, and you can check out the lively discussion we had about legibility here on YouTube. This week’s Zoom chat will take place tomorrow at 8PM EDT—add to Google Calendar.

This week, we have Donella Meadows’ essay about leverage points, in which she expounds upon a list of twelve places for intervening in a system. She came up with this list as she was listening to naive and misguided proposals for how NAFTA, GATT, and the World Trade Organization will make the world better.

This was one of the most information dense essays I have read to date, and Meadows is a great writer, I highly suggest reading the full essay.

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Quotes

The higher the leverage point, the more the system will resist changing it — that’s why societies have to rub out truly enlightened beings.

In the end, it seems that mastery has less to do with pushing leverage points than it does with strategically, profoundly, madly letting go.

Things take as long as they take.

The more the price — the central piece of information signaling both producers and consumers — is kept clear, unambiguous, timely, and truthful, the more smoothly markets will operate.

Democracy worked better before the advent of the brainwashing power of centralized mass communications.

There is a systematic tendency on the part of human beings to avoid accountability for their own decisions.

The ability to self-organize is the strongest form of system resilience.

A system that can evolve can survive almost any change, by changing itself.

If you have no idea where to get a purpose, you can listen to the universe (or put in the name of your favorite deity here) and do his, her, its will, which is probably a lot better informed than your will.