2016 - Cutting Through Complexity (in progress)
2011 - Common Property Rights
2006 - Analytical Activism
Cutting Through Complexity: The Analytical Activist’s Guide to Solving the Complete Sustainability Problem
2016, 6" by 9." Click the image to read the book. Here is a larger image of the cover.
This book is in progress. It's the latest summation of our research and includes a much easier to read approach to the analysis and improved description of some of the sample solution elements.
17 out of 23 chapters are complete. We will periodically update this page with the latest version.
If you would like to be a test reader and help us write a better book, that would be hugely appreciated. Please contact us. It's so hard to know how people are going to react to a book like this. It contains plenty of counterintuitive and astonishing findings. The book is also somewhat complex, due to the complexity of the sustainability problem. But from the start, the book was designed to help you cut through the fog of complexity, with an approach to analysis that turns that complexity into understandable simplicity. This is done with a simple approach to root cause analysis.
From the back cover:
Why has society, despite the brilliant efforts of millions of environmentalists, been unable to solve the sustainability problem? Common answers are lack of political will, market failure, this is a hard problem, and human greed. But none of these answers help to solve the problem.
Thwink.org’s answer to this question takes an entirely different approach, one so uncommon it may appear radical at first glance. The reason society has been unable to solve the sustainability problem is because popular solutions do not resolve root causes.
What then are the root causes? What might the solution strategies for resolving the root causes look like? Above all, what might a suitable process for finding the root causes resemble?
These are the questions this book attempts to answer.
This is the book to study if you are a serious public interest activist. It's all here.
Part One presents the solution element closest to being ready to implement. This is Common Property Rights. The world already has a mature private property right system, one so good it brought us the Industrial Revolution. Now we need to add the Common Property Rights system, which will trigger the Sustainability Revolution.
Part Two examines the problem solving processes used by the world's sustainability problem solvers. Why these have failed is examined in honesty and depth. Learning from that, a process capable of solving the problem is presented. This is the System Improvement Process. It's basically a wrapper for root cause analysis and model based analysis that allows those tools be more easily applied to difficult social problems.
Part Three then analyzes the sustainability problem using the System Improvement Process. This is presented in all the detail you need to see a bold new truth: Difficult social problems can be rationally analyzed and solved. No longer must activists rely on intuition, time, and luck to win. There is a better way. All it takes is the right tools used in the right way.
The book is a potentially enlightening read. The complexity of the problem is stripped away, leaving the bare bones of the problem's structure plain to see. The four subproblems are explored. Root causes are found for each subproblem. So are their high leverage points and sample solution elements.
It's a serious book for a serious problem. Reading it requires an open mind. Be prepared to have your present mental model of how to solve the problem replaced by an entirely new one that is now capable of solving the complete sustainability problem in our lifetimes.
The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace:
Why Progressives Are Stymied and How They Can Find Their Way Again
What do mega problems like environmental sustainability, large recessions, and excessive income inequality have in common? They are all symptoms of a deeper problem: the broken political system problem. Modern democracy is no longer working for the benefit of The People, It has instead been hijacked by special interests, notably large for-profit corporations and their chief ally, the rich.
How can we solve the broken political system problem? That's what this book examines. In clear engaging detail, how democracy has been exploited is examined. A simple simulation model of the problem is built right before your eyes. The model is then run. The output graphs tell the story. They tell us that system behavior has a reason. It has root causes. If we can understand these reasonably well, then we can solve the broken political system problem.
Analytical Activism: A New Approach to Solving the Sustainability Problem and Other Difficult Activist Problems
Rather than approaching the sustainability problem directly, this book approaches it indirectly. The book says that to solve difficult social problems like sustainability, problem solvers must change how they work. They must switch from Classic Activism to Analytical Activism.
This will just as big a change as the Scientific Revolution, which changed hard science problem solvers from alchemists to true scientists. That revolution ultimately gave us the Industrial Revolution.
So shouldn't we learn from that pattern? What might happen if we can change soft science problem solvers like environmentalists and progressives from an approach that doesn't work to one that does?