Systems thinking metaphors for illuminating fundamental policy dilemmas Public
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Public policy is often is driven by two inputs: measurements that describe a shortfall from a goal, and simplistic policy recipes that strive to overcome the shortfall, often with little attention to how the shortfall was created in the first place. Indeed, measurement has become an important part of policy design. Measurements interpret performance as indicators of growth and the volume of activity. They can be easily fed to complex forecasting instruments generating non-verifiable futures, which drive policy with highly variable efficacy. Should we aim at more precise measurements and more complex forecasting instruments or develop more informed policy paradigms? This paper advocates the later by proposing several metaphorical policy structures that are cognizant of the root causes of the many classes of policy situations. They allow moving away from symptoms to address policy to root causes. They are proposed as an alternative to measurement based policy actions.
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