Você está na página 1de 15

SOCIODIAGNOSTICS

The contemporary world is a very complex and chaotic system. The casual observer is deluged by diverse signals of disparate events usually transmitted through the mass media. The resulting information overload is confusing and overwhelming. therefore, it is difficult to interpret and understand the significance of what is going on. This study is an attempt to contribute to such interpretation and eventual understanding of world phenomena. The enormity of this task however necessitates a delimitation of its scope and content to the abstract perception and conception of the human condition. This implies performing a systemic and systematic diagnosis of the current status in the worlds social system. In order to do so, this effort is based on the definition and description of a Global Problemology published in a previous study. This situation-diagnosis therefore rests upon a rigorous problem-taxonomy and follows its methodology. The present attempt combines further theoretical and empirical techniques, by first constructing a general diagnostic model and then applying it to a current world affairs case study. 1. CONCEPTUAL MODEL The first part of this study assembles the main components of our system and then connects them into a working structure. The following sections look into the context, concept and content of sociodiagnostics, thus setting the framework of our concerns. 1.1. Problem-Analysis.

Sociodignosis is a subcategory of the general diagnostic process, which in turn is a phase of problemology. Defined as disturbing situation or dysfunctional condition, a problem is an upsetting and unacceptable event which forces itself to our attention and begs for solution. So, whether subjectively or objectively defined, social problems concern us collectively and demand some counteraction. Social (economic, political, cultural) problems occur on various (local, regional, global) levels of the social system, thus having different functional and structural impacts. The more massive or complex the system, the greater a risk of more extensive or difficult its problems. Similarly, the more open and dynamic the system, the more urgent and cumulative the problems, as it happens in the contemporary world. These correlations imply that when systems become more delicate, their problems become more sophisticated. Under the circumstances, if we want to improve our capacity to understand and resolve them, our problemology must also become more developed. In this case, problem-analysis is the first and foremost step in such study of social problems. Our methodology of problem-analysis proceeds in the following three phases: -Diagnosis: current problem-identification, description-exposition of present condition; -Anagnosis: historic problem-evolution, causation-explanation of pathogenic etiology; -Prognosis: future problem-projection, implication-expectation of probable potential.

These three distinct but complementary tasks are the necessary and sufficient procedures to perform a complete analysis of any problem. Ideally, this process attempts to discern the past, present and future of a condition, which is only possible in simple deterministic systems. Of course, its application to complex systems, such as human societies, can only approximate this unobtainable goal. Whatever its limitations and imperfections, this method should put us in a better position to undertake the ultimate task of problem-solving, which of course is an altogether different matter to be tackled in other studies. At this time, our task here is the more modest but nonetheless significant first step of problem-diagnosis into which we now focus. 1.2. Sociodiagnosis.

As defined above, diagnosis is equivalent to problem-identification, so it is both the means and the end of determining the existence of unacceptable conditions. As such, it is essential in the rational treatment of problems, because it forces asking the right questions, thus pointing towards the correct answers. Eventually, the proper identification of the parameters of a problem determines the likelihood of its solution. The aim of diagnosis is the timely discovery of disturbing factors at work in a peculiar situation, so that they may be dealt with before the damage to the system is irreparable. Diagnosis should thus be performed as soon as possible in order to uncover the early warning symptoms and prevent further deterioration. Sociodiagnosis, of course, concentrates in discovering interpersonal conflicts or dysfunctions within and between human groups. Naturally, social systems differ from organic or mechanical ones, because they are usually larger and looser, thus making diagnosis more difficult. Nevertheless, the basic principles of General Systems Theory hold in all cases, so the fundamentals of diagnostic methodology should apply to social complexity as it does to natural simplicity. On this assumption of intersystemic similarity, we utilize knowledge in one domain to further understanding in another. However, transferring analogies, like mixing metaphors, is a dangerous undertaking which should be done very carefully. So, with this caveat in mind, we proceed slowly to generate and examine certain hypotheses. 1.3. Sociopathology.

Pathology is the study of disease: hence it is concerned with systemic malfunctions, abnormalities, or problems. These arise as a result of either internal pathologic (destructive) behavior of the system itself or external pathogenic (unhealthy) conditions in its environment. In either case, there is call for diagnosis. Social pathology is obviously based on an organic analogy whereby society is considered as the patient and social problems reflect diseases of the body politic. These diseases maybe of structural (institutional) or functional (operational) nature, either of which result in suboptimal performance and undesirable state of affairs. A general characteristic of all dynamic systems is to resist disturbances. If they cannot do so, they try to compensate by taking corrective countermeasures to restore the status quo ante. Disease may be nothing more than the manifestation of this

defensive mechanism by which the system reacts to injury. However defined, disease is an extraordinary condition, focusing attention to itself and calling for action. This point of view assumes that there is a normal or healthy state, so any deviation from it must be considered undesirable. Social pathology thereby becomes a normative study of gaps between real and ideal conditions. The central hypothesis of pathology therefore is that the greater the gap, the worse the disease. For example, if poverty is to be considered a social problem, prosperity must be established as the norm and operationally defined to permit its gap with poverty to be measured in every diagnostic case. Only if we know what should be the normal level of wealth, can we diagnose to what extent an actual case suffers from poverty. The difficulty here is that social ideals are notoriously subjective and elusive, especially in pluralistic societies. Nevertheless, ideals or norms do exist as part of the conceptual standards of cultural paradigms which, whether epistemological or ideological, determine our thoughts and actions by distinguishing true from false or good from evil. The dominant paradigm of the modern weltanschuung forms a rationalistichumanistic melange. Its rational aspect emphasizes a scientific methodology and empirical epistemology, whereas its humanistic facet accentuates an anthropocentric deontology and secular axiology. Unlike the natural and medical sciences who have an established corpus of knowledge, the human and social sciences do not. The World Health Organization, for instance, has an official definition of biological health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, whereas nothing of the kind exists for social health. One however need not go so far as the maximalist definition of WHO, to recognize if something is wrong with society. Although ideal states are rarely attained by real systems, normal groups or individuals function adequately in less than perfect conditions. So, a more pragmatic compromise could admit as diseases only significant deviations from some established statistical norm. Accordingly, the abridged three-digital inventory of WHO lists about 750 organic diseases, of which less than 10% are usually found in any particular society; the rest being of such rare and exceptional occurrence that need not be taken into account in normal situations. What is interesting from our point of view is that medicine now considers the social well-being of people along with their physical and mental state, as a necessary condition of health. This recognition of social health is an incentive to increase our efforts to develop a recognized typology of social pathologies as the criteria for our diagnoses. 2. STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS The classification of social diseases is part of the overall structure of rational thought, to which we now turn. This is necessary because problem identification is analogous to logical contemplation: in order to engage in diagnosis, one must think. All thought-processes depend on certain structural elements, whose particular interconnections and interactions are outlined in the next sections.

2.1.

Basic Elements.

Intelligent or problem-handling systems must have two major components: -Memory: the capacity to store data for recall whenever required for treatment; -Activity: the capacity to operate the system and process the data in some way. This double structure and function complement each other in the treatment and storage of information, permitting the system to learn and cope with its environment, hence improving its chances for survival. For this improvement or development to take place, the preceding structures must be imbued with the following content: -Data: distinct bits of information suitable for manipulation; -Coda: programmed instructions on what to do with the data. Thus, whether natural or artificial, intelligence must combine empirical perception with theoretical conception in order to apply general programs and coded patterns to particular operations and specific calculations. Juxtaposing the above structural elements and their contents, we get the 2x2 array of the four interrelated cells shown below: FORM CONTENT Information Data Storage Program Storage Data Process Program Process Conservation Operation

Instruction

This simplified schematic provides the basic requirements for any intelligent system, from the primitive computer to the human brain to function effectively. So it is on the basis of this elementary structure, that we build our model of sociodiagnosis. To do so, we have to translate these general terms to the specific diagnostic terminology used herein. 2.2. Information Systems.

From the above, information is obviously the basic element of intelligent systems. In effect, the purpose of such systems is to store, process, recall, and use information, whose basic unit is the coded datum. For purposes of diagnosis, the primary datum is a symptom. As the empirical indicator of a problem, a symptom manifests some systemic dysfunction. In that sense, it provides the operative evidence of a problem and measures its extent. For example, in order to determine if a crime has been committed, we look for its various symptoms in the complaints of its victims or the denunciations of its witnesses. Evidence of violent, unlawful or antisocial behavior, thus constitute symptoms of criminality which may be quantified as the measure of a social problem.

Obviously, the proper selection of symptoms is extremely important in the identification of the problem. Choosing certain indices rather than others could make all the difference in a diagnosis. The selection criteria must therefore be explicitly stated and correctly identified. On the basis of the epistemological and ideological standards , people choose certain symptoms and ignore others. These choices may be eventually traced to incipient or instinctive foundations. Epistemologicaly, their primordial roots are found in axiomatic tenets and ideologically in dogmatic beliefs. As axioms are the unquestionable assumptions for facts, dogmas are the ultimate credos of opinions; a combination of which leads to our derivatives of symptoms and problems. 2.3. Operational Procedures.

The elements mentioned so far create and maintain information systems. Symptoms provide the data and paradigms support the programs stored and used in diagnosis. This process is a complex operation which manipulates information according to the instructions emanating from such given codes. In order to simplify and clarify the complexity of diagnosis, we distill its procedure into three crucial and distinct operations: -Semiosis: perception of interesting signals or collection of indicative data; -Axiosis: assessment of relevant symptoms or selection of significant norms; -Syntaxis: determination of main problem or critical evaluation of disease. These three steps are closely interrelated, yet it is important to distinguish them as different activities. Together, they form the operational definition of diagnosis and provide the necessary and sufficient condition for its performance. With the identification and elucidation of these procedural elements, we are now ready to draw the basic structure of social diagnosis. The following diagram applies the general categories of an intelligent system to the specific requirements of a diagnostic model. It is evident that we have used the four structural elements of the 2x2 array combined with the three functional phases outlined above to produce the diagnostic system shown in the next page. Therein, one notices the primary program storage containing the operating system paradigm which supports the whole process. Along with that we have the information storage of data, dogmas and symptoms which form our corpus of evidence. Connected to these two memory containers are the semiotic and axiomatic processors, both of which converge into the syntactic component at the end. The resulting schema presents the overall structure of our diagnostic mechanism. 3. DIAGNOSTIC ALGORITHM On the basis of the above structural scheme, we can now go into the procedural operations required to carry out the diagnosis proper. These procedures may be seen as the simplified algorithm which follows the three diagnostic steps outlined in the following flow chart and elaborated below. 3.1. Semiosis.

Per definition, semiosis is the perception of signs. In the context of diagnosis, such activity compares various signals coming from the environment according to a decoding system which translates and imbues them with some relevant meaning. As the algorithm shows, the diagnostic process begins with environmental phenomena transmitting a wide range of signals, some of which are captured by the receptors of our system and become its inputs. The semiotic operation decides whether these signals are true or false alarms on the basis of certain epistemological criteria which are stored in its memory. These standards, along with accumulated experience, have built up a data bank against which the incoming signal is compared. The comparison notes similarities and differences, confirmations or contradictions between the established knowledge and the new information. If the latter fits within the former interest framework or cognitive domain, it makes sense and is worthy of attention or concern, therefore it is retained for further processing. If not, it is rejected as irrelevant noise or background static. As an example, let us look at some of the signals bombarding us either directly or mediately. These could be pictures of children crying, soldiers shooting, women talking, animals eating, volcanoes erupting, etc. In addition, mediated information comes to us by narratives of other peoples experiences, demographic statistics, scientific reports, personal anecdotes, historical documents and other such records. When all this data enters a persons attention span, it must be screened out for retention or rejection. By this screening process, one notices a few salient points, while ignoring most of the others. If ones interests lie in public affairs, the noted events might be images of skeletal men, photos of urban slums, income distribution stats, or reports of diplomatic negotiations. These and similar indices of what is going on in the world may trigger our diagnostic interest, while a multitude of other signs, such as astronomical movements, weather forecasts, surgical operations, or sports may go on unnoticed. 3.2. Axiosis.

Once semiosis has determined that a particular piece of incoming information is noteworthy, it is passed on to the next decision fork to determine its importance. This phase involves the question whether the interesting signal constitutes a social problem. By the test of axiosis, we distinguish between normal and abnormal events, thus deciding the significance of an indicator. Assuming the input of an interesting piece of data, the problematic question can only be answered by normative comparison to given desiderata. Such standards of preference fit within the dominant dogma of what is normal and what is abnormal. In the social sciences, this distinction depends on the underlying ideological paradigm which provides the theoretical basis upon which our evaluation rests. If the empirical indicator falls within an acceptable range given by the established criteria, then the condition is normal, hence unimportant or trivial, to be relegated to a dead storage sink. On the contrary, the important cases for a diagnostician are the measurements which fall above or below the normal range, to be followed up for further treatment.

In the case of our example, income distribution statistics and pictures of slums become significant only if they do not live up to our ideas about a normal society. If those ideas find wide standard deviations acceptable and poverty natural, then the situation might be interesting but unimportant and we could pass on to other things. It is only if ones ideology believes in social equality and its dogma includes a narrow range of wealth distribution, that one can find great disparities to be disturbing. In this case, the situation must be deemed problematic to the extent that it deviates from the acceptable norm, thus forwarded to the next check point. 3.3. Syntaxis

The final step in this diagnostic process synthesizes the results of the previous steps by comparing them to a given pathogenic symptomatology. As such, syntaxis combines empirical data and normative dogma to define problems in a formal manner. The inputs to this operation are significant abnormalities as determined by the two preceding decisions. The question now is what do these discrepancies mean? To answer this question, one needs a dictionary of symptoms which classify them as indices for certain pathologies. This taxonomy provides a standard test for the inputs and should be used consistently in all cases. When a particular combination of symptoms fits to the definition of a problem, then the diagnosis is successfully completed by identifying and labeling the abnormality according to its standard terminology. If the symptoms do not fit any known problem, then either we have a new disease or a false index. In this case, we may suspect that something is wrong, but do not know exactly what it is or what to call it. To complete our continuing example, we now have certain statistics indicating that 90% of the population of a country earns only 20% of its income, owns 10% of the land and none of the capital. Moreover, most people are undernourished, uneducated, and unhealthy. What does that mean? To find out, we search our symptomatology to see if it contains these indices define a particular problem. As it happens, social symptomatology is vague and controversial, so it is open to various interpretations. Nevertheless, many social scientists would recognize these symptoms as close enough to diagnose this condition as widespread poverty. In any case, whatever name it is given, this condition corresponds to some problem. This simplified example shows the necessity of standards in making a diagnosis. Whether consciously aware of them or not, consistently apply them or not, norms are indispensable to evaluation. All our algorithm does is make this implicit or instinctive diagnostic process more explicit and expositive. 4. CASE STUDY The second part now undertakes to apply this general diagnostic model to a particular historic situation, thus testing its efficacy. In order to do that, we chose to sample the opinions of an international group of experts associated with the world wide network of the United Nations University. This group worked as part of the Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development project which was completed in the last decade.

These researchers formed interdisciplinary teams working in various institutions throughout the world formed an invisible college studying various problems of human concern. The teams met periodically, in several places to exchange information and managed to built a general consensus on the state of the world. As a result, the GPID project produced various reports, articles, and monographs on political, economic and social issues of global, regional and local scope. The sheer volume of these working papers and the broad nature of their contents necessitated a long and difficult integrative effort. For that reason, the present model and method were developed to systematize the process and manage its output. This was done in the end, thus discovering some emerging patterns reflecting the collective perceptions of this group. The methodology used for this purpose here combines environmental scanning and issue identification techniques. In this way, we carried out a systematic review of the available literature, supplemented by personal contacts and epistolary correspondence. The objective was to determine the groups perceived world problems and analyze their emerging issues. According to the diagnostic model, each contribution was scanned for its data base (facts and figures), personal bias (values and opinions) and main conclusions (symptoms and diagnosis). These three criteria correspond to the essential epistemology, ideology and pathology in our model and take into account the observations, prejudices and judgments of the participants. On that basis, we looked for specific statements which could be classified in our various categories and then process them through the steps of semiosis, axiosis, and syntaxis. So whether a particular author made an explicit diagnosis or not, it was possible to attribute implicitly comments and opinions under the different headings, as summarized in the following sections. 4.1. State of the World

The first phase of diagnosis is observation of events as they happen or the perception of their lasting effects afterwards. In order to perform their semiosis, the GPID members gathered their factual information on the basis of their epistemological predilections which emphasized certain phenomena and ignored others. Epistemology: In this case, excessive specialization and scientism are rejected. This means that a picture of the world based exclusively on such econometric indices as GNP is inadequate and misleading. Similarly, methodologies based strictly on physical sciences are not very applicable to the social sciences. To remedy the prevalent economistic myopia, the GPID epistemology is more pluralistic, flexible, and interdisciplinary, so as to include more indicators. It follows that information should be gathered not only at the aggregate level by experts, but also involve ordinary people and their concerns. A real dialogue should be established by scientists and citizens in a kind of participant-observer interaction. Social systems can best be studied from the inside by those involved in them. Data: Given this perspective, the GPID information base was qualitative rather than quantitative. On the one hand, there were interviews describing the personal

testimonials of people who lived in villages, reflected in particular first hand case studies of small communities. On the other hand, there were general theoretical works which saw at the world from a highly abstract and macroscopic perspective. In either case, no statistical data was generated and very little utilized. Rather, the writers assumed much of it and went on to make impressionistic statements and generalizations about the state of the world. Semiosis: The mental image emerging out of this process is full of vivid colors and sharp contrasts. On one level, the world is a heterogeneous place where some regions are endowed with a lot of natural resources and others with very little. These natural differences are exacerbated by social factors which create great urban centers of high demographic density and large industrial complexes of high economic productivity in some countries, while there are almost empty deserts or small subsistence communities in others. On another level, the world is a network of interrelations and interactions, where exchanges of goods, services and people is going on continuously. In this network, there are modes of high activity, advanced technology, and rapid communication, as well as massive organizations and powerful corporations. The world arena has its hot spots of high friction and conflict, or frenzied production and consumption of matter and energy, at the same time as there is some cooperation and regulation of these activities, so that the whole system has some semblance of law and order. This picture of the world is then full of contrasts, life and death, activity and passivity, tradition and innovation, tranquility and turbulence. So much so that it presents contradictory and paradoxical aspects which are difficult to understand or reconcile. That is why interpreting such disingenuous state of affairs is so difficult and agreeing on a single meaning impossible. 4.2. Global values.

In addition to information, observation, and description, diagnosis requires translation, interpretation, and evaluation. Having considered the former above, we now move on to the latter. Ideology. The indispensable tool for any interpretation of events is a belief in some fundamental ideological criteria. For the UNU community these may be summarized as the following decalogue: -Humanism: man is the measure of all things, at least in his need fulfillment. -Egalitarianism: everyone should be treated equally and equitably. -Moralism: one must act in respect and consideration of those concerned. -Socialism: a community should share collectively its commonwealth. -Populism: all citizens should participate democratically in public affairs. -Autonomism: societies should be able to determine their destiny independently. -Autarkism: societies should strive for economic self-reliance if not self-sufficiency. -Pacifism: people and societies should settle their disputes by peaceful means. -Pluralism: different cultures should coexist in toleration of each others beliefs. -Naturalism: people should live in harmony with their natural environment.

These general aphorisms seem to uphold the GPID ideals and determine the evaluation of its perceived indicators. Dogma. On the basis of the above decalogue, rise certain dogmata as to the desiderata of human behavior and social relations. These givens assign preferences and list priorities according to which one is able to decide between good and bad. GPID members, for instance, took it for granted that people should not die of disease, hunger or malnutrition; that all kinds of violence be minimized and cooperation replace conflict; that life is preferable to death and human life our most precious value. These platitudes, of course, are so general as to allow for different interpretations and differential applications. Nevertheless, broad as they are, these dogmatic beliefs were generally shared among the members of our invisible college and formed the fundamental hypotheses of its diagnosis. Axiosis. Combining these basic values, the UNU team saw the world in a rather negative or pessimistic perspective. Accordingly, human inequalities became social inequities, of which unfortunately the world is full. This perception of widespread social injustice was perhaps the central dogma shared by the group. As a result the most striking characteristics of the world were: unequal distribution if wealth, food, resources, education, health, housing, employment, etc. These inequalities exist both within and between societies, so the rich and poor confront each other across neighborhoods as well as continents. The infamous North-South Gap represents the most unpalatable and insidious imbalance in the global system, thus making for a very volatile situation. Added to that economic disequilibrium, are of course other intersecting confrontations, such as: cultural, between Eastern fundamentalism versus Western liberalism, and political, between democratic constitutionalism versus dictatorial authoritarianism; not to speak of the proliferation of nuclear weapons which threaten the destruction of civilization, if not humanity. Finally, there is environmental pollution and resource depletion which threaten the extinction of many species, including ours. All these signs run counter to UNU values, so were interpreted as danger signals which attest the general malaise of the planet. Thus both the exploitation of man and the degradation of nature have brought the world into its present critical condition. 4.3. Global Pathology.

This last step of the diagnostic process depends on a well-formulated pathology against which symptoms are judged. This means that the various symptoms observed must be collected and collated into a definite set which corresponds to some recognized problem in our pathological dictionary. So in this final stage, we have to compare the perceived symptoms with the conceived diseases and draw the appropriate conclusions. Symptoms. Recapitulating the salient indices gathered so far, we rely on statistical data and anecdotal acta to produce the following set of symptoms: periodic and regional

inflation and depression; over and under-employment, dearth and wealth, paucity and obesity. Large groups of people and entire societies everywhere suffer from these contradictions, in addition to high morbidity, illiteracy, apathy and anomy. There is no point here repeating all the complaints that people have with their lives. Needless to say, these symptoms range from the simple and banal physical annoyances to the complex and controversial mental malaises. They aggregate individual discomfort and pain to collective disturbance and unrest. They must therefore be dealt with at all levels, but for our purposes focusing on the social. Pathology. In the GPID dictionary, the above set of symptoms spell out what may be termed as the disease of maldevelopment. This social problem is manifested in two opposite states: under and overdevelopment. Obviously, the former indicates the atrophy or poverty of most countries of the contemporary world which have been stalled in a preindustrial state, whereas the latter is reflected in the hypertrophy or boulemia of the few post-industrial nations. This pathology, implicitly assumes the existence of a standard of development which some societies have not reached and others have surpassed. Proper or sustainable development then becomes the healthy state, whereas pseudo or maldevelopment becomes the abnormality. Measured by both good quality of life and high standard of living, development is a process of systemic maturation and an attainment of natural potential. Whether ecologic or economic, individual or social, development has become the value ideal or holy grail of the modern world. Against it are compared various forms anti, non, and undevelopment, as the widespread diseases of the global system. These pathologies may be classified as: -Structural: relating to the topology of the problem: local, regional, global; -Functional: relating to the ontology of the problem: personal, social, natural. This two-dimentional taxonomy analyzes our pathology in all its intersecting aspects and is tabulated in the next chapter. Syntaxis. On this basis, the GPID diagnosis concludes that the world suffers from a complex syndrome of interrelated ailments. Its problems range from the economic (capitalism, commercialism, consumerism) and social (elitism, ethnocentrism, urbanism), to the political (statism, militarism, fascism) and cultural (imperialism, materialism, modernism). Some of these problems are found at their worst in some regions and sectors. The North-Western world, for example suffers mostly from overdevelopment (senility, decadence, obesity), whereas the South-Eastern world suffers mostly from underdevelopment ( stagnation, overpopulation, poverty). In addition to these social problems, we have personal (alienation, apathy, stress) and natural (pollution, depletion, entropy) maladies which complete the global pathological roster. These various diseases, alone and in combination, make the world an abnormal and dysfunctional system, whose problems are so wide and deep as to constitute a pandemic. Thus identified, defined, and classified, this maldevelopment problematic, concludes the diagnosis of our case study. 5. EVALUATION

This last chapter evaluates the output of the study by comparing its theoretical and practical aspects. This is done first by reviewing the project, then by reconstructing its diagnosis, and finally by assessing both the substantive content and the formal procedure of our model. 5.1. Project Critique.

It is strange that qualitative global studies never present a systematic diagnosis of the world condition. Of course, as we found out, there are plenty of diagnostic statements implied in many studies. But very few are made as such. Most of them are indirect and have to be inferred from broader impressionistic propositions. Nevertheless, using our model, a diagnosis does emerge, even if implicitly. Searching for hidden diagnostics in many disparate studies which were meant for other purposes, requires a lot of digging and shifting. For this reason the model came in handy by distinguishing informative from normative statements and extricating their various implications. The three steps of our process bring out the salient points of relevant statements. In the first place semiosis focuses on indicators by scanning for supporting facts and figures underpinning controversial statements. Most studies are not strong in this domain, because it seems that their authors take background data for granted and go on from there to build their arguments. Although this is quite acceptable for abstract studies, it must be recognized and admitted as such. The axiosis step encounters similar problems because authors hide their values or mix them up with facts. There is often an implicit ideological agenda behind behind many statements, so the task is to uncover and expose it. Perhaps the rainbow metaphor best illustrates the various ideological biases working here. At both extremes of the spectrum, we sense infrared (communism) on the left and ultraviolet (fascism) on the right. In between, the UNU ideology is a rather soft Green (Humanist-Ecologist) hue, bordering the light blue (liberalism) and pink (socialism) positions. Once the factual information and ideological persuasion are manifested, one can proceed to make a diagnosis in the third step which requires the juxtaposition and composition of the two previous tasks. Here care must be taken to distinguish between the disease and its symptoms, something which many people confuse. Finally, the complexity of our global subject makes the task difficult and controversial. One can hardly expect so many different people from all over the world to agree on a single diagnosis of the planetary condition. Yet, our integrative method comes very close to doing that, if one is willing to interpret the results positively and flexibly. 5.2. Model Tabulation

The two tables in the next pages are an attempt to interpret and integrate the UNU diagnosis as this author sees it. The structure of the tables corresponds to the conceptual framework worked out in the previous problemological study. Each table corresponds to the ontological and topological dimensions of our model. The former focuses on social problems, but includes those personal and natural

ones that have social repercussions. That table lists nine diseases, each of which has three symptoms. Each symptomatic triad of operational-statistical indices identifies a social disease. Similarly, the topological table recognizes world problems according to their geographical aggregation: global, regional, local. Each level has its characteristic problems, although the distinctions in practice are much more fuzzy. Naturally, the real world does not correspond exactly to its various mental models. The correspondence, nevertheless, is close enough to make our map a plausible replicate. Taken together, the two dimensions intersect each other, so that the items listed in one table coexist with those in the other. Thus the economic problems of capitalism may be found at various levels, although they are concentrated in the western region. In the same way, although the problem of nationalism is found in many contexts, it is most likely in the political arena. This cross-reference means that different problems could combine to form complex pathologies for certain geographical or functional domains. Moreover, they may feedback on each other, thus accentuating the overall condition to critical levels. Altogether, the two-dimensional framework of global problematics completes the contemporary condition of our world pathology. These interrelated and mutually reinforcing problems create create a whole pathological complex from which the world suffers in various degrees and locations. The picture presented by this combination seems quite serious and the patient may not survive its various complications if some drastic therapy is not applied in time. This prognosis and therapy however are in themselves different problems which will be tackled in subsequent studies. 5.3. General Evaluation.

In evaluating this diagnostic model, one should realize that its efficacy increases along with the time and effort devoted to its function. In order to be fully operational, the model requires much more rigor and much less scope. The particular application here was exactly the opposite: planetary extent and primary execution. But since it was only a pilot test, it should be adequate for its exemplary purpose. Moreover, an ideal diagnosis demands more information than is usually available, especially to social scientists. Statistical data and comparative indices are hard to come by. At the same time conflicting paradigms and contrasting ideologies produce different interpretations, even when information is plentiful. Given this double dilemma, any scientific diagnosis becomes an unenviable task. Yet, it has to be and is done intuitively all the time. But the world has become too complex and counter intuitive, so diagnosis has to be upgraded to a higher level. Primitive as it is, this diagnostic model therefore serves as a prototype which can be improved with further tests. The twofold purpose of this study, to make a general model and apply it is a particular situation, has been accomplished. In conclusion, we can now state that our diagnosis indicates quite a pathological world condition, composed of a set of complex problematics. The sheer quantity of these problems, as well as their peculiar quality make the

whole diagnosis rather negative. Following it, the prognosis of the sampled authors is therefore distinctly pessimistic, if not alarmist. Whether they are right in this outlook, of course remains to be seen; but if one wants to be on the safe side, it would be better to them seriously. Comparing the diagnoses of various groups of scientists, we have to give the edge to the pessimists. Most diagnostic studies, from the Club of Rome to the United Nations tend to agree on the seriousness of the world condition. Of course, if people are looking for problems, they are bound to find them, so diagnosticians can be counted on to discover abnormalities. What is interesting in this case is not only what has been found, but also what has been left out. Obviously, the GPID criticism is heavily weighed against the Western world, while there is a notable blind spot on other regions. As a result, most of the diseases are either in the West or come from there. It is as if UNU diagnosticians are experts of Western diseases, thus other kinds escape them. Yet, even id there is some bias in this diagnosis, it would be irresponsible to dismiss it. Although the world situation may not be as serious as claimed, there is no question of the validity of some criticism. At this critical juncture, it behooves us not to underestimate the condition of our patient. Only then will people be more prone to make an effort in combating the disease. After all, the ultimate purpose of diagnosis is therapy. So this stage is only the beginning on the long road to problem-solving, which includes anagnosis and prognosis. This step of problem-identification then precedes the subsequent steps of explanation and anticipation, all of which are necessary in order to improve our decision-making and policy-planning capacity, thus put ourselves in a better position to deal with some of the unacceptable conditions that beset our world.

BACKGROUND BIBLIOGRAPHY P. J. Arnopoulos: Sociophysics. Nova Science, N. Y. 1993 Sociopolitics. Guernica, Toronto, 1995 Social Forecasting Model Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 13, 31-42, 1979 Social Problemology Cybernetics Annals, 1995 C. Abt (ed): The Evaluation of Social Problems. Sage, L.A. 1976 R. L. Ackoff: The Art of Problem-Solving. Wiley-Interscience, N. Y. 1978 S. A. Barber, et al. Problem-Solving in Political Science. Merrill, Columbus, 1971 R. A. Bauer (ed): Social Indictors. MIT, Cambridge, 1968 H. S. Becker (ed): Social Problems. Wiley, N. Y. 1968 A. Cherns (ed): Sociotechnics. Malaby, London, 1976 K. B. deGreene: Sociotechnical Problems. Prentice-Hall, N.J. 1969 R. A. Dentler: Major Social Problems. Rand McNally, Chicago, 1972 S. N. Eisenstadt (ed): Comparative Social Problems. Free Press, N. Y. 1964 R. Heath & R. Nelson (eds): Issues Management. Sage, B. H. 1986 R. N. Henshel: Perspectives on Social Problems. Longman, Don Mills, 1973 G. J. Klir: Architecture of Systems Problem-Solving. Plenum, N. Y. 1985 E. M. Lemert: Social Pathology. McGraw-Hill, N. Y. 1951 R. F. Murphy: The Dialectics of Social Life. N. Y. 1971 J. R. Ravetz: Scientific Knowledge & Social Problems. Oxford, N. Y. 1971 J. E. Robertshaw et al. Problem-Solving. McGraw-Hill, N. Y. 1979 E. Rubington & M. Weinberg: The Study of Social Problems. Oxford, N.Y. 1971 M. F. Rubinstein: Patterns of Problem-Solving. Prentice-Hall, N. J. 1975 B. M. Russett: World Handbook of Political & Social Indicators. Yale, N, H, 1964 A. Shonfield & S. Shaw: Social Indicators & Social Policy. London, 1972 E. O. Smigel: Handbook on Social Problems. Rand McNally, Chicago, 1971 C. Taylor & M. Hudson: World Handbook of Social Indicators. Yale, N.H. 1972 G. Vickers. Value Systems & Social process. Penguin, Middlesex, 1970 J. Armstrong: Long-Range Forecasting. Wiley, N. Y. 1985 W. Ascher & W. Overholt: Strategic Planning & Forecasting. Wiley, N. Y. 1983 O. Helmer: Looking Foreward. Sage, B. H. 1983 B. Hughes: World Futures. Hohns Hopkins, Baltimore,1985 T. Jones: Options for the Future. Praeger, N. Y. 1980 E. Masini: Why Future Studies? Grey Seal, London, 1993 W. Renfro: Issues Management in Strategic Planning. Quorum, Westport, 1993 T. Seety & L. Boone: Embracing the Future. Praeger, N. Y. 1990 P. Schwartz: The Art of the Long View. Doubleday, N. Y. 1991