Synopsis

Charles (aka Chip) Hauss has written a very important book called Security 2.0. In it he argues that security is a much more complex concept than it used to be...or at least used to be thought to be.  It --along with countless other problems that contribute to or detract from individual, community, and national security--are what Hauss (and others) refer to as "wicked problems" -- problems that are so complex that the causes and effects are multiple and all intertwined.  Hauss explores the nature of wicked problems, and how they can be more successfully addressed by changing one's paradigm related to conflict resolution, problem solving and decision making.  This video explains both the nature of the problem, and Hauss's proposed solution.

Synopsis

Charles (aka Chip) Hauss has written a very important book called Security 2.0. In it he argues that security is a much more complex concept than it used to be...or at least used to be thought to be.  It --along with countless other problems that contribute to or detract from individual, community, and national security--are what Hauss (and others) refer to as "wicked problems" -- problems that are so complex that the causes and effects are multiple and all intertwined.  Hauss explores the nature of wicked problems, and how they can be more successfully addressed by changing one's paradigm related to conflict resolution, problem solving and decision making.  This video explains both the nature of the problem, and Hauss's proposed solution.

He starts out the book by saying that “we need to broaden the way we define security to such a degree that we have to rethink the way we govern ourselves in general.” He focuses on security because he is an International Relations scholar by training, and he's been studying security in the original sense of national security for a long time, but he, like many others, have come to realize that that's too narrow a definition of security. While many others have come up with the notion of “human security,” Chip goes even more broadly than that with his concept of “Security 2.0,” which really is what he refers to as a “security ecosystem,” taking into account many different aspects of both human and national security and forming part of what he calls his new paradigm.

The second key aspect of his approach to these problems is his definition of wicked problem. This is an idea that's been around for a while, but there's not a whole lot of agreement on what it means. The definition that he fixes on is” a problem whose causes and consequences are so inextricably intertwined that you can't understand them, let alone cope with them, separately.” If you are going to deal with wicked problems, you need to deal with them in new ways.

He spends quite a bit of time in the book comparing what he refers to as the “old paradigm,” or the way that we have typically dealt with problems, public problems, social problems, economic problems, environmental problems, conflicts in the past, and what he calls his “new paradigm.”

A number of slides here that have side-by-side comparisons of the difference. First off, the old paradigm assumes that problems are linear, which means that they have simple cause-and-effect linkages,  they are framed in terms of good guys and bad guys, and right and wrong.

Another assumption is that they can be broken down into integral parts, so that you can deal with problems one part at a time, and over time you will be able to solve the whole thing. Well, as was clear from the previous slide, this simple cause-and-effect model isn't nearly complex enough, because causes turn into effects, effects turn into causes, and everything interacts and changes rapidly.

In Hauss’s new paradigm, he recognizes that problems are complex. They have multiple causes and multiple effects and they must be addressed as a whole. They must be seen as complex networks that have lots of changing interactions, and therefore they require lots of changing responses, in order to be successfully addressed.

Another comparison is that the old paradigm assumes that people are rational cost-benefit calculators and you can control them by controlling the benefits. So as long as the benefits of an action outweigh the cost, the assumption is that people will go for that action.  The new paradigm realizes that things aren't nearly that simple. There's all sorts of emotional drivers of actions as well as rational ones. There's different ways of understanding reality and framing. There's many, many different factors beyond rational costs and benefits that influence decision-making.

A second difference is that solutions don't come from controlling benefits on alone, but from cooperative action. I will talk more about that too in a minute.

Guy Burgess is a Founder and Co-Director of the University of Colorado Conflict Information Consortium. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and has been working in the conflict resolution field, as a scholar and a practitioner, since 1979. His primary interests involve the study and management of intractable conflicts, public policy dispute resolution, and the dissemination of conflict resolution knowledge over the Internet. He is one of the primary authors and creators of the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflicts, and is the Co-Director of CRInfo -- the Conflict Resolution Information Source. Dr. Burgess has edited and authored a number of books and articles, the most recent being The Encyclopedia of Conflict Resolution (with Heidi Burgess, ABC-Clio 1999). www.beyondintractability.org