Wednesday 1 February 2023

Every change for the worse

It was in the 1990s that I first noticed - working for the National Health Service, active as a scientist, and teaching in a University - that every single change that was actually implemented always made things worse. 

It took me a while to notice; because I was pretty heavily involved in policy discussions - through academic papers, journalism, and talking on radio and TV. 

And at that time, the discussions were still quite interesting and wide-ranging; and it was possible to be honest and to have clear debates about most things. 

But, after a while, I realized that these discussions made no difference at all. No matter if proper motivations, good sense and practicality had more evidence to support them, the better arguments and won the debates; nonetheless the policies that emanated from government and via central management of large organizations and got implemented, were always bad.  

It soon emerged that whatever the central administration of the NHS, science policy, or university did, whatever changes they actually made; was always for the worse. 

A particular proposed-badness might lead to opposition and be stopped - but there would soon be something-else bad that did happen. 

Deleterious changes soon began to accumulate - badness building-upon badness, badness permeating the institution, badness taking-over all functions. 

Always bad, never good; always change for the worse - never for better. 

This is so obvious nowadays, that it is hard to remember that it was not always the case; and that at first people simply would not believe it. Especially in the universities; there was a very strong desire to 'give the benefit of the doubt' to leaders and bosses, to assume that policies were well-meaning and might be good. 

(Doctors were more skeptical, in those days.) 

It was regarded as nasty and cynical for me to assume that whatever it was that They wanted to do, and whatever Their reasons and arguments in its favour; it was sure to be harmful in practice.

Conversely; if an idea was good, and would make things better; then you could be equally-sure that it would not happen.   

But nowadays there are not even good discussions, real debates or positive ideas - the whole discourse has been corrupted so that 'controversy' consists only of competing bad ideas. 

Or else any good-ish ideas permitted into the discourse are so insignificantly minor as to be guaranteed to be disregarded and ineffectual in face of the trends of the larger systems. 

When only bad ideas are permitted into discourse and when bad policies are the only ones that happen; one might suppose that the inference would be obvious - undeniable! - that The System was purposively bad, that the leadership class was motivated to do harm. 

I would have thought it obvious that any other cause than deliberate evil would sometimes lead to good outcomes. Surely; when the change is always in the same direction; the causes cannot be random; and an only-adverse trend cannot be due to accidental errors or incompetence. 

Randomness and incompetence would err in both directions: only a powerful, indeed dominating, controlling-purpose can ensure that, over time, change is always for the worse.  

Yet there are still plenty of people, and a clear majority of the intellectual middle classes, who would deny that every change is for the worse, and every high level policy is designed to harm. 

Even among those of a skeptical mindset, the idea that the leadership class are deliberately imposing harm is something that is resisted very strongly indeed, regardless of the evidence. 

What confuses such people is that, while change is always for the worse; that worseness can be of various and contradictory types. While bad change always benefits somebody, that somebody seems to vary - and changes benefits first group A, then group B, and then harms both groups A and B... 

A great deal of words are expended on trying to discover a single group of human beings who always benefits from all of the always-worse changes; but there is no clear and simple answer. Such a group can only be argued on the basis of highly-complex and hyper-flexible, un-disproveable, theories that do not advance understanding or prediction.

The clear and simple answer is that the single group that always benefit from all of the always-worse changes is not human but demonic; and therefore operating on the basis of a negative agenda directed against divine creation, and against the salvation of Men. 

This group manipulates and plays-off various groups of human beings; favouring sometimes one and sometimes another - with no consistency or coherence...

Because there is no need for consistency and coherence so long as creation is being destroyed and Men are being damned. 

So, my retrospective understanding of the 1990s was that this was when the demonic over-rulers began to dominate global, national and institutional change throughout most of the world. 

And this was why the only change permitted to happen was adverse. 

And it was the beginning of the present era when all large scale policies and discourse are always designed to harm that which is Good. 


Mike Bryant said...

A few years back I worked for an NHS ambulance service which due to constant bad performance was merged with another ambulance service our directors were sacked and for the one year before we merged we had no directors and guess what we ended up being the second best performing ambulance service in the country of course once normal service was resumed we carried on down the tubes, this just backs up uhat you said Bruce every action these directors took was always for the worse any money saving plans always ended up costing us more.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I agree with your overall point, but I don't think it's true that "randomness and incompetence would err in both directions." Any random change to a complex system (e.g. a genetic mutation) is overwhelmingly likely to be harmful, and I can't think of any examples of things being improved by incompetence.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - Well, I believe I am correct on this. If you consider it one decision at a time, when many decisions have a yes-no structure; then to get it wrong every time requires malice. A coin toss or somebody operating on insufficient knowledge would at least *sometimes* get it right.