Would you help an abusive parent get more efficient?

People struggle to understand that unintended side effects that can become the major effects in systems. In particular, making elements of a polluting system like our economic system more efficient may lower pollution locally, but if you make a polluting system more efficient, you pollute more efficiently.

I’m exploring a new way to explain it. Sorry if talking about child abuse is difficult for you, but polluting the environment hurts and kills people, it’s not abstract. I write about it here all the time.

There are many differences between parenting children and stewarding humanity and nature, but consider a parent who was raised to believe that what you consider abusing a child was an appropriate way to show their love. You’d want to help them parent better.

Would you help by helping them do what they do now but more? Would you give them technology to augment their actions abusing their child, which they consider showing more love?

Or would you want to help that parent learn the effects of their actions on the child, and change their strategy, then help them parent better?

If someone is doing something you consider wrong, do you help them do it more?

No, first you lead them to stop doing something you consider wrong, then you help them do what you consider right.

Our system pollutes. Making it pollute more efficiently doesn’t help. First we have to change our values, in order to change the values of the system. Then make the system more efficient.

For example, making cars electric doesn’t change the system, it only makes one element more efficient. Redesign cities for bikes will change the system. Once you’ve made your city friendly to pedestrians, then start innovating.

I recommend stop chasing efficiency and start changing your values and actions.


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