Resources – Rethink in Iraq

by Joachim Hallams on December 26, 2012

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As in any post war conflict country, resource/waste management is a task that requires systematic and long term thinking and is not always best managed by profit seeking corporations though good exceptions to that rule exists and many more will come.

When changing a mindset of a whole nation towards resource use, one must obviously start with the root of the issue. Most people argue that there are many different aspects of the personal view that interact in order to form an opinion.

I argue that it´s the single set of prevailing social norms that oppresses mans´ search for order and structure. The social norm, flawed or not, is most often reaffirmed when conveyed in a socially uniform context where few incentives exists to change.

So how how does one achieve change in a society where success is measured in powerfulness, and powerfulness is measured in the amount of equally colored Land Cruisers or Nissan Patrol in a row on the highway on your way to the supermarket or a business meeting? Well, some would say ”in the same way it became the measuring unit in the first place”. Lets look at natural sciences for an answer.

By creating attractors in space time continuum change and evolution is attained. Is that a fact? Yes. In science we talk about attractors that by way of interaction with other entities evolve by way of integration and inheritance. This is the case also in social systems.

When reviewing some of the less obscure post war social, commercial and governmental processes in Iraq one cannot deny that government has played a very influential role in shaping society in a ”brute force change model” manner. Amongst people, being extremely tired of conflict and only desiring improved living conditions, it would seem an easy task to provide societal development. That is of course not never the case. Utilizing the free market forces to rebuild a whole country or region is not something that would happen without mistakes and injustices occurring. Though the very same mechanisms residing within government governance and consumer market forces will change the social norms in a secular new capitalistic society. Where smart, powerful and modern thinking about the society and its resources (people, technology, natural resources, processes) will be the true sign of achievement, honor and greatness. These attractors will need to be installed in all parts of society under the jointly shared societal norm taking responsibility for the future generations.

So also this time round, government and its change agents will play a decisive role in evolution, because, there are several individuals and officials that think strategically and long term and wholeheartedly for the benefit of the country and region. Should the government jump start the change and the people will assign different value to their and the country´s resources?

Yes, that is being done already but without strategic coordination, pervasive structure and enforcement.

Looking at the Waste Management case in Iraq, one could start by lobbying for master plan inclusion of a) monetary incentives for resource management of complete cycle systems, b) consumer and commercial resource recycle and resource reuse incentives, c) free advertising space and airtime for Green & Clean Technology ventures, d) ratifying relevant international treaties and mechanisms, e) setup´s of Green Tech and Clean Tech incubators and science parks, f) implementing legislation that all public buildings shall be rebuild or newly build and be completely self sustaining closed systems from a resource and security point of view and that every new building must be build to comply with strict energy consumption restrictions, g) allow primarily young people to purchase an apartment, at a reduced price and a superior mortgage plan, in ”Green” apartment buildings that are highly equipped with state of the art technologies and knowledge access.

Well in order to achieve the previous sample goals, a strategic roadmap and development must be reconciled and widely communicated to the public in order to gather and conjoin the positive forces in private and public sectors and to setup the initial important attractors.

The slogan ”the change starts with you” is as relevant as at was when first conceived. Though without a counterpart and partnership with society and government such change will take longer time to achieve and require more dramatic methods from consumers.

Even if the social norm was changed by way of the “well known” brute force change model, I would find it very unlikely that any group would go out in the streets with the intent to destroy or to create havoc due to the fact that the refutes from households, hospitals, factories, and public administrative offices were recycled, reused and reduced and that people had better terms for acquiring apartments than before, that public spending was made more efficient, that more people became rich, that the general standard of living for people had increased, or even more absurd, that it would create political turmoil due to the improved environment that people live in.

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About Joachim Hallams :

Strategy Consultant with experience from global project management, business strategy formulation, venture capital acquisition, business modelling, e-strategy formulation,system development, supplier adoption, quality standards expertise in management consulting and entrepreneurship.

Currently Partner and Director of Bearing Consulting Iraq Ltd. Previous companies: Coopers & Lybrand, Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Brennan, Synestesi Technologies, marchFIRST, Mobilico, Global Trust Center Group.

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