by Bill Everett
About four decades ago, an early member of the Club of Rome used "a 'wagon-train model' of pioneers moving into unknown country...to illuminate the collective cybernetics of social goal-seeking and social change."  At that time, we discussed roles in an expanded version of the model: scouts fanning out ahead of the wagon train and exploring the "near-future" territory, pathfinders dispatched toward one or more desirable immediate objectives based on scouting reports, road-builders and pioneering engineers dispatched along the selected path to "smooth" the way and overcome obstacles, and so on.
We can suppose that the country of the "future" is not totally unknown. Explorers have reported the existence of very distant "valleys of sustainability" and also the dangerous (possibly uninhabitable) regions in the near vicinity. Further, let's suppose we have formed a wagon train and plan to try to reach one of the distant valleys of sustainability to settle there. We have a sort of model (simile or metaphor) to guide us in "organizing" the different specialists or roles that are needed for our wagon train to have some chance of getting there from here.
Projecting this model into the past, we can suppose that we found bodies of water and waterways and that we converted our wagons into rafts or boats, finding the water path easier. But the current in our river of history has been speeding up. I have a strong feeling that there are rapids ahead, quite likely with dangerous white water. The banks of the river now seem too high and steep, and the landing places where we could land our rafts and boats, converting them back into wagons, seem to have been left behind. We may already be committed to trying to make our way through the rapids and survive the white water.
In terms of the "emergency war-footing approach," in the very little time remaining before we hit the rapids, we need to develop, test, and practice the necessary rapid communication channels and the appropriate actions to have at least some control over the "attitude" of our carrier in the turbulent section.
1. John Platt, "How men can shape their future," Futures, March 1971, pp. 32-47, deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/33689/1/0000201.pdf
2. Ian Dunlop, "Presentation UN New York - 16th April 2013," http://www.clubofrome.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Ian-Dunlop-Presentation-UN-New-York-16th-April-2013.pdf