Arguing that society has pursued short-run approaches to decision-making that in the long term are counterproductive, On Systemic Balance presents a multidimensional and interdisciplinary alternative to problem solving. The usual method of dealing with problems such as housing shortages and environmental protection is a narrow, simplistic, quick, and intrusive solution. This type of solution ultimately igres the many interrelationships within a system. The long term effect is imbalance and destabilization. The author reinforces his argument with ecomic and environmental examples. He then introduces alternative approaches to decision making and applies them to several settings. By stressing slow incremental intrusions, regard for interrelationships, and longer term balance, the author suggests that we might redefine problems more appropriately, develop less harmful and more enduring solutions, and provide a more stable environment. Goldberg maintains that we cant truly predict the consequences of our actions, particularly large-scale actions taken over a short period of time. He presents his argument first by equipping the reader with a set of multidisciplinary tools and second by demonstrating the poor results of our present decision-making style. He then introduces an alternative approach which borrows from biology, ecomics, management, and anthropology and applies it to three distinct settings.
MICHAEL A. GOLDBERG is the Herbert R. Fullerton Professor of Urban Land Policy at the University of British Columbia. Engaged in urban and regional research for 25 years, he is the author of numerous works, including The Future of North American Housing Markets and Urban Land Economics, and The Myth of The North American City, and The Chinese Connection.