Societal Dynamics: Understanding Social Knowledge and Wisdom

Overview

At both a micro-information level and a macro-societal level, the concepts of “knowledge” and “wisdom” are complementary – in both decisions and in social structures and institutions. At the decision level, knowledge is concerned with how to make a proper choice of means, where “best” is measured as the efficiency toward achieving an end. Wisdom is concerned with how to make a proper choice of ends that attain “best” values.
At a societal level, knowledge is managed through ...

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Overview

At both a micro-information level and a macro-societal level, the concepts of “knowledge” and “wisdom” are complementary – in both decisions and in social structures and institutions. At the decision level, knowledge is concerned with how to make a proper choice of means, where “best” is measured as the efficiency toward achieving an end. Wisdom is concerned with how to make a proper choice of ends that attain “best” values.
At a societal level, knowledge is managed through science/technology and innovation. And while science/technology is society's way to create new means with high efficiencies, they reveal nothing about values. Technology can be used for good or for evil, to make the world into a garden or to destroy all life. It is societal wisdom which should influence the choice of proper ends — ends to make the world a garden.
How can society make progress in wisdom as well as knowledge? Historically, the disciplines of the physical sciences and biology have provided scientific foundations for societal knowledge But the social science disciplines of sociology, economics, political science have not provided a similar scientific foundation for societal wisdom. To redress this gap, Frederick Betz examines several cases in recent history that display a fundamental paradox between scientific/technological achievement with devastating social effects (i.e., historical events of ideological dictatorships in Russia, Germany, China, and Yugoslavia). He builds a new framework for applying social science perspectives to explain societal histories and social theory. Emerging from this methodological and empirical investigation is a general topological theory of societal dynamics. This theory and methodology can be used to integrate history and social science toward establishing grounded principles of societal wisdom.

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Meet the Author

Frederick Betz is a Visiting Professor, Nile University, Cairo, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Engineering and Technology, Portland State University. In 2007-8 he was a Visiting Scientist on the Science and Technology Research Council, Turkey, and from 1998 to 2005, he served as a Professor in the Graduate School of Management and Technology Management at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). He has published several books, including Managing Technological Innovation (Wiley, 2/e, 2004), Executive Strategy (Wiley, 2002), Strategic Technology Management (McGraw-Hill), and Managing Science (Springer, 2010). He has published numerous scholarly articles in such journals as Journal of Technology Transfer, Technology Management, and International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 societal wisdom chapter 2 ideology and dictatorship chapter 3 idealsm and realism chapter 4 societal models chapter 5 ethics in society chapter 6 empirical and add the chapter 7 designing society chapter 8 re-designing society chapter 9 reforming society chapter 10 self-organizing systems chapter 11 societal stasis and change chapter 12 methodology for integrating history and social sciences.

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