Occassional thoughts about orienteering
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Long-term thinkingAt work today I was thinking about how much trouble governments have thinking long-term. Governments face short-term v. long-term trade offs all the time. Let's say a budget can afford to maintain a bridge or build a new swimming pool in a park. It is easy to put off maintaining a bridge and build the new pool. Voters and elected officials can see the new pool. But they don't see that maintaining the bridge means it will be in good shape for 20 years instead of 10. But that benefit isn't so obvious, in part because voters and elected officials can't see it. Governments facing this sort of decision typically build too many swimming pools and don't do enough to maintain bridges.
A few months ago I was thinking about long-term thinking and orienteering training. See one entry and another.
Governments try, sometimes, to improve how they make long-term vs. short-term decisions by having more analysis and long-range cost estimates. It doesn't work very well. In part, that's because having a bunch of numbers on a sheet of paper is still so abstract that it doesn't really register among voters and elected officials.
A better way might be for governments to have some people who are paid to advocate for long-term thinking. These people would have the same sheets of paper, but would have the responsibility of making a fuss.
Maybe something similar would work for orienteering training decisions. A club or a national team could have someone who was assigned the job of advocating for long-term thinking.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 8:59 PM
The bridge/swimming pool options do not make sense. If the particular city, state, or country really needs the bridge (if located in a mountainous or riverine area)then they will make sure that it is built.Post a Comment