Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Long-term thinking


At 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
March 2002April 2002May 2002June 2002July 2002August 2002September 2002October 2002November 2002December 2002January 2003February 2003March 2003April 2003May 2003June 2003July 2003August 2003September 2003October 2003November 2003December 2003January 2004February 2004March 2004April 2004May 2004June 2004July 2004August 2004September 2004October 2004November 2004December 2004January 2005February 2005March 2005April 2005May 2005June 2005July 2005August 2005September 2005October 2005November 2005December 2005January 2006February 2006March 2006April 2006May 2006June 2006July 2006August 2006September 2006October 2006November 2006December 2006January 2007February 2007March 2007April 2007May 2007June 2007July 2007August 2007September 2007October 2007November 2007December 2007January 2008February 2008March 2008April 2008May 2008June 2008July 2008August 2008September 2008October 2008November 2008December 2008January 2009February 2009March 2009April 2009May 2009June 2009July 2009August 2009September 2009October 2009November 2009December 2009January 2010February 2010March 2010April 2010May 2010June 2010July 2010August 2010September 2010October 2010November 2010December 2010January 2011February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013July 2013September 2013