Regional Article 9: Systemic Development of Industries in a Nation. What would that look like?

Is there such a thing as systemic development of industries?  We can tell what systematic is.  Yes?

But what about systemic development of industries?

Let us take a context.

Let us say we wish to see the industry of dairy production grow within the country.

What needs to happen that would enable the sustained development of this industry.  Now

Milk and cooky

Milk and cooky (Photo credit: Salim Virji)

notice two things:

The first, notice I did not say a dairy company but rather I referred to the industry.  This means it has effects on the nation .  That means more dairy companies are  likely to succeed better as a result the industry is growing.  When we take care of ‘the whole’, ‘the whole’ takes care of the parts.

The second, when we say it is successful, in this work, we would need to define it.  We would expect to see the following happen:

  1. Levels of production rises consistently over time (it rises persistently and resists or buffers itself against significant downfalls) given populations are rising
  2. As such levels of revenue rises  consistently over time
  3. Levels of costs per unit production declines  consistently over time

Yes?  Is that how you see it too?  These are what I meant by the systemic development of dairy production in the county.

Growth of the Dairy Industry (for the Country)

Therefore, what needs to happen for all the above to happen for dairy production?

Well …..

Holstein dairy cows from http://www.ars.usda.g...

Image via Wikipedia

Dairy or milk comes from cow.  So, to see dairy production grow in the country, while anything else may or may not happen, we cannot expect it to grow without first also seeing the growth of the number of dairy cows produced within the country.

On the other hand, should we see a decline of the number of these cows (because we sell the cows so that we may pay school fees), then we can also expect to see a decline in the level of dairy milk produced in the country.

What do you notice by these discussions?  Is this line of thinking the same as systematic thinking?

Did you say, no?  Well, you are right!

So here’s the next question, what would make sure the systemic development of the dairy cow industry grows within the county?

Growth of the Dairy Cow Industry

You know the drill now!

What do cows (anywhere) need?

Fodder?  Meaning, that the level of fodder produced needs to grow so that we are able to produce more dairy cows.  Usually we do it the other way around!  We say well, there is not enough (supply, given demand for) fodder.  The market says that the demand is growing and then, it (the market) tries to scramble to ‘close the gap’.

When demand drives supply, that’s a sign of non-systemic development of the nation.   But in a systemic relationship it is the supply that leads demand.  Notice it does not drive it.  It facilitates.  It just makes it easier.  It respects the order in which causality happen.

English: Distributing TMR (Total Mixed Ration)...

Image via Wikipedia

So, therefore before we expect to see the number of dairy cows grow in the country, we should first expect  to see the number of companies that produce fodder grow within the country.  This needs to happen before anything else does, almost to a fault.

When that industry grows (production levels rise at lower units costs), the amount of fodder available in the country also grows.  Therefore, as a result, it will not become difficult for the cows to “eat and go forth and multiply“.  And when it does, the dairy production levels in the country would naturally increase. This happens even without needing the government to take actions to intervene.  This will also add up to lower costs in running the government.

What’s the next question?

Did you say, what would it take for the fodder industry to grow over time?  You are right!  Now we can see, you’ve got the drill.

Growth of the Fodder Industry

Where does fodder come from?

You are right.  Crops!  Fodder is often the by-product or the remnants of crops once humans have used it for their consumption.

English: Fodder crop

Image via Wikipedia

So what are we saying here?  For dairy production to grow within the county, we need to first see the growth of crops produced in the country, grow as an industry.  When that does not happen, and should it instead decline, then the fodder industry declines, which in turn leads to dairy cow production declining which in turn reduces dairy production or makes it difficult to take off for the country.

So what causes crop production to grow in the country?

Which one of the following, in your view, when it is available makes it easier for crop production to grow?  Which of the following would we need to see available?:

  • Land
  • Water
  • Seeds
  • Fertilizer or
  • Is would it be the willingness of people to grow crops for cattle?

Growth of the Crop Industry

However should crop production be the primary domain of the female gender in the country, that is, she decides when, how much and what crops to grow, it is possible she may not be willing to grow crops for cattle.  This is because her primary focus and need is to grow crops to put food on her table, for her children!  Not for the world!  And certainly not for the cattle.

So, therefore which gender do you think should become involved in crop production, so that dairy production would grow in the country?

Should it be led by the mind of man or the mind of a woman who should lead this effort?   Does it differ or not at all?

The mind of the man is typically designed to ‘feed the world’.  There are exceptions, but always look at the rule.  The mind of the woman is there to help nurture (of feed) her child (not the child of another woman!)  Do not fight that or we risk not having mothers for our children.

Who therefore do you think cannot absolve himself from crop production for the county?

Rice production in China

Image via Wikipedia

When the man becomes involved in crop production, we would now be able to feed milk to our children (including the children of the women who did not wish to grow crops for the cattle).  Also, men, unlike women, will inherently (even if it is just sheer strength in their muscles) to till, sow for multiple seasons and harvest larger expanses of land.  This situation is there in the likes of China, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, South America for generations, where production of crops is the domain of the male gender.  This has also has a positive impact on the water cycle .   This means that as more amounts of the land is fertile for crops, such lands in turn encourages more frequent levels of rainfall for the country.

Is the amount of land, water, seeds, fertilizer available therefore consequential in the story.  It really is not.   It becomes consequential when I focus on  my company.  But not from a systemic development of industries and the nation.

So if I focused on changing things that are happening in my company, would that be enough to turn things around for the nation?  The parts separately cannot take care of “the whole”.

Hmm …. what would we have to do differently today so that we as men, women and children can see these together as a nation?

Regional Article 1: The Vegetation We Choose to Plant Can Cause Droughts. Are we our own worst enemies?

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The Ministry of Agriculture is noticing the following situation (Case 1, Case 2, Case 3).

We pray for the rains to come.  And they do, eventually.  Often when we are at our most desperate.  Sometimes they do not.  It is possible someone out there is praying for rains not to come.  There are inconveniences the weather brings with it.  The floods, waters enter homes, the mud, the humidity, the sheer wetness, the leaking roofs, laundrys do not dry up, the house feels musty, lost businesses on the street, and so on. Of course, those who plant crops want to see rains.

What if it drizzled everyday?  What would we say?

The nature of water cycles is such that the less we rains we receive over time, the less the rains that come back to us with time and space.

We learned in school about the water cycle.  What we did not realize is, these cycles have a tendency to grow either positively or negatively with each iteration.  They do not remain the same over time.   This point was not made clear to us in our science and geography classrooms.

History and the reality today:

For the past forty years, the country finds it is not easy to meet its food production targets much less shake off its dependency on importing food from our neighbors.  This is particularly so in areas where raw materials produced in the country (e.g. milk, vegetables, grains, potatoes) for the processing of foods (e.g. for tomato sauce, cheese, pesto) continues to face production shortages.

Current Strategy:

Each year, the government assists the population gear up to produce so that farmers may place food on their tables (food security which included having enough food for guests at funerals and weddings when the village descended on the events) as well as cash money from the sales of their produce in their pockets.  Despite these efforts, we are not able to produce enough to meet the national consumption needs.  Consumption (the hands that eat) has been and continues to exceed the level of the country’s ability to produce (the hands that produce).  This story resonates for production of most raw materials across the country.

Seeing Complexity:

In my effort to understand the behaviour of agricultural production in the country, we examined historical annualized data that would allow us to see the behavior of production patterns of crops across the country.  To do so, the Ministry, collected a twelve-year data of typical variety of  crops produced  within the country.

When the data came through, we noticed a rather unusual behavior over time of the graphs.  This was something most people had not noticed previously.

There was a tendency for one type of crop to show a distinct increase in production levels over the years.  The graph showed the crop resisted droughts better and was increasingly successful over time at doing so.  Over time the peaks peaked higher.

This suggested that today compared to ten or thirty years ago, the levels of the crop produced had risen, sometimes by as much as six to ten folds high even if that included farmers finding alternative lands to produce the corps.  This meant the crop had found new lands and hands even as old lands and hands had become barren; often at commercial levels and driven and supported by research efforts to use seeds that had even higher levels of resistance to droughts.

Conversely, we noticed another type of crop  produced in the country showed a steady decline.  It required more water for its survival.  It was becoming less successful over time.  The troughs in the pattern digged deeper troughs each time.

So which one in your view was rising and which one was declining?

The one that was rising was sorghum and the one that was declining was maize.

I was concurrently observing data on rainfall levels recorded for the past fifty years for the country.  In general, rainfall levels declined steadily across many parts of the country, particularly in the western, central, northern and southern parts of the country.  Where the pattern showed a distinct difference was in the extreme eastern parts of the country.

Do the results surprise you?  We say in this work, statistics may lie.  But trends do not know how to lie.

Which archetype do you think created the pattern that we saw above:

Understanding Complexity: What is causing it?

As these trends were unfolding, the Ministry was also resorting to choosing variants of maize that were hardier and more resistant to survive bouts of lower rainfall.  This would mean, the seeds were able to grow into plants in the likes of sorghum, wheat, oats, barley and hybrid versions of maize without requiring a lot of water for its survival and at a shorter maturing period.

Are these patterns and outcomes a coincident?  Is there a reason behind the behaviour of these graphs?

Think cactus.  Cactus is the ultimate form of a drought-resistant plant.  Yet, when we crack open a cactus what do you see?  Water.  Right?  The nature of water is to flow rather than stagnate.

The more there are deserts, the more there are cacti.  This is what strikes us when we first drive past a desert.  Seeing cactus survive in a desert is a part of the story.  They are sometimes held up as stories of our triumphs against odds.  The reverse is also true.  The more the cacti survive (just like when we as humans believe that we can beat the odds and overcome the challenges of desert living and that gives us a sense of achievement in) the deserts, the more the deserts are likely to also grow further.

Eventually the cacti (and us) may not survive the desert.   At first the deserts would look like they are semi-arid.  Over time, they become a true desert.  And then ravines and canyons.  How did that change happen?

So what could happen next should we continue to increase sorghum production?

What’s leading that thinking?

Think the word ‘food security’.  Is the thought based on a sense of belief in oneself (as a farmer) and the land or is a thought or belief based on our fears of failure and survival of the self?  Can a farmer who fears his hands may not grow enough food for all, be able to grow them in abundance?  Or is he likely to produce just enough for himself?

What should the nation do?

Which nations in the world share a similar story to this?   Where are they located?  What percentage of the world do they make up across the globe?  In what ways, do you think they may have an impact on the behavior of the weather over time?  So are our efforts at agriculture production really thwarted by global warming or is it the making of our own actions in our own backyards?


Do these patterns occur by accident or could they be systemic?  Given they have remained persistent for the past thirty years over wide spans of land, they assume a systemic nature!


  1. What do these patterns mean? What is causing such patterns to behave the way they do? The peaks to peak higher and the troughs to dig deeper?
  2. What are the implications should these patterns continue the way they do ten, twenty, thirty years into the future?
  3. What would need to happen to reverse the situation?  The choice depends on you!

Course Work:

  1. If we could use the above to understand the story of poverty, what would we see?
  2. How would one draw that systemic archetype?
  3. What continues to happen or build for the long-term should the archetype not be healed and continued to persist?
  4. What would need to happen to reverse the situation?

More notes here:

Leave your reactions and comments here.  Will be greatly appreciated.