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April 05, 2008

A. Stafford Beer and Project Cybersyn

Stafford Beer,  a systems thinking advocate and pioneer and a close friend and colleague of Russell Ackoff over the years and stemming from their roots in Operations Research from which they both progressed their own paths, attempted, in his words, to "implant" an electronic "nervous system" in Chilean society. Voters, workplaces and the government were to be linked together by a new, interactive national communications network, which would transform their relationship into something profoundly
more equal and responsive than before - a sort of socialist Internet, decades ahead of its time.

Recently, an article was published in New York Times detailing the "Chilean" experiment conducted by Stafford Beer and his colleague for the Allende administration. To read the article click on the following URL: Before '73 coup, Chile tried to find the right software for socialism

Posted by ACASA on April 5, 2008 at 11:24 AM in Interesting | Permalink


Thanks for a very interesting read. Several things came off as a little incongruous to me, though. The first was calling Allende's government abortive, which I don't think is apropos for a government that was overthrown by a coup. Secondly, saying that Allende "died" the afternoon of the coup seems a bit disingenuous. I believe "was murdered" would be more appropriate. Finally, I found it sadly ironic the lead-in to the article was sponsored by AT&T, one of the companies known to have supported and sponsored the coup that brought Generalissimo Augusto Pinochet to power and ended Chile's grand experiment with Democratic Socialism.

Nevertheless, I found Stafford Beer's prescience absolutely amazing. I also found it ironic and unfortunate that the signal event touted for Cybersyn was, in Allende's Socialist economy, the breaking of a strike. If it had been funded by the CIA, AT&T, Anaconda, and the far right in Chile, it would be more understandable, but that isn't made clear in the article.

Posted by: Rick Ladd at May 5, 2008 10:22:17 PM

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