Eroding goals moves the goal down against pessimistic views.

This creates a race to the bottom as decline is expected, so declines are not resisted, reinforcing pessimism, moving the goal further down, and so on. Regular balancing feedback loops are in place, but the involved actors believe things are worse than they are which constitutes a reinforce feedback loop that overwhelms the balances. Solutions are to make absolute and unslippable standards, or train the reinforcing loop to pursue the system’s best performance rather than worse to instead create a positive escalation.rM3

  1. Donella H. Meadows and Diana Wright, Thinking in Systems: A Primer (White River Junction, Vt: Chelsea Green Pub, 2008). (See notes.)