Policy resistance comes from actors adjusting their actions against system corrections.

They monitor system state against their goals, and pivot behavior upon finding a difference. This creates a homeostatis that no parts of the system want. Anyone’s effort slipping mean their goals do too. Anyone’s increased efforts necessitate everyone else’s efforts also increasing (“ratcheting”). To solve, one actor can overpower the others, at the risk of resentment from other components and danger that they catch up; give up and stop ratcheting bad policies; or rally the subcomponents around a new goal that enables their coöperation rather than fighting.rM3


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