Projecting in Society
Basic Olicognograph: Projet Design & Assessment
Whatever the social level(s), perspective of policies, focus or adress of any project, we can basically conceive the social extension of any entreprise from the crude contain of it up to the largest pratical diffusion it can have considering interest, effects, concern and involvement , more or less proactive, of actors in its transformations, processes and so on. Compromise not just for passive and detached purpose or only because there is a crude financial interest, a benefit but reasons why things are and ought to be made, individually but in the society, collectively or socially.
You can conceive society as collections of actors with some common units of concern. Actors are humans, animals or botanical live beings, interacting complex systems sharing and also with different purpose, goals, strategies and tactics. Procedures, processes, pathways to solutions or defined heuristics have to be clear or enough understood and; aware of complexity, obliged by some sense of confusion, gross similarities and discrepancies made by diversities. Complexities integrate societies' within and between analogies, cooperation, competition, partnerships and discrepancies, in a shared universe with the interaction of sources of changes, inputs and outputs. Universe is where analytical and operating management phenomenologies take place and create effective causal relations and where transformations are operated and ordered.
It makes that, formally we have both to manage plenty of issues in social projects, commonly suggested by mental frames (as far as possible with plenty of scientific contains), dispose means of transformations, apply economic methods of management, articulate more or less articulated pieces of determinism, care of probabilities and undeterminisms, have willingness to cope with risks and with complex situations. Picking all that from many different registers, different types of resources and so so, to be effective, sustainably distributed in such complexities, do and show how sense of freedom can find issues better to everyone.
With social projects, when any sort of human transformations, sooner or later project effects qualify in different ways, balance contradictory things. So plan or project in short abstracts appear as a summary of recommandations; can be interpretated in many ways and eventually waste time in ambitious reductions, seeking unique symbolic agreement meanwhile missing of sense purpose and of the opportunities existing in reality.
Speaking of social project may simply mean to involve, in the making and/or the distribution of its products to the maximum of concerned population. They should be assigned a degree of marginal contribution to the project as simple as an honnest distribution. But there is also the economics of the projects and especially because they can carry false (imagined) (un)limits in the involvement, meanwhile social distribution needs to lead a sense of economy in its costs, the adverse effects and the economy; while not to put it out social universe. Then there is the blurred borders between society, common and private entreprise; whatever are the reasons between: property rights, responsibilities, justice and rewards, coherence of society, etc.
Now with complexity of effects the difficulty is to formalize, direct and indirect consistent benefit and adverse effects, externalities and imperfections. Complexity makes general reductions poor as sophisticated could be the "analysis". A social project may worth more if it includes overall satisfaction and large social positive dynamics (not pretend it). It is practically very difficult to know, just after the end of the implementation of a project, the best pathways to optimum social effects: it is related both to essential values (moral ones as best economical optima) and path-depending ones.
"Social choice theorists in Condorcet's and Borda's tradition are idealistic electoral reformers in at least two respects. First, they propose certain ideals with respect to the information we should collect from voters in a balloting procedure. Second, they propose certain ideals with respect to how we should aggregate that information in a involving procedure, so as to make a decision. A fully fledged voting procedure consists of both a balloting procedure and an aggregation procedure".
May's (1952) classical theorem states that, in social decisions between two options, simple majority rule, uniquely among all aggregation procedures, satisfies the four normatively appealing conditions of being: 1) Open to all inputs (universal domain); 2) Not biased in favor of any particular voter (anonymity); 3) Not biased in favor of any particular outcome (neutrality); and 4) Positively responsive to people's votes (if one or more voters change their votes in favor of one option and no others change theirs, then the social decision does not change in the opposite direction; and if the outcome was a tie before the change, then the tie is broken in the direction of the change)".
Practically also see that "Strategic Plans: For strategic plans to be effective, it is essential to develop: • clear result-oriented objectives, stated in measurable terms; • identify activities required to accomplish the objectives; • assign specific responsibilities to appropriate personnel; • estimate the time required to accomplish activities; • determine resources required to accomplish the activities; and • communicate and coordinate the above elements and complete the action plan".
Prices of Reference
In Project design and analyis, prices would be the parameters carrying the value. To compare a situation will consist then in comparing practical desing of a projet to prices and costs of reference define by common technical possibilities and standard costs of activities and component "around" provided by standards and/or policies on one side and situation on the other. This should be made as soon as possible since inertia of many project and manipulation can inflate cost and once the project as been engage it turn very expansive to stop it, despite "revealed" unsustainable.
Once you have a ground and underground of data for calculating prices of reference with broad perspective as provided and reach to establish, adjust data to some coherence in space, time, scale of quantities, similarities of concepts and so on; you have probably to design a system of adjustment of prices or values according some adjsted weight, easy to have on a universal basis (the same dimensions as mentioned: space, connectivity, tradability (and tracebility) so as to adjust the values of reference, specify them on easy to caculate criteria then compare them to direct estimates locally made, the difference can give you an idea of costs of opportunity, fairness of local costs, costs of transactions, social opportunity and 'shadow' policies' values.
After then you will define pratical local issues concerning your project, how socially you will manage it and adapt budgets amounts (quantities, sums) and policies to its implementation. Take like a structure of costs and apply adapt qualitatively or quantitatively some weights relevant to you situation and still consistent to basic physical possibilities, hence margins of thermodynamics properties. There is probably to consider the core costs of the project, minimum to fulfill some technical goal making it can operate. Then a margin, not with an exact border, making the society.
This can imply to use same data for structural coefficients, eventually rediscover some that could have been used to make the estimate (as practical technical coefficient) then with honnest minded calculus you have prices of reference. Try to match them too with local sense of value. People, communities where the projects takes place may adapt but still give value to your project, value expressed by the sustainability they will provide.
Having defined prices of reference, shadow prices, and so on with plenty of different techniques as models of general equilibrium (too affected in our opinion by idealistic assumptions), international price (can well too distorting local sense of values and create humane disasters), statistical methods of estimators (likelihood, bayesian, differential assumptions as least square methods) normative social values provided by a social Agency there is also the microlevel of enquiry, on one side design the project, by engineers and cost values, and including collection of prices.
Of course there we could have abused of concept about "infinitesimal calculus" and use scales of pieces with simple linear adjustement, rather than more "theoretically apropriated" non linear relations of costs. Also contrary to the determinist, theoretic we have use quite easilly the ressource of confusion (philosophically allowed we think because in a sort of same globalizing, materialistic and same physics world, this is how world proceed).
There are also the estimates, projection and re(calibration) you would like to use. It is there that common global deflators could be used, like power purchase parity, index of world prices (as in The Economist), and so on. Also there you can use comparative studies like existing between continents. Finally mind that actually our tables are actually just a first draft. Other adjustments are to expect, especially concerning care for ecological and social sustainability (even if all that will stay very empirical. But we have also in mind to explore some way to reweights, to suggest how to adjust for caring networks, territoriality, and so on, of basic dimensions).