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In pursuit of a universal \'positivism\'

Mohammad Asaduzzaman Chowdhury | Published: December 11, 2016 20:31:36 | Updated: October 22, 2017 13:15:30


At the first glance, most people are both pessimistic and optimistic regarding certain aspects of their lives. Any human personality can be judged by a simple test by asking whether a glass is half-empty or half-full. If the reply is 'half-empty', the person is considered pessimistic. If a person says that the glass is half-full, such person is considered optimistic. Before the US presidential election, most people around the world considered President-elect Donald J. Trump a 'negative' personality regardless of the numerous American viewpoints in his support. In case of Hillary Clinton, public opinions had been quite the opposite. However, it is difficult to judge who is right and who is wrong. Indeed, time is the best answer to this universal question. In fact, people's choice or taste may change with time and situation. Before the US election, Donald Trump claimed that as a successful businessperson he would make a successful President. Now President-elect, Trump often floats the idea that he would leave his business empire and devote full-time in the job of the President.
Likewise, Lech Waelsa is a former labour activist from Poland who co-founded Solidarity - erstwhile Communist Bloc's first independent trade union. Once a charismatic leader for millions of Polish workers, Wa??sa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and became the first president of post-Communist Poland in 1990. In 1995, he founded Lech Waelssa Institute - a think-tank with a mission "to popularise the achievements of his Solidarity movement, educate the young generation, promote democracy, and build a civil society in Poland and abroad". In 1997, he founded a new party called Christian Democracy of the 3rd Polish Republic hoping it would help him run successfully in future elections. In the 2000 presidential election he met with a crushing defeat; he secured only 1.01 per cent of the votes. Surprisingly, a former Communist named Aleksander Kwa?niewski was re-elected with 54 per cent of the vote. Waelsa announced his withdrawal from Polish politics in utter humiliation.
In this regard, Alderfer Clayton's Existence, Relatedness and Growth (ERG) Model can be applied to assess the socio-political developments across the globe. According to this theory, people's perceptions about a particular situation may scale upward from zero to infinity. And it may slump from the highest level to the lowest. Individual thoughts and needs may change with time and situation. Initially, people may think about a 'conflict' - as seen in most cases. However, people may discover positivism behind the word conflict. Besides, a conflict may arise in different forms such as intrapersonal, interpersonal and inter-group levels. At present, most managers at different organisations consume 20 per cent of their time dealing with conflicts. 
 Ironically, Europe caught in a stalemate between the United States and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) enjoyed its longest period of peace in recorded history. The Soviets and Americans differed in their views on economics, politics, social organisations, religion and the role of the individual since 1917. Due to this ideological conflict, the balance of power prevailed in the world and such equilibrium of power used to mitigate the critical and complicated situations. Since the end of the Cold War, the world has witnessed a radical change. Nowadays, constructive conflicts between world leaders determine factors like globalisation, technological change, climate change and sustainable development. 
Apparently, the world adopts viable solutions to the problems as well as strategies in line with the different points of view once it recognises a conflict. At present, the international community is engaged in another global conflict with a handful of developed and industrialised economies trying to enforce their supremacy over countries with political or military power. In fact, economic supremacy is slowly diminishing the role of political and military strength. Problems can arise through the exposure to such conflicts. As a result, numerous think-tanks like the Conflict Research Society, Institute for Conflict Research, Conflict Analysis Research Centre at the University of Kent, Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research, and Center for Applied Research on Conflict are working to develop and promote practical approaches to transform violent ethno-political conflicts in peaceful ways.
Meanwhile, the concept of Change correlates with the issue of "perpetuation and self-renewal" which is a component of Peter Drucker's Principles of Organising. B. F. Skinner's Reinforcement Theory of Motivation also explains the notion of 'change'. The principle of perpetuation and self-renewal emphasises that organisations should make a person capable of constant renewal. The adaptation to technological change, all-inclusive development of the employees through rigorous training and evaluation, acceptance of new ideas and farsightedness are necessary approaches to the sustainability of an organisation. To survive in a free market economy, it is better to throw out the weeds and plant new seeds! Moreover, research and development (R&D) is equally important for keeping a product demand steady in the realm of a product life cycle (PLC) - the principle of change to enrich the world. The reinforcement theory slightly differs from the perpetuation and self-renewal approach suggesting how the behaviour of a person could be changed. Actually, this is a behaviour modification theory.
There was a time when Bangladesh was largely dependent on World Bank for its economic development. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina created history when she decided to construct Padma Bridge without financial assistance from the World Bank following a row with the Bank. This might be considered a change in receptivity of inner strength. Confidently, the Prime Minister said, "Bangladesh wants to show the world that the country has acquired the capacity to implement any dream project." Such declaration has apparently boosted the morale of the people. Bangladesh has also made a remarkable success in decreasing the number of people living in poverty by almost half. The world appreciates Bangladesh's socio-economic and scientific innovations. Recently, the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim expressed his eagerness to work with Bangladesh to promote the country's private sector investment by strengthening governance and improving the investment climate. Nevertheless, there are more things to do - increasing investment in infrastructure, human development, and climate change solutions.
Dr Mohammad Asaduzzaman Chowdhury is Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology (DUET), Gazipur.
asadzmn2014@yahoo.com
 

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