The Political Persuasion Knowledge Base

Thwink has begun its second phase of research.

Phase 1. Theory - The first phase (from 2001 to 2014) was development of a theory on how to solve difficult large-scale social problems like sustainability. The theory centered on the System Improvement Process, which in turn centered on root cause analsyis and a simulation model called The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace.

Phase 2. Data - The second phase consists of collecting data to confirm or deny the hypotheses generated by the theory, starting with the Dueling Loops model. Below are several images showing the tool for collecting and analyzing this data. The tool is the Political Persuasion Knowledge Base, developed using Apple's FileMaker Pro. The tool is freely available for use in analysis of arguments of any kind. Please contact us for further information.

Introduction to the PPKB Introduction to the PPKB Introduction to the PPKB

Root Cause Analysis and
The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace

The following abstract is from an invited article for the Spanda Journal:

Problems like sustainability, recurring wars, and excessive concentration of wealth have defied solution for generations. Problem solvers are unable to solve problems of this class because of lack of root cause analysis. This omission has led to solutions that intuitively look like they should work but in practice do not, because they fail to resolve a problem’s root causes.

This article presents a method for applying root cause analysis to problems of this class, followed by the results of applying the method to the sustainability problem. The method is the System Improvement Process. Process application led to construction of a relatively simple simulation model called The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace. The model explains why change resistance to solving problems of this class is insurmountably high and pinpoints the root cause of that high change resistance. The analysis thus offers some insights into how problem solvers might better go about designing solutions that in practice could work, because they are focused on resolving specific root causes.

The submitted article may be found here. PDF

If We Want World Change, then We Need to Overcome Systemic Change Resistance has added a change resistance subsystem to the World3 model of Limits to Growth. The result is the WorldChange model, as introduced in the video below. This demonstrates how world change is possible. All we need to do is find and resolve the root causes of systemic change resistance.

For further information see The WorldChange Model.

Root Cause Analysis at

The graph tells a grim story.

Despite the best efforts of millions of dedicated activists, the world's ecological footprint keeps rising. Year after year, decade after decade, it just keeps going up. Every dot on the graph is a major effort to solve the problem. There are thousands of more dots not on the graph. But none have made more than a modest difference. The footprint is now at about 50% overshoot. If this overshoot is not brought down below the one planet limit very soon, collapse is dead ahead. (pun intended)

So what are the world's problem solvers doing wrong? Why are popular solutions failing to solve the sustainability problem?

Because popular solutions are incapable of resolving the root causes.

If you believe this answer is reasonably true or might be true, then has a world of helpful material for you and your organization. Here's how you can get started:

If you are a visual thinker, read this article on A Little Story About Corporate Dominance and the Occupy Movement.

If you are an analytical thinker, study this paper on Solving the Sustainability Problem with Root Cause Analysis.

If you are a sharp thinker but not that analytical, try this essay on Mastering the Science of Striking at the Root.

Now, after you've read one of the above items, consider one of the very latest solutions. See the About Us page for Al Gore's Climate Reality Project. The page says:

The Climate Reality Project, founded and chaired by former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore, is dedicated to unleashing a global cultural movement demanding action on the climate crisis. Despite overwhelming international scientific consensus on climate change, the global community still lacks the resolve to implement meaningful solutions. The Climate Reality Project exists to forge an unwavering bedrock of impassioned support necessary for urgent action. With that foundation, together we will ignite the moral courage in our leaders to solve the climate crisis.

The Climate Reality Project employs cutting-edge communications and grassroots engagement tools to break the dam of inaction and raise the profile of the climate crisis to its proper state of urgency. With a global movement more than 5 million strong and a grassroots network of Climate Leaders trained by Chairman Al Gore, we stand up to denial, press for solutions, and spread the truth about climate change to empower our leaders to solve the climate crisis.

If you've grasped what our material says, you will immediately be able to see that the Climate Reality Project's approach is simply not going to work. It's basically a "spread the truth" approach. This is no different from past approaches, all of which have failed. Why? Because "spread the truth" pushes on a low leverage point. It attempts to resolve an intermediate cause (the universal fallacious paradigm of Growth Is Good) rather than the root cause (high political deception effectiveness) of change resistance.

You don't believe this? Then read the Wikipedia entry on Sharon Beder's Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism. Be sure to read the link to the Global Spin Review, which explains how corporate spin works.

Spin is deception. It's working like a charm, so well that attempts to "spread the truth" have not worked in the past. Nor will they work in the future.

That "the global community still lacks the resolve to implement meaningful solutions" is a symptom of change resistance. Al Gore's project is trying to overcome change resistance. Wouldn't it help if the project promoted solutions that were directed toward resolving the root cause of change resistance? After all, all problems arise from their root causes.

If this makes sense, then see the glossary entry on More of the Truth. That's the solution strategy The Climate Reality Project is using.

Welcome to a whole new way of thwinking !

Imagine routinely solving whatever portion of the sustainability problem you're working on.

Scott Durlacher presenting paper at Portland conference

Scott Durlacher presented the paper at the Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference in Portland, Oregon, US, on August 1, 2012. Click on the photo to watch the five minute video of Scott covering the highlights of the paper and its context.

How? With the same powerful tool business uses to routinely solve its toughest problems: Root Cause Analysis. has distilled its central message into one paper: Solving the Sustainability Problem with Root Cause Analysis. PDF The paper is jargon free and an easy read since its target audience is all serious environmentalists.

The key conclusion is that popular solutions don't work because they do not resolve root causes. Instead, they attempt (in vain) to resolve intermediate causes, like externalized costs or the universal fallacy that Growth Is Good.

The analysis found four main root causes. Finding these led to discovery that the environmental sustainability problem is itself a symptom of a deeper problem: the Broken Political System Problem. This is the real problem to solve. Until it's solved the work of environmentalists is largely fruitless. This is a highly controversial and counter-intuitive conclusion, but it's well supported by a mountain of analysis, modeling, references, and examples in the publications at

Using the results of the analysis a solution strategy is presented. Twelve solution elements are required to resolve the four root causes.

Archery target

Because each solution is aimed at resolving a specific known root cause, you can't miss. You hit the ~ every time. It's like shooting at a target ten feet away. The bullseye is the root cause. That's why Root Cause Analysis is so fantastically powerful.

If you know where the bullseye is, your solutions can't miss!

If this makes sense then:

Welcome to Modern Activism

1. Ready - Define the problem.

2. Aim - Analyze the problem with Root Cause Analysis.

3. Fire - Develop and implement solutions that can't miss.

These three steps are why we designed this button:

Root cause buttons

Solving the sustainability problem is not a matter of doing the same things better. It's a matter of doing something different. Radically different.

What's the real story? What does have to offer? More