Ideology often begins with the needs to explain, have solutions and for control of complex issues; personal, social, economic, even scientific and political. Ideology is a collection of beliefs, values, logics and practices. It quickly becomes rigid as the need to document it, reproduce it, to defend it and to be consistent emerges. New information, issues and situations need to be interpreted so as to fit into the existing ideological framework. Once in practice it is always at risk of becoming dangerous to those who agree with it (e.g. don’t use a condom in a high risk HIV community) and even more dangerous to those who don’t – see Stalin, Mao, McCarthy, any fundamentalist religion, bullying, tyranny, revolution, injustice and whistle-blowing.
One of my favorite quotes is, “All ideologies become tyrannies.” John Ralston Saul.
Every business and industry I have been associated with has a ‘story line’ or rationale about how it works and why. One reason for the story is to make clear why it is different from other businesses and industries. It is also to make any choices appear rational and give the image of control. Such rationales are okay so long as they demonstrate adaptiveness and learning. If not then they are becoming ideology and the seeds of failure have been sown.
Where there is rigidity then check for ideology. It is not unusual for economists to sound ideological – just saying.
Peter O’Reilly ©