Devil’s Tunes

Simple, attractive-sounding solutions; reductionist responses to complex systems. Devils’ tunes are much easier to argue for than solutions which are consistent with systems thinking, which have the disadvantage (from the Devil’s point of view) of taking longer to explain, being harder to understand, and often involving action which is contrary to intuition and expectation; they may also begin by making matters worse before they get better.

There is a powerful bias in a democracy towards seduction by devils’ tunes; it should, however, be a primary objective of democratic politicians not to exploit this, nor to fall for them, and to try to help others not to fall for them either.


Related entries:

Witch-Hunt, Good Shepherd Paradox, Reverse Risk Assessment Rule.

« Back to List of Entries
David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

Comment on this entry: