In an educated society, say ours (pun totally intended), questions is the form of wisdom which generates opinions and discussions, and it is believed that ultimately the best solutions or methods will pass the test of the time. This approach looks correct prima facie, but it has a big black hole in it.
Two factors can derail a whole society in such a question-answer problem solving scenario:
1) Unqualified people deluging the world with their opinions, which may or may not be helpful.
2) Such opinions can spiral a chain reaction which can lead us to seemingly creative but less than optimum results.
One of the great proponents of ‘thinking’, Edward de Bono, has cautioned us while generating alternative solutions to a given problem. This is because, once we have chosen a solution or a set of solutions, our next steps are guided by this previous choice we have already made. Combine this with the fact that many people offering solutions are not qualified to even properly understand the topic, it is a receipe for disaster.
Some examples to illustrate point are:
1) Failing waste management measures in many developed and undeveloped countries. Because the people who were put in charge initially were Govt workers and the idea was to only “dump it” without foresight of future. The same methods were followed by their poorer fellow nations.
2) Lack of medical facilities to those most in need. Because the pharma industry decisions are based on profit and not on philanthropy. Their initial solution on any ailment are on the pivot of how much cash can be garnered from it.
3) Regressive education systems in middle and secondary schools. Because a teacher was always above the pupils and her salary was never motivation enough. The decisions were made by some public servants in charge of the state and national schooling system, many of whose own children were studying in expensive private schools.
So what is the correct decision making system for a society? Well, the most basic requirement is to think for the society in each case. That should at least put a leash on the zillions of opinions everyone seems to be posting on the umpteenth topic each passing second. Of course everyone has a right to their opinion, but everyone also has the duty to be quiet and create the time and space to listen to the people who know.