This overall systems map combines the three sub maps. This map does not recreate all the loops of the other maps, but refers to their numbers. Yes, this map is complex – just as Hawaii is complex. We believe a thoughtful study of this map will help you better understand Hawaii and suggest ways to improve its quality of life.
The overall systems map suggests three leverage points – places where engagement by leaders and citizens may produce disproportionately large benefits.
Often, when members of a group intensify their loyalty to each other, it hinders their willingness to reach out to people outside their group. We can help reverse this tendency by using bridging institutions and behavior.
One positive sign of our intergroup agility: Hawaii has more multiracial and multiethnic marriages than any other state. There’s a catch, though: These marriages unite people of different ancestries, but the partners tend to come from the same economic and education level. The poor, middle class and affluent have little contact with each other, so there is more misunderstanding and fewer shared ideas.
If these different people can come together in informal and social settings, then it will be easier to unite to face Hawaii’s big challenges on divisive issues. If we succeed at bridging our divisions, building trust and finding common ground, the map suggests that the positive effects will ripple throughout society.
One way to encourage bridge-building is to highlight examples of people coming together across economic or social lines. Such examples would help all of us see others as potential allies in finding answers that benefit everyone, rather than competitors for scarce resources.
Can we restore civic engagement and people’s trust in government? Possibly, by channeling dissatisfaction with government into creating new ways for people to provide input and influence government. Similar mechanisms will also allow government to get better feedback and data on its policies and the effects of its policies.
There already have been important advances in how citizens can engage with government, from virtual forums and social media to improvements in how data can be gathered and analyzed to provide more evidenced-based policymaking and public understanding of the impacts of government policies. Pilot projects that use new ways to create better input and feedback would benefit policymakers, and citizens would be more likely to participate if they felt their voices are being heard.
The visitor industry drives Hawaii’s economy today and provides about 22 percent of state tax revenue. But dependence on tourism leaves Hawaii at the mercy of global events outside our control. That dependence on visitors has also contributed to higher prices for housing and other essentials in Hawaii. One solution is a more diversified economy, but getting there is challenging.
At times, state government policy has encouraged diversification: Act 221 used tax credits to fund the tech industry and solar energy tax credits encourage the production of alternative energy. One of the main criticisms of Act 221 is the government lacked the data to know what results the tax break created. If we take similar steps to encourage diversification in industries that seem well suited to Hawaii, the state needs to collect the data required to prove or disprove that the policies are working as intended.