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Stories of the Month
By Barry Richmond

Since Barry Richmond created the first Story of the Month in May, 2001, dates and settings have changed but the issues addressed continue to have relevance. Each story analyzes past headline news using Systems Thinking and the iThink or STELLA software. The intent is not to provide answers but to stimulate discussion and explore the assumptions in our mental models. Enjoy reading these Systems Thinking classics!
To view these stories:
1. Click on the link to download the compressed archive file.
2. Uncompress all files in the archive.
3. Use your STELLA/ iThink version 10 installation or the FREE isee Player to open the .STM or .ITM file
Note: Some stories may require QuickTime Player.

Can Energy Prices Really Be Passed on to the Consumer? 
   Energy literally fuels every aspect of today's economy. When energy costs increase, many businesses will increase prices thereby "passing on" the cost to consumers. This story helps to tell whether it is really possible.
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Guns at School 
   One of the most frightening trends to appear over the last decade has been the rise of gun-related violence at schools. The debate whether violence in the media, declining parental involvement or availability of guns is to blame suggests that it is a "systems" problem.
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Deficits/Surpluses, Tax Cuts & Social Security Promises: Lifting the Fog 
   Inspired by headline news in August 2001, this story attempts to defog the ambiguities surrounding economic issues. It provides a clearer picture of the much misunderstood concepts of budget deficits and surpluses and the impact on Social Security reserves.
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Systems Thinking Look at Terrorism 
   How likely will the US win the war on terrorism? Isn't anger created by US-led actions to reduce terrorists likely to recruit more terrorists? Read this story to explore the alternatives.
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Dynamics of Fear 
   Since the September 11th attacks, US citizens have had a heightened awareness of security and the threat of terrorist attacks. How do we avoid having a chronic case of the jitters?
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Enron-Partnerships & "Partnerships" 
   The Enron fiasco resulted in lots of fingerpointing. This 2 part story raises the question of whether we (those of us who invest in the stock market) deserve some of the "credit" for Enron.
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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 
   This story provides a framework for understanding what key structural changes are required to transform the Middle East conflict into lasting peace.
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Reforming "School Reform" 
   Inspired by a major school reform effort in Philadelphia, this story explores some of the potential unintended consequences. What happens when the focus of "fixing schools" becomes increasing scores on standardized tests?
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Hot Air & Greenhouse Gases 
   This story explains why the Administration's plan to "significantly reduce the growth in greenhouse gas emissions while sustaining economic growth" is a weak effort to address the global warming problem. What policies might we implement to actually remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere?
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