Inherent In The System
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They passed one resolution: — "Your sub-committee believe
You can lighten the curse of Adam when you've lifted the curse of Eve.
But till we are built like angels — with hammer and chisel and pen,
We will work for ourself and a woman, for ever and ever, amen."

(from) An Imperial Rescript Rudyard Kipling

Basic Information

Inherent In The System is a politics trope. It designates a world, setting, or system that has fundamental problems which are not the fault of a single, specific person.

This also contains the implication that they are not reasonably solvable without a radical redesign of society (if at all).

See Also


Game and Story Use

  • This represents large-scale problems with the world that are so pervasive that they are part of the very environment. The goal of the adventure or the campaign is not to solve them (unless the player characters are really powerful), but to survive through them and perhaps achieve some small-scale victories despite them.
  • This is useful for non-conspiracy modern games, since it avoids blaming any one person or group for a problem. However, you should be careful with it, because most ways of implementing it involve pulling out a particular political theory.
  • A few possible sources of problems Inherent in the System:
    • Legacy problems: When the problem first happened, someone decided to leave it for later generations to fix. No one has yet.
    • Inertia: The world has changed so that something that once was a good idea… isn't.
    • Nature: Problems might have started with a natural disaster.
    • Miscommunication: A problem might start with two people acting independently, or with someone misinterpreting someone else's motives.
    • Mistrust: Two people might start causing problems, simply by trying to protect themselves from one another[2].
    • Necessary: literally inherent to the way the system works.
  • A few reasons why the problem hasn't been solved:
    • Lack of will: While no one is to blame for the problem, no one who can fix it wants to. Perhaps they benefit in some way, or perhaps they simply have better things to do.
    • Lack of ability: The problem is simply beyond fixing.
    • Lack of coordination: The problem could be solved by two or more people… if they could talk to each other.
    • Lack of trust: …and trusted each other not to take advantage of their own efforts or read deeper motives.
    • Least bad alternative/lack of alternatives: currently, the problematic system is still the best that can be managed.
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