Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Interesting thoughts, courtesy of "Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity, a platform for designing Business Architecture"
To dissolve a conflict is to discover new frames of reference in which opposing tendencies are treated as complimentary in a new ensemble with a new logic of its own. It requires reformulation or, more precisely, reconceptualization of the variables involved. Finally, to dissolve a conflict is to redesign the system, which contains the conflict, in its totality, creating "a feasible whole from infeasible parts." -Page 69, Systems Thinking
I think that one of the problem that we face as a liberals / progressives is that the framing of the conversation (right versus left) is obsolete. I'm not sure how to sound bite what the new construct is, but I know that the existing one is worse that useless - it actively makes it more difficult for us to advance a progressive, liberal agenda.
We, as progressives, need to find a way to get beyond the old "rich versus poor" or "this versus that." I think that the path we need to take is first to identify synergies between seemingly opposing groups, and second (and this may be the *really* hard part), figure out a way to sound bite it.
For me, possibly the most fundamental issue facing the American democracy, is the ever growing divide between rich and poor. Our middle class is shrinking. The poor are forgotten, and it becomes only the rich that reap the benefits of our society. My fundamental issue with this (and for disclosure sake, I should say that in my current socio-economic class, I'm a beneficiary of Bush's economic policies) is that it's a profoundly short-sighted outlook. If wealth becomes concentrated only in the upper echelons of our society, then where are the markets for our goods and services? Moreover, since no one will say that Social Security, Medicare, or even something like the military are a bad thing, where will the funding come from for our incredibly advanced (and expensive) weapons systems.
We need to move beyond the idea that regulations are somehow a competitive disadvantage. Regulations are a feature of any market - the way to think about regulations is how can they make our businesses more competitive in our world marketplace. Hemming and hawing about fuel economy is cutting off our nose to spite our face. Fuel economy, or better technology is a competitive advantage in the rest of the world. Our businesses should embrace this, rather than fight it. Moreover, our government should incent companies for actions that are in their best interests. The market economy is incredibly good at allocation of resources, but it depends on entirely on the definition of the marketplace. Our marketplace should be defined such that our businesses are better positioned. This does not mean letting them do whatever the hell they want to.
I think there are several pieces to this. More on those later.