Our systems do not meet our needs. None of them are designed to do so. It is time to make new systems.
COVID 19 is not a ‘black swan’ – a singular, unexpected event. It is the first in a series of what NYT’s Tom Friedman referred to as a ‘herd of stampeding black elephants’ – multiple, predictable and economically catastrophic events.
So…what path to take? The old familiar mainstream, the marginal, or the radically new? Hell, I’m opting for all of the above. I think we need to revitalise the best of the old traditions of right and left, while bringing in the contributions of more marginal political positions from the past – and articulating them all afresh in the completely novel historical circumstances we face.
But I always fall back to one question: how do we compel our fellow citizens and politicians to vote/protest/embrace these critical systemic changes if we don’t appear to be taking the issue seriously enough to make the radical changes we’re preaching?
The inconvenient truth is that we face a problem beyond politics and reform, beyond good projects and initiatives and campaigns – ours is a systemic crisis at the very heart of our 21stcentury political-economy.
The dominant reality we face is one of substantial ongoing political stalemate and decay, and this sets the terms of reference for those serious about long term, more fundamental change.
Andrew McLeod recently wrote an excellent and thoughtful response to my article (with Gar Alperovitz) on Mondragón and issues of systemic design. In an effort to continue the constructive dialogue around this important topic, I offer this rejoinder.