Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Workpad 1. Strategic Guidelines

Contributor’s Note: This is the first of our proposed interactive ‘workpad’ discussions, which in each case are intended to be set off by a brief presentation by one of our number or invited guests of a thesis, issue or approach in which the author at least things it might be useful if we put our collective intelligences to work to build a sounder and more complete common base. In all this, we need to keep in mind that our objective here is ways in which we can feed into and support Action Agendas, actual projects and deployments; and neither philosophy, history or interesting conversation. Follow up discussions and questions can first be lodged via the Comments link at the base of this item. Alternatively if you are already on board as a Contributor, you may wish to develop your own thinkpiece on this topic. (Kindly consult Blog Guidelines below before your first posting. Thanks you.)


Some possibly contentious first thoughts on strategic guidelines for success.

1. Let's not bore: Let’s see if we can avoid boring all those we are trying to bring on our side by avoiding a surfeit of historical (self-)justification, finger pointing and too much arcane theory.

2. Master communicators It is not enough that our souls are pure and that we are without any doubt right in what we believe and propose. We need to be master communicators; otherwise forget it. In all this we need to bear in mind that it’s 2006 and the attention spans are what they are. We thus need in a first instance to be smart and able enough to capture their attention, and then adroit enough to be able to hold it to the point where they are ready to take all this further. But never to forget that the off-button is right at their fingertips, and they know how to use it.

3. Powerful friends: It would be very good if we can make all this point to something that bankers, financial institutions and property developers find reasonable and even attractive. We might even do well to think of them as our principal clients. (Let’s be frank: we cannot beat them, they simply have too much leverage, including that of good old inertia which always works quite nicely to resist proposals for structural change. But if we are smart enough, we can co-opt them.)

4. And sharp eyes: At the same time, it’s a good thing to bear in mind that all these fine upstanding people tend to have hefty appetites and lots of experience with controlling agendas.

5. Above party politics: Terribly important to avoid any political ‘party’ or even philosophic orientation or banjo strumming. If you are a good old leftist of long standing, well that’s terrific, but it’s your personal business and should not be plastered on the agenda here.

6. And who knows? Indeed, there is at least an equal chance if we get our argumentation and various proofs in order that support will come from more conservative interests or the political Right. Unscrewing the blatantly underperforming, unfair tax arrangements that most of us labor under in 2006 is an task that is too important for political posturing. Nobody should be allowed to run away with the agenda.

7. Nose of the camel: I persist in believing – until someone educates me to the contrary – that one of the most likely ways to move into the broader reforms that are so obviously needed, is via the path of successful Value Capture projects. One of the great advantages of Value Capture in my mind is that is has a specific, even modest in its way focus. One project, one place, one time. But a new way of thinking, that once it has shows the way can open up a much broader field of rethinking and reform. It’s so helpful to be able to build on concrete palpable success. (And so hard to convince anyone with a bunch of words, no matter how wise.)

8. What’s the hook? Which brings us to the next question, banal maybe but nonetheless eminently strategic. What’s the hook? Since these good ideas have been around a long time and since for the most part the world continues to plod on to other tunes, we must understand that the only way we are going to advance this agenda in real world terms will be by somehow tying it to a series of concerns or opportunities that in themselves capture attention and a shared sense of real urgency. Land taxes are important, that we know. But if we cannot show or bring them up in situations of high urgency they are going to stay right there warm in those pages and comfortable talking clubs.

9. Other great transforming ideas of the past: By way of quick reminder, it’s useful to recall that a number of the greatest society transforming ideas of the 20th century had their origins not so much in magnanimous thinking but fear. The Marshall Plan? Fear that the events after the first World War would repeat themselves in Europe. The GI Bill? Fear that the war was going to be followed by another massive depression and that the returning solders were going to repeat the incidences of the politically nightmarish march on Washington of the WW1 veterans.

10. And today? Well, we know in advance that it is going to be easier for the most part to work with people and places that are desperate for pattern-break solutions, than those who feel that they can continue to get or muddle along. SO it we are looking for places and opportunities, the ‘new’ countries of East Europe and the former Soviet bloc, countries torn by war and internal conflicts, Third and Fourth World countries that are looking at the bottom of barrel. And in the wealthier countries, regions racked by deindustrialization and economic decline. bombed out central cities and ghettos, areas of massive unemployment, places suffering from various forms of catastrophes. And then there is $100 oil. (And then there is not Global Warming. Nor World Government)

* * *

To conclude: some quick guidelines for making blog entries:

1. Please consult these Guidelines (see title bar for link) before your first posting. (If there is anything there that you don’t like or feel is wrong, please let me know and I can talk about and certainly then change)

2. Each time you make an entry, please make sure that you have identified yourself by full name as a Member/Contributor (check out how it presently looks on the blog; you’ll see what I mean).

3. May we kindly ask that you sign each article as follows:
a. Full name
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4. You will find a few more guidelines for best use here.

And don’t forget to check into the Wikipedia LVT entry and the temporary place-holder Value Capture references – which I know can be further improved.

Eric Britton
The Commons
Paris, France


Blogger ericbritton said...

This is an example of a comment on an entry. Please be sure to sign. (The perhaps irritating letter gizmo that youi will run into when you do, is spam protection. Thus is the world in which we live today.) Eric Britton

Wed Jan 25, 11:41:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Praguetory said...

Excellent post re LVT. Efficiency of land use is a key feature of LVT. Communicating how this is of benefit is a key challenge to rise to.

Sat Oct 07, 02:35:00 PM GMT+2  

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