Thursday 29 November 2012

Issue cocoons

Robert Reich has produced a pithy cartoon summary (in slide show form) of his book Beyond Outrage, an analysis of what has gone wrong with America’s economy since the end of the 1970s.

His argument focuses on how the richest 1% has gained at the expense of the middle classes. But the most interesting slides are #7 and #9, which show how the 1% has got away with it: divide and rule. Opposition has been dissipated into ‘issue cocoons’.

The lesson for anyone seeking to challenge the forces that have got us into the present economic mess is this: to develop a coherent analysis and prescription, you must raise your sights beyond special interests or selfish identity issues, and learn to think holistically.

The tragicomic battle between the Liberal Democrats’ gender balance and ethnic minority lobbies over candidate quotas is a good illustration of how attention can be distracted and energy wasted when people lose sight of the big picture.

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