GLL – Role of the state / Utopia

COURSE: Global/Local Learning– GLL

FORUM: Samarbeta

TOPICS: local global learning, utopia, “Small is beautiful”, Trent, government

Step 2 – Part2: on Populism and Adult Education, Frank Youngman

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ON THE ROLE OF THE STATE / UTOPIA

Marie wrote:

As I write this, the idea that local solutions are the answer seems a bit utopian to me, but perhaps with tweaking, this is a good starting point for solving the current global economic/environmental/polarity crisis.  I have often observed in Canada’s North that the breakdown of indigenous linguistic/cultural systems goes hand in hand with environmental degradation and that little of comparable value is given in the exchange.  It seems to me that sociocultural diversity is integral to environmental diversity and that both are required for the long term health of their systems.

Hi Marie,

Allow me to interject some thoughts on this last statement.

For me utopia is to believe that a distant, centralized government may know and do best what’s needed to ensure that people, locally, may have a chance to have a life that is worth being called one. I instead do not consider utopian when we envision a world made up of interconnected realities – each in its own right, with its own characteristics and traits – that are capable of micro and macro manage (as a wholistic result) their own affairs. I am obviously not talking about a return to the Middle Ages, when – at least in Europe – city states were acing each other off in a localistic and futile attempt to overcome their enemies. I am talking about a mature international framework that may eventually replace our current allotment of countries that base their existence on at times artificial justification for their independent statehood. My previous post gave as an example the situation in my home region. I am not trying to suggest that that framework is a model of universal applicability, but I just want to present it as a viable alternative to “government as usual.”

In other words, like economist Schumacher used to affirm: “Small is beautiful,” which would also apply to the size of government and of “administrative areas” (for lack of other words). In fact, I would argue, what is more effective and people-centered than a local government that is mindful of peoples’ needs and of the impact that political decisions have right there where laws are made? The flexibility inherent in such form of self-government also includes the recognition and inclusion of minorities and issues of marginality. True, at times this may sound like an experiment, but – in my opinion – it’s something worthwhile trying, also considering that over the decades there have been many examples of successful local governance.

Cheers!

Resources:

http://www.smallisbeautiful.org/about/biographies/schumacher.html

http://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/learning-resources/links

http://www.smallisbeautiful.org/about/biographies/schumacher.html

If you look for some inspiration, I find this collection very empowering: http://www.smallisbeautiful.org/about/efs_quotes.htm

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