Article Index

Change as a process

For democratic politics we just need to know that it works and start doing it, all the time. In the vast majority of situations in politics we would would benefit from a facilitated discussion covering all sides. Using facilitation and problem solving to develop policy would mea that it would have support when it is implemented. The need for speed is rare, unless there is a foreign crisis or a domestic emergency and in those cases we can bring out contingency plans that have themselves been subject to debate and agreement in advance.

It should also be obvious that for this to take place we need deep constitutional change that covers a lot more then changing periodic elections from first past the post to PR.

There are models of change which take complex problems and allow for their management. Such models bring in the idea of developmental stages. They are often referred to as maturity models. (Note: Change Maturity Model). To be of use for political purposes these need to be adapted.

Here I present a strawman for holistic political economy. Since we have a vision (Part 2 Assess - Vision) we can sketch in what things will tell us we have reached maturity and as we know what things are like now we can define a starting point. We can use a lifecycle approach to define the intermediate steps. As well as having roots in business change models I first encountered this, as would many others, in the take-off theory of industrialisation and growth of the economy put forward by W.W. Rostow (Rostow)

Anyone on the left will be familiar with calls for the transformation of society but also be baffled as to what this phrase actually means, both in terms of the process and destinaton. In Part 2 Vision, How different will it be? I attempted to spell out some of the characteristics of what a holistic political economy would be like. Here I am starting to develop an idea of the steps and activities that need to be undertaken to bring it about. (Note: Practicalities of Change)

Stages of development

Developmental stages: these go from now when we do not have holistic political economy into the future up to a point where we could say holistic political economy has become mature. In Part 4 Strategy I will develop this further since it is necessary to distinguish two sets of criteria, those that describe societal change and those that describe the movement that brings it about.

  • Initiation – the idea defined, communication
  • Spread – reaching the audience, getting attention, first steps
  • Acceptance – becoming an accepted idea, building on early changes
  • Normalisation – holistic political approaches becomes mainstream, holistic political economy is taking off
  • Maturity – holistic political economy exists as the way of doing things, it becomes a matter of continual improvement

Areas of activity

Activities: these are being carried out at all stages if development and fall into four broad areas

  • Ideas and policy foundations
  • Political activity and mobilisation
  • Democratic practice and institutions
  • Economic change and business development

These are not remarkable of themselves. Any political movement needs to develop its foundational ideas and work out what they mean in terms of policies. It also needs to inspire and mobilise people, to make converts by winning arguments and changing minds. For holistic political economy we need to take the next steps in democratic development; we have an urgent need to reinvigorate and extend democracy. We also have an urgent need to rein in greed and destructive competition and to create an economy that increases the commonwealth of society at large.

These 4 broad areas will each expand into themes and interrelated activities. Some very important strands within Economic Change and Business Development will be the transition to sustainable practice, increasing re-use.