Transition vs Big Society

Which is best, there’s only one way to find out….

An interesting piece on the Transition Culture website on a transition take on the big society by Rob Hopkins and Peter Lipman  looking at the concerns about and opportunities from David Camerons ‘Big Society’ proposals.

My big worry for the Transition Network is their (Rob and Peter) thinking that Big Society lacks a mapped out narrative and specific targets just at the time targets and purposeful organisational storytelling are being denounced as detrimental to a complex adaptive system facing an uncertain future.

Anyway here is my comment on their website and please take time to take a look at what Transition Networks is already achieving:

I think you are making a mistake by not endorsing Big Society.

Big Society represents change, an opportunity to do things differently. The fact that there is no explicit narrative is a good thing. Let’s write it ourselves. Self organise, self realise the benefits of change and everyone is committed to an approach that may differ in relation to a local context but is moving step by step towards a new future. Look at the example of the ‘Big Society Revenue and Customs’ going out there to embarrass and publicise tax evasion. Individuals are attracted to its ingenuity and daring and feeling a part of something revolutionary and new.

Imagine if we could determine how big, and exactly where, a proportion of our taxes, could be spent on Transition friendly initiatives.

I took the idea of Big Society to be a huge pat on the back for the Transition Network, basically saying we want more of this. I don’t think you should try and second guess their motivations and objectives, just seize the day, take the idea as a compliment and run with it.

As a big fan of complexity theory I would not advise specific targets as you describe for 2014. Targets can detract from greater opportunities. Far better to stick with the broader objective “to catalyse and support community responses to peak oil and climate change, building resilience and happiness” and take every opportunity that comes our way while nipping in the bud anything that gets in the way.


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