Local Assumptions and Outlook, Winter 2016 – 2017


This post is a quick summary of thoughts on the local outlook, including the local political economy.

1. Politics & Economy. I’d say the outlook is for turbulence in the national political-economy, and stagnation in the local one. See, The National-Local Mix and The Local Economic Context of It All.  The way out of several years’ local stagnation is a more decisive break with past, but there’s no evidence whatever that Whitewater’s local government will take this step; nothing else will be adequate. See, How Big Averts Bad. More of the same, which is easily served up time and again, will be no more effectual tomorrow than it was yesterday. (Spending too much time on the subject is like giving too much attention to people who believe in perpetual motion machines.)

There’s also a chance that we’ll see local political-cultural  revanchism, using enforcement to buttress one community in Whitewater against others. If that happens, the city will become a place of individual injury, and of toxicity to competitive newcomers (whether conservative or liberal). A hard-to-move short-term offering will become an impossible-to-move one. See, Plain-Spoken in a Small Town? Not Most Leaders.

2. Local Cultural and Charitable Efforts are More Valuable than Political-Economic Ones.  A lively prioritization of private over public, of cultural over political, and small and individual over big and collective, would be an effective local approach even in turbulent times. (Where lively is both a manner of expression and of action.) See, An Oasis Strategy. As is always true, Culture Without Grandiosity Works Best. We can get through difficult times, but what’s been done (and will be done) by local government won’t be adequate.

3. National Affairs Will Dwarf Local Matters.  Honest to goodness, it’s worth asking When Are We?  If these were ordinary times, little different from last year or five years ago, then a commitment to local routine politics (including ineffectual subsidies to entice businesses) would be, so to speak, local routine waste.  If however, these should now be unusual and unusually dangerous times, then an emphasis on local political routine is worse than local waste – it’s an error of immeasurable size. (I’m reminded of a line from the first parapraph of Wells’s War of the Worlds: “as men busied themselves about their various concerns….[w]ith infinite complacency men went to and fro…about their little affairs….”)

I’ve always felt that through national one finds the proper way to see local, but if I’d never thought so before, I’d yet begin to think so now.

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