Featured image: Dominoes Falling, courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/mwmbwls/ Creative Commons license grant CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
This started out as a draft of a note for Senator Mark Warner, one of the Democratic Party brain trust working on the 2020 campaign strategy. Thinking before the pandemic was that the campaign would focus on a return to normalcy. Post-pandemic, it is clear that many elements of national resiliency need a major overhaul.
Our government has suffered from two things, potentially related. First, one of our national political parties has been using a strategy of divide and conquer to keep power to itself for oligarchical purposes. This includes campaigns based on fear of them.
Second, our social programs were developed individually in this hostile environment to treat symptoms rather than in support of essential governmental and civic resiliency objectives.
At every point on our journey to our current resiliency system, one party waged a two pronged fear campaign — fear of communism or now socialism, whatever that is, and fear that they, people not like us, might get something that we didn’t or cause us harm more directly.
The resulting difficulty of passing coherent legislation has led to a patchwork of well-intentioned but buggy programs. This patchwork is full of gaps and special cases making it difficult for the patchwork to support maintenance of national resiliency and unable to support many of us whose occupations do not permit a secure standard of living. For these purposes, a secure standard of living includes safe housing, essential health care for chronic and acute diseases and trauma, retirement security, and economic during earned income interruptions.
This post makes the argument that we need to take a step back, change our policy from one of aiding individuals ad hoc to one of achieving a resilient government and society that can survive foreseeable challenges by aiding individuals in a holistic fashion. It is largely about keeping domino chains from topping.
Our Congress’s response to the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak has been largely ad hoc. In spite of Congress’s “best” efforts, it has largely missed the mark by slow delivery of ad hoc relief measures that treat individual economic effects of the pandemic. The economy is far too complex for such a strategy to be successful.
Rather relief needs to enter the economy at the same points from which economic activity originates and flow through the economic networks that service normal transactions. Where possible, relief should permit the individual transactions that would occur if isolation measures were not in place. Normal emergent flows would support most of the economy.
This article considers the characteristics that promote societal resilience. How we go about achieving these characteristics is a complex undertaking that will emerge a bit at a time. Much of what we need already exists but needs refinement and protection from schemers. But essential elements of individual and familial security require an overhaul and processes that now require legislative action need to become automatic.
Continue reading Thoughts on National RESILIENCY