The U.S economy has been stumbling along at sub 2% growth for years now, and most people haven’t seen their real buying power grow in decades. Shall we fix that, and in a big way? Economists see 4% has a healthy growth rate in the US but China’s economic grow was last reported at 6.7% and they see that as a slow down. So lets make 6.8% our target.
I’m frustrates with waiting for our government to do this, and frankly I’m frightened by some of the things it’s done, like the fiscal cliff crisis that got our credit rating reduced in 2011, and the government shutdown of 2013, let alone whatever happened that caused the global economic crash of 2008.
Here is how we do it. — Or: I have this vision of how to figure out an amazing solution and I’m building a web application to do it. The web site is starting to take form at civilpursuit.com.
This is how I envision it:
Invite all 300 Million Americans and divide them up into small diverse groups of 10 people. We know that diverse groups come up with better solutions than homogeneous groups, and we know that small groups can get things done where large groups just get stalled and polarized.
We give them the question – how do we get our economy growing faster than China’s economy and invite them to elaborate on the problems that need to be solved. Sorry you can’t talk about the solutions yet. We know you want to, but we know it’s much easier to get people to agree on solutions after they have agreed on the problems to fix. And, it is much easier to compare different solutions if you know what you are trying to solve. Also, we don’t want you defending the one clever solution that you came up with just because of your pride. This is about finding the most effective solution across the whole spectrum. And humans are very inventive creatures and when challenged they will find solutions. So, dig into the problems first.
And this is not a debate. In a debate one person argues for one solution and another person argues for another solutions. Both people are trying to win the debate. So, if there’s a weakness in your argument and your opponent doesn’t bring it out, good for you, but not for strengthening your solution. Or if your opponent does uncover a weakness in your argument and you are not prepared with the data argue against it, then you lose, and so does your solution. In a debate really everyone looses because there are always more solutions but they are not being sought. In fact the more you argue for a solution the more closed you become to information that challenges that solution and the more your pride keeps you arguing for your original solution in the face of newer / better ones. And in a debate if you did come up with a new solution, or even an idea for one, you’d lose the debate if you brought it up. So debates stifle innovative solutions and everyone looses because what we really need to be looking for is the solution that everyone sees and says wow.
So we convene 300M people in 30M groups of 10 to discuss the problems and only the problems and come up with one or two that they all agree are most important. And these discussions among groups of 10 diverse people are not the unproductive chaos we see on social media. They can be by text, that can be by audio, or they can be by video. And they are structured in order to lead to a conclusion. Everyone is asked to propose several problems. Then each can review the other’s problem statements and give feedback to the author and rate the statements whether they are civil and concise. And for each problem posted in the group can say why it’s important or why it’s not and you can ready what others are saying about why. Often times the why’s are as important as the problem (or solution) statements themselves.
Then we take the results from each group and mix them up and redistribute them to all the groups. That’s 30 to 60M problems.to discuss and vote up, or edit or propose innovative new ones. Then we collect up the results and redistribute them again. That’s 3 to 6M problems. And again, that’s 300K to 600K problems. And again …
After about 8 rounds, we are down to the top 10 problems to solve. And these are really well worded statements with good explanation and support.
And something else is different here. We are all on the same page as to what the problems are, we are well informed on this topic and we are not divided and polarized like we have been.
Now we can finally talk about the solutions. We start the process again with this list of problems and we ask 30M groups of 10 for their best solutions to these problems. And then we take those 30M solutions and distribute them among our groups and we reduce that to 3M. And we repeat for another 8 rounds until we are down to 10. And somewhere in this something else will happen. Synergy is when people working together do more than they possible could independently. Somebody, having seen the other solutions others have written and having gotten feedback on his/her own wakes up with a new solution the next morning. And the wisdom in the crowd happens when you get a large enough group guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar that, even though the guess are all over, they average out to the right answer. Or, it’s how on the TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” the audience was right 91% of the time.
So in the end of all these rounds there are 10 answers. And probably there is one that is way out in front in terms of support, but we vote on them all anyway so that there is one.
And again something is different here. Everyone has the same understanding. We are all well informed about this, we’ve been working through the process together and we understand the trade-offs and the variety of challenges that had to be overcome. And we all own and are part of the solution because each of our ideas and needs were heard and considered fairly and in someway contribute to the final result.
It’s been 8 years since the economy crashed, and things just haven’t recovered that well, and no matter who is elected not much is really going to change in our economy (IMHO). How long would it take to have 8 rounds of discussions to find the problems, and 8 rounds of discussions to find the solutions? A month? Two? It’s been 8 years since the economic crash of 2008 and our nation is still stuck on whether we should raise or lower taxes and on who. But those are solutions, what’s the real problem?
And what’s in it for us? Why should any of us spend our time participating in these discussions? How about a 6.8% raise. For a person with an average income that’s $3,200 in a year, and every year their after. And for our country we are demonstrating to the world the real economic value of a democracy with a free and open internet full of engaged citizens.
Will you join us?