Saturday, June 03, 2017

From review talks of book by Duncan Green

"I guess the way I see it, the world out there is pretty tough. There are really bad guys – some of them are local, some of them are leaders. Really smart people are deep into back scratching, rent seeking, etc. — not the kind of thing which would yield to experimental adjustment or agile activism. We must learn to struggle better, not manage better." That is from David Kennedy in The case against optimism: A Harvard law professor critiques 'How change happens'

The second part of the review The imaginary advocate... discussion seem to be partly from Professor Stephen Humphreys. It is not too clear me where Professor Kennedy's critique ended and the Humphreys started. Perhaps the description of  Kennedy's critique ends here: "You have a range of possible points of engagement, access, tools.   You have….funding.   You have some autonomy.   And the situation is not too too scary.
Which says something about other people.    This is not an us/them world of struggle.  Other people are more friction than resistance – you are active and they more inertia and friction than opposition.  Or, if in opposition, they are also reasonable – they also have interests, they need to be understood, heard, engaged.
Somehow malevolent self-dealing objectives fit less well with this set of tools.   The greedy will not want to listen or engage, will be too short term, will miss the legitimacy clues, etc.
But I wonder.  This all seems more romantic than optimistic.  Romantic about the client, the local, to whom we should listen, who might have found answers already.    Romantic about human potential for creative action in the public interest if we throw off the bonds of form.’"
A post about Duncan Green's book appeared in November 2015 but the free PDF of the draft of the book is gone.

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