Causal chains

Sunday, August 21st, 2005

We should pay close attention to the notion of causal chains and consider learning from them. One thing leads to another; this causes that. And so forth.

In this context we have a conflict between public service and private sector identities. Some people think that government should be run like a for-profit concern. Others believe it should stay out of the business business and maintain a public service identity, expecting different things in return for it. One of the differences has to do with the old idea of need vs want. We don’t need Walmart, for example; Walmart could be something else, such as the local hardware store: in this country we need commerce. We also need vehicle inspections because we have trucks and steep roads and may need to get to work. Both sides of the coin are important and one couldn’t necessarily go on without the other: this is a question an identity conflict: how we think we go about accomplishing things. Of course, people who need jobs need a Walmart, but the job could be anything, such as the local hardware store. But with our democracy, we need services that allow people to make Walmarts or anything else. If one side is weakened, so will the other side.

When people say they need to find work they assume a spatial cushion that allows for such. A relatively safe and rigorous, intellectual society needs a balance between public and private identities. We will be feeling the targeted layoffs and diminishment of the public sector (which includes politicians) for years to come.

We don’t need digital televisions; we should not expect them. But we should expect the roads to be safe. In that way, we maintain in one way the intellectual environment that encourages thoughtful work .


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