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From the CommunityAuthor Archives: Craig Paterson

Blogger Bio:  I am the primary researcher/writer/project manager of the 'California NIF Network' for face-to-face deliberative work in communities, and the creator and coordinator of 'Deliberative IDEAS' for online deliberative work, particularly in the virtual world of Second Life. I've done extensive work in deliberative theory and practice, including many issue framing projects.

On Plutocracy & the ‘Occupy’ Movement

It’s wonderful to go on trips, but it is so sweet to get home again. We had a great time…cruising along the rivers of Europe from Amsterdam to Budapest, and experiencing a lot of history and culture on the way. But…it’s good to be home now, so we can get grounded again in this amazing moment in history. Of course, the biggest news in our country and now around the world is the ‘Occupy’ movement. No one has a crystal ball on this one! It […] (continue)

Deliberation in 3-D

We want…and we need…public deliberation to be dynamic and 3-D! Our political and economic dilemmas are so complex and inter-connected that predictable and disconnected conversations just can’t keep our attention or inspire any confidence. Comfortable conversations with no edge to them won’t challenge us enough to learn from each other…nor will they provide us with the creative juices to find new out-of-the-box solutions to our urgent and important problems. We need some grand visions and powerful networking to bring the voices of all people into […] (continue)

Deliberative Agility

[The post below was originally written a couple weeks ago…but it appears to be even more relevant now as Congress edges closer to a vote on raising the debt ceiling. Can we make our deliberative community even more agile and responsive in these times when critical decisions are moving so quickly?] The TV ad said it well, “Life comes at you fast.” Well, these days…politics comes at you fast too! It was just last week that Rep. Paul Ryan debuted his $6 trillion budget plan…and today the House of […] (continue)

Trusting the Public

Soon, we need to decide whether we’re willing to trust the public…or not. On the surface, this may seem to be a very simple dilemma to resolve:  “Of course we trust the public!” But…many of our federal and state legislative battles today boil down to this question: how much do we trust the general public? Money is choices! When money is systematically taken from the general public, and placed in the hands of our wealthiest capitalists, we’re choosing to trust this elite group with our […] (continue)

Corporations Cannot Govern

Corporations and governments have very different goals and motivations. Over the past few decades, these natural differences have become increasingly blurred in the eyes of politicians and the public…and some very disturbing consequences of this trend can now be seen. It’s time to drop the illusion that business strategies will work in effective public governance. In addition, I believe it’s time to drop the illusion that corporate skill is the panacea for our public policy dilemmas. Corporations do what they do very well…but we don’t […] (continue)

Stepping Up

It’s an historic day for Egypt and for the world. But…when Egypt’s President Mubarak ‘stepped down’…we have to wonder who will be ‘stepping up.’ Of course, we’re hoping to see allsegments of the Egyptian population to ‘step up’ equally, but this is not likely. It’s not likely, because many will not have equal choice to ‘step up’…and it’s not likely, because many will not see it’s their responsibility to ‘step up.’ There is a great uncertainty today, even in the midst of jubilant celebrations. In […] (continue)

The ‘Right-size’ of Government

All government programs have a basis in human need and community sustainability. From deep within us, the better part of our humanity calls us to care about our neighbors’ well-being so the social fabric that sustains us and enriches us does not tear irreparably. Through years of dilemmas and solutions, an evolving governmental layering has institutionalized our systemic concerns into departments and agencies with huge responsibilities and budgets. It was inevitable that one day we would have to take a closer look at our values […] (continue)

Democratic Principles

We’re face-to-face again with our love-hate relationship with democratic principles. While politicians, pundits and everyday citizens love to extol the value of participatory governance in the United States and around the world, our foreign policy has focused on American ‘interests’ rather than democratic principles. It’s not surprising this week that Egyptian President Mubarak’s administration is under siege…after decades of democratic neglect and dictatorial power. If Tunisia is followed by Egypt in governmental disruption, the old 60s-era ‘domino theory’ of successive governmental takeovers will be a […] (continue)

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The TV show, Cheers, ran for eleven seasons during the 80s and early 90s with a tagline that made everyone feel good…‘where everybody knows your name.’ A group of unlikely friends went through some good times and some bad times while making us laugh…and these characters became part of our lives, because we knew their names too! Like most really successful TV shows, it captured some important components of society…so the public could inspect and appreciate them in a user-friendly format. In Cheers, the characters […] (continue)

Hope for the Next Generations

Our young people need some public engagement tools for the really tough decisions that face them. Today I was completing a survey about the future challenges of our children and youth…completing a colleague’s deliberative survey, because she’d already completed mine. My wife and I are very blessed to have six amazing grandchildren — and as I completed the survey about their future, I was picturing them 20 years from now, having to face some hugely complex and troubling public problems. How will they be able […] (continue)

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