Theme/Session proposal: Architectures of love - policy vs culture in creating the conditions for #opencare

I’d like to propose a theme that I’ve been curious about for some time. How do we create the conditions for #opencare in our organisations and our communities? How do we design communities and organisations that are care-full, and promote health and flourishing? I’m curious about the interplay between policy and culture (as in ways of doing things rather than music and art). Are policies simply agreements about what we think works and what is right at any given time? Moreover how are they implemented at government or regional levels and in organisations, if they are to be more than good intentions? Do they end up needing enforced or policed by someone? Are they a tool of old ways of doing things built on hierarchy and power over? What role can they play in creating the conditions for opencare or for that matter for love and acceptance and generating the sense of coherence that Antonovsky describes in salutogenesis and its approach to study what creates health and well being rather than researching dis-ease?

My work through the GalGael Trust based in the Govan area of Glasgow has offered some hints that actively generating a healthy culture is perhaps more effective in achieving in an anchored way the ‘good intentions’ of policy. Strong values guide actions, decisions and behaviour, influence language and how we treat one another. Our workshop sees people working, for the most, part side by side. We’ve had people with violent histories, people who suffer agoraphobia, depression and addiction. Yet something about the space we’ve created has meant that people largely get on, there’ve been no violent incidents in our 20 year history and people describe their doctor taking them off medication, sometimes for the first time in many years.

It’s not a silver bullet. People lapse. They fall back in to the darkness at times. But there is something undeniable about the environment we’ve created and actively generate that has a therapeutic affect. While some of our participants and volunteers have said ‘the work is the therapy’ - this refers to the hands on purpose they find in their labours not the work we do with them. So is this as a result of policy or culture? What is it that creates the conditions for an environment of open care? How do we understand the architectures of love that are called for to create a more care-full society?

We’ve recently spent a year curating a collaborative process to explore what it means to ‘be GalGael’. It saw us going back to our beginnings and drawing on the learning from our days as an anti-motorway protest camp. We wrestled with our assumptions - which were shared and which were disputed? We explored whether our purpose was actually underneath it all - to bring about greater love. This contributes to our being in a good place to explore this theme more widely in our own organisation and its practical application in more depth.

Through the process we would like to connect and learn from other organisations exploring this theme.

What kind of structures and processes are essential building blocks or make up the ’hardware’?

What kind internal capacities and approaches make up the ‘software’ that keep a healthy organisation, healthy community or healthy societies humming with human flourishing?

The theme could also link to other themes that explore how we create the conditions such as:

  • citizens income and the politics of time;

  • nature of collaboration and how we exercise our freedoms and capacities;

  • the nature of work in care-full societies;

  • forms of leadership and personal capacity called for.

I’m very new to Edgeryders and I’ve not had much time to develop this so would appreciate feedback and thoughts as to whether this might be a theme of interest to others.

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Creating the conditions for opencare: in for the long haul

Hi @gehan it is a pleasure to meet you, welcome!

I’ve heard great things about the work in Glasgow from Nadia, and would be interested in zooming in this overarching care theme during our festival later in the year. The reason for me personally is obvious: being a community manager here at edgeryders, the core of my work goes into creating the conditions for care, in a community and organisation: whether it’s trying to forge new relationships and learning, creating meaningful work for those of us not willing to compromise to an exploitative job market but needing to find resilience in precarity, or just being on the margins somehow socioeconomically but also health wise, or culturally. I realise more and more how ambitious this is and how we need to be in it for decades to understand how it can shift things broadly, culturally or in policy, like you say - doing things differently, rewiring ourselves etc.

Some projects and wonderful people I know which you might want to consider connecting with, mainly because they go deep into rewiring communities:

  • Woodbine Health Autonomy Center in nyc (meet @Woodbinehealth !) collective and info/educational center asserting the need to regain control over our health, move away from institutionalized healthcare which addresses only localised, symptomatic problems in the paradigm of the individualist modern society. They are pretty up front: "We do not reject modern methods of medicine, but rather recognize the need to detach the knowledge from the oppressive institutions that guard it." 
  • Access Space in Sheffield, and more so @James who was part of the early group and now moved on to doing something else. The space is a digital lab and computer repair workshop (and a lot of creative activities!) which provided skills and potential for greater inclusion for thousands of people at the margins of the socioeconomic spectrum. The social cohesion returns at the community level seemed to be outstanding too. Again, what stayed with me over the years is this very uncompromising view: "We realise now that the most valuable technology that is being discarded by our society is PEOPLE. We are seeing talented, skilled people unmobilised, and we think that this is a criminal waste."
  • The Book of Community by @lasindias - a South American - Spanish and cosmopolitan collective focusing on productive economic work : I appreciated this running the long race and coming up with deep insights about how communities learn together first and foremost, even before claiming to produce ambitious aims or solve societal issues. Change is in the very fabric of our relationships.. they say it much more eloquently than I can, of course!
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Something Else?

Hi @noemi! You mentioned that I’m now doing “something else” after I left Access Space. Indeed! In a sense I am doing a very similar thing - but with a different business model and emphasis.

I left Access Space just after we’d delivered an incredibly successful EU funded project: Sheffield Community Network. The project’s overarching objective was to create jobs and social enterprises in the Sheffield City Region, and my particular role was to investigate the local employment potential of digital making technologies, give support to local enterprises that were investing in these processes, and help understand what positive local impacts could come out of engagement with 3D Print, Lasercutting, CNC, Digital Embriodery and so on.

We (Access Space) were a minor partner, receiving less than 5% of the project budget - yet one of our clients, who we helped to prototype a key product, has created more jobs than the WHOLE PROGRAMME’S OBJECTIVE. How were we thanked for this? We had our budget cut.

That led me to feel that there is no future in publicly-funded programmes, particularly when they involve asymmetric power relationships - a local authority, for example, can simply dictate to minor partners how a budget will be deployed. This is partnership in name only,

So, I and my wife Lisa started “Makers” - a high-street shop which combines digital making and traditional craft activities with upcycling and re-use. Our objective is to take the lessons I learned from my research at Access Space, and deploy it in a context that’s completely self-sustaining. Our logic is that, in these increasingly reactionary times, public money will not be available to help localities, so we’ll need to make sure that what we do works on a completely commercial basis. This means that job number one is to SELL! Every other objective can only be realised after we understand exactly how to relocalise manufacture SUSTAINABLY.

If we can find this path, then the potential for replication is obvious. If not, I fear that the new “maker economy” will be so much hot air, and digital making will suck resources out of localities and neighbourhoods, just as have so many other waves of supposedly “decentralising” technologies.

“Makers” has a website here: http://makersontheedge.com. We sell things that we and local people have made, plus interesting old, curious and unique things that we acquire. What we don’t sell is mass manufactured stuff. We also run craft and making workshops. Oh, and if you want to come and visit, and maybe to a Makers residency, we have a self-contained flat above the shop which we rent on AirBNB here! https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/13081880?preview

We’re currently involved in a Horizon 2020 project, researching ways to introduce making into junior schools, encouraging engagement with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and we’d welcome collaborations with other research projects. Hope to see some Edgeryders here in Sheffield soon!

All the best,

James

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Thinking alike: work/home coommunity space model

@James welcome back!

Whoa, funding cuts due to being 'too successful" sounds like a familiar story - edgeryders at the end of our Council of Europe journey, could have gone for longer if incentives were better aligned, but in the end it might be better like this: an independent spinoff is probably an even better story. If you have blogged somewhere about the details of the affair, or the promising results, I’d be interested in reading.

We’ll come visit with the first occasion - i dont know if you’ve seen this, but we’ve just moved in a common work/home space in Brussels, also with a guest room / AirBnb and a view on achieving resilience by creating more sustainable lifestyle and work. @Alberto just blogged about it here. Much to learn I think-  this year’s event has a specific focus on community acquired and owned assets - from property to others… October 19-21, in Brussels. Really hope to see you, if not earlier.

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Always great to hear from you

@James :slight_smile:

Just one small thing: OpenCare is indeed a Horizon 2020 project (official landing page with all the logos, bells and whistles: http://opencare.cc). How could we, concretely, collaborate? Maybe you want to connect with @WinniePoncelet , spearheading a project to make an open source process to produce human insulin. Among other things, Winnie is putting together a session on citizen science in care at an event OpenCare is organising, called OpenVillage. Does this sound interesting to your junior school crowd?

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Horizon 2020 Collaboration? Perhaps a Future Project?

Hi @Alberto,

I suspect that we should understand these two projects as running in parallel, rather than collaboratively. MakEY (the project we’re a partner in) is 100% focused on early years kids, devising workshops to help teachers gain confidence and skills to lead higher value making sessions for 5-8 year-olds, hopefully enthusing them with STEM. We’re looking to have fun with robots, drawing, moulding things, playing with conductive materials and electricity; then we aim to develop best practices which we can disseminate to other school environments. A further objective may be to understand what kind of “makerspace” could be accommodated inside a school. As you’ll no doubt be aware, there’s an EU-wide problem with retaining young people in STEM learning, and this will put us in a poor position to compete globally, and make best use of the new transformations in manufacture.

From our point-of-view at “Makers”, our interest in making extends into the enterprises that making enables. We welcome the strategic engagement with making that MakEY suggests - but we also question whether the new, high-tech jobs that relocalised manufacture suggest are really real, or another digital illusion. If relocalised manufacture means nothing more than an “automated manufacture pod” attached to each supermarket, that robotically creates objects on demand from a centralised database, then, frankly, it is of little interest. While it may have some environmental advantages, it will only serve further to centralise wealth and employment. Only if relocalised manufacture reinvigorates locally-owned enterprises, bringing high skill, high quality jobs into neighbourhoods, will it have a positive economic effect, and only if it can help to relocalise the act of invention itself will it be a positive force on a cultural level.

Meanwhile, of course, I have studiously avoided the implications of the B-word. However, as Britain dusts off its application to join the Third World, it’d be a very positive thing for us to build some bridges with our friends from the future. Any suggestions?

All the best,

James

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Ouch!

This wins the award for bleakest B-word take i’ve read this weak.

“Meanwhile, of course, I have studiously avoided the implications of the B-word. However, as Britain dusts off its application to join the Third World, it’d be a very positive thing for us to build some bridges with our friends from the future. Any suggestions?”

Sounds like you’ve got a solid start on making positive changes though.

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Agreed on all counts

Yes, OpenCare + MaKEY does not seem a good match.

But yes, building bridges is good. In fact, that’s why Nadia was in Glasgow to begin with – @Luke_Devlin started building the Scottish end, and we wanted to walk our bit of it, at least symbolically. We would love to work with you, @James .

I do not have a concrete idea at the moment. Will need to think about it more.

Some hellos

Hello @Noemi thanks for your response. Good this strikes a chord. Looking forward to learning from your experience too.

Thanks for the heads up on other projects. There’s a lot of inspirational work taking place that we’re keen to do more connecting up with beyond those we collaborate with in Glasgow and other areas of Scotland.

Hello @James - it looks like our work here in Glasgow has quite a bit in common with your work in Access Space and Makers although we’ve not quite gone digital yet. I agree that publicly-funded activity is limited in a number of ways and we’ve been similarly burned in partnerships in the past. Our organisation has survived a number of cuts and financial challenges and nearly didn’t make it after our EU employability funding came to an end after 7 years in 2012 (though I personally find the employability agenda deeply problematic). We started building a number of diverse income streams after that to create greater financial stability for the future. These have grown to become our trading subsidiary and we are trying to integrate the learning and development work we do with enterprise activities.

Making the ‘numbers look pretty’ (and less in the red!) has been tough and we’re at a point where we don’t know if we can make it work. We see clear potential but what happens as people have less money to spend? My hunch is that for localised manufacturing to work we need structural measures to offset the realities of the global marketplace and explore ways of interfacing and contributing to the growth of non-monetary economies.

If I’m down in Sheffield I’d like to stop in. If you’re in Glasgow please pop by.

Hello @Alberto, I enjoyed your Spawning the Reef blog post. Reminds me of Ivan Illich’s Tools for Conviviality; the big machines we created - perhaps health and social care institutions are the best examples of this - no longer serve humanity. In our own workshops, in watching how people positively respond to being needed instead of being ‘treated’ - I cannot help feel strongly that more than services, people need to be themselves needed - part of their solution. Too many of the ways our societies are set up make this difficult. Margaret Wheatley said “A life well lived is one in which we each find an opportunity to give our gifts rather than have our needs met.” and in my experience communal spaces create more opportunities for this to happen and meet more of the spectrum of human needs that our current divided lives make possible.

Go well

Gehan

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Hello back

Great to meet you @Gehan , Nadia speaks highly of you.

I do not have nearly your experience around care, so I’ll defer to your judgment as to people’s emotional needs. We started looking into care beccause, frankly, it keeps getting in the way. We are always trying to build something (an online community, a consulting business, a space for life and work… ). Building is hard, and normally underpaid because no one wants to pay for the costs of coordination and the risk-taking phase when you are building, but the thing you are building is not yielding its expected benefit because it’s not finished. So people keep burning out, or having to take long breaks, or otherwise dropping the ball. That affects everyone else, is unfair on the tougher people who keep grinding it with less support, and fragilises everything we do.

This is ust my own personal  take, mind you. But me, I am too much of an economist not to see the efficiency gains of involving everyone, being super-flexible as to the form in which different people contribute. The Reef has a calming, burnout-preventing effect on us simply because being in one live-work place allows us to support each other in more ways. If I am exhausted, or pissed off, I can share whatever I do to flush the ad stuff out of my system: if I feel like cooking a meal I can offer you to cook for you too (or help me, if you feel like cooking too). If I feel lik going for  run or a long walk I can invite you. It costs exactly nothing. But occasionally it will be just what you need: taking a break, regenerating a bit. We have already noticed how we are working fewer hours, and cutting out exactly the worktime where we are most stressed or tired – the worktime that does not produce anything. Compare the economics of this with those of bringing in a top-heavy professional system of counseling and treatment.

I have not read Illich, but yes, “conviviality” does emerge. We are trying to build to little traditions: the Thursday evening dinner in the house, an open brunch on the last Sunday of the month. We hang out. We take our time. We try to stop our colleagues and friends from breaking for trying too hard. We go on.

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:slight_smile:

Hi @gehan

very interesting approach to care, it has been refreshing to read your words.

Have you, by any chance, read this https://aeon.co/ideas/descartes-was-wrong-a-person-is-a-person-through-other-persons or anything along the line, recently? There is a renewed interest in the role of social inclusion (or lack thereof) as the root rather than the consequence of mental health challenges… And I very much like that you suggest to connect the topic to reflections about the hyped citizenship income, and the nature of work. How do we envision the future of our societies, within the frame of our bias for autonomy, freedom, and independence?

Looking forward to reading more about your GalGael :slight_smile:

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‘being happens in the space between the self and the world’

Thanks @markomanka - this link is interesting. I love what it says about Ubuntu philosophy; “I am because we are, and since we are, therefore I am.” Growing the sense of ‘we’ is so fundamental to every other generative and evolutionary human project - at least to my understanding so far. I think of it as our ‘collective muscle’ - our ability to think on behalf of the whole. And this muscle has become so emaciated by the experiences of modernity. Its not simply about ‘being together’ or connecting - virtually or physically. It has a markedly different quality. The Misak indigenous peoples of Columbia seem to take this to a whole other level. When we co-hosted a workshop with one of their elders late last year, I was really drawn in by their descriptions of the collective consciousness and how this only came about and was sustained by active engagement in Minga (collective work). You’ll get a sense of the clarity of their thinking here: http://www.lifemosaic.net/eng/tol/life-plan/ though I don’t think they mention Minga in this video.

I don’t get so much time to read so am a bit ignorant of Descartes thinking but am very familiar with its consequences for humanity and guess I have read enough on that! The problems of the modern mind… one of the things I most enjoyed learning in the last three years was that we have three brains - observable by a surgeon - discovered about 100 years ago - but forgotten because we are blind to facts that don’t support dominant world views - in this case the myth of hierarchy (there can only be one brain)! But also perhaps the dictatorship of mind as our primary sensing capacity.

I love this quote too; “Instead, being is an act or event that must happen in the space between the self and the world.”

We hear a lot in our line of work - this guy has low self esteem - or this woman lacks self confidence. I now see from reading the article you sent that this is itself based on Cartesian thinking. And I think it goes way beyond loss of self esteem etc - I think we’ve been observing the people arriving at our door with profound loss of all sense of self. The article you sent helps to describe why that might be. Sense of self is coproduced in forming a sense of collective.

Perhaps these offer new frames through which it might be more helpful to understand the mental health challenges of modernity. Afternow have done some really interesting research on this: http://www.afternow.co.uk

Thank you for sharing these insights…

confidence

I love the next to last paragraph of this post, @Gehan even though the reality of solving the problem of building confidence (especially in our adolescent girls) still escapes me.

The image you start with here, building boats, of course is one great way, by making things and helping others make things.   I would love to make a sailboat!  (Passing on ideas for public health and developing ways for people to look in their own cells for signs of trouble is one of my key preoccupations, btw.)

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conditions for empathy?

I’m wondering about what “the conditions for opencare” might mean in practice.

On the one hand, maybe some aspects of care have no conditions other than a person who cares in an appropriate and relevant way. But practically speaking, how do we create the conditions where there is a positive cycle of care: where one person’s care of another results in the second person being able to care more, and so on.

I’m glad you named the purpose “to bring about greater love”. That comes across to me as having a deep and strong foundation.

On a practical, psychological level, my own experience is that if I care for people who don’t share my values to some extent, it can be dispiriting. Like giving to people who believe only in taking, and not giving back, can be very taxing. So one thing, which is no different from what you have said, in different ways perhaps, is to bring people together in a community where people share the values of caring for others, giving back, giving forward, or something similar. People who want greater love in the world, and not just for themselves!

I believe there are many skills, relevant to this, that can be learned. Or if not learned, then maybe picked up from living in a culture where they are norms, through a process you could call “enculturation”. So is at least part of what we are talking about here to do with learning the skills and habits of caring, and those behaviours being positively reinforced – to use a phrase which sounds quite wrong in some ways?

Looking forward to reading more

Simon

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Reciprocity

There is a long-term reciprocity lurking behind this community stuff.

It’s totally OK, even a pleasure, to cover for someone. It can even be someone that never covers for you, as long as she covers for other people in the space (however you define its borders). So it is network reciprocity. But if you get the idea that someone is a free rider, then covering for her is not so OK anymore. It can only be OK if you really live in abundance, and it does not matter. But most of us are a long way from there.

Community care takes away the externality of health care (“the person that demands the care is not the person who is footing the bill”, as @Lakomaa likes to say). Tradeoffs become very explicit. The best example I have seen of this is the discussion of health care in Amish communities in the US. Amish refuse insurance (“it de-responsabilises people”). So, when a person gets sick, the church collects alms to help her front expenses. But this might happen at a time when the community might be facing other expenses (“setting up a farm for a young couple”). The community needs to decide what to do. The bottom line is: Amish people focus on preventative health care, because it’s irt cheap and effective, and if they fall sick they are imposing a burden (however welcome) on their brothers and sisters. In other words, though the individuals are generous, the community does the economically efficient thing! The whole story is here

Additionally, the cultural evolution theorists like Wilson claim that we are hardwired to find and drive out free riders because of evolutionary pressure at the level of the group. This theory is super-fascinating, and deserves its own discussion, so I will just leave it here. It might help to explain why you prefer to help people who share your values. 

a new paradigm for care

Hi Simon (@asimong),

Thanks for your thoughts. What I’m meaning by ‘conditions’ is more the environment, the enabling factors - rather than ‘contractual conditions’. For me it connects to new understandings about the kind of leadership called for by emergent and uncertain times - leaders as architects, creating the containers for things to happen, self organise in a desirable way - rather than the old command and control models. I particularly love Margaret Wheatley’s early work on this area.

What might these look like in practice? I think it will be a combination of the factors you go on to mention; culture, values, new skills, awarenesses and practices. That is what I’m keen to explore as part of this theme of open care. There seems to be (particularly in this area of the public sector) an over-emphasis on interventions and policies that are quite entrenched in a command-and-control mindset. What is called for to engable self-organising, citizen-led responses to welfare needs of our fellow citizens? Also how this might pull the wider structures of our society and the non-health determinants of human flourishing in to formations that are less likely to deplete and more likely to generate greater heatlh.

I’m still trying to articulate this theme clearly enough so as to connect with others engaged in connected work who may be open to contributing a session at the Open Village in October. Do you know of anyone that would be worth contacting?

thanks

Tbe Peckham Experiment

@gehan, have you read about the Peckham Experiment? Pioneer Health Centre. I think a few people here have read about it. Was a long time ago, mind you. 1930s, 1950s I think. Googling it should work. Anyway, it might be a useful reference point. That still had the actual doctors on site, but health was generated by the people in that well-designed environment.

So I’m not saying it can’t happen, just that I see the best way as environment plus culture plus skills.

Simon

Thanks, I think my use of the word ‘environment’ is really not working for you - perhaps better to substitute this with ‘enabling factors’. Think of it like a petri dish - what is needed to cultivate care? Though yes, architecture & space have an impact.

The Peckham Experiment sounds a bit like the Bromley By Bow Centre which I visited last year. They have a GP surgery on site but its very much integrated with a range of other activities - from a cafe providing employment and offering food prepared from Fair Share donations to workshop and artists space.

It also stems from our own observations in our work - which kind of took a permaculture take on what was working for the people who had been engaged in our project over the years. What was very obvious was that it was the settings and ‘environment’ created in the workspace that was as important as the work we were doing. So for example, creating spaces ‘round a kitchen table’ was conducive to peer support as opposed to professional support. I like the notion of ‘networked reciprocity’ @Alberto mentions. We’ve been calling it frameworks of social solidarity.

This led me to propose this theme with a hope of connecting up with others who share some curiousity about this and related topics. I’m also particularly struck by the amount of energy that goes in to forming or influencing policy. This seems to be an instrument of an old world view that imagined human progress would lead us to predicting everything. What would be a) a more productive use of people’s time and b) contribute to improved outcomes in relation to the often laudable intentions behind these policies? In Scotland, I see this happening on a national level - recently there was an academic paper published on the failed regeneration policies pursed over the last 30-40 years, costing millions of public money that have left the deprived areas that were targeted still at the bottom of the league table. But also in our own organisation, policy responses to issues such as addiction seem a little useless. What do other responses look like? Citizen led responses that include a rich mix of culture, values, new skills, awarenesses and practices. How do we work with this more skillfully?

Appreciate your thoughts and experiences. If you’re ever in Scotland/Glasgow - stop in for a walk round our workshop & a chat.

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Enabling factors and policy

Thanks, @gehan. I value the focus on what is actually found to work in practice for real people. And it’s often hard to isolate what, in general, are enabling factors, and what is just accident, that makes little difference. Then there’s the added complication that people sometimes differ greatly in how they work. We can see this in education as well as work. What works to motivate one person might turn another one off.

I’ll rephrase what I was trying to say earlier, in the hope it might help. I do think that we can consider a few different kinds of enabling factors for #opencare.

  1. The skills, attitudes, competences, knowledge, experience, etc. of individuals involved.
  2. The designed environment, in the sense of the Peckham Experiment etc., but also including public spaces, communal spaces, sizes and geometry of living spaces (indoors and outdoors) and how their relative location
  3. The culture of care -- related to what Denis Postle calls the "psycommons"
  4. The designed opportunities for interaction, engagement, collaboration -- like your populated 'spaces round a kitchen table'.

“Policy” – what a hard word indeed. I think we would all agree that a policy statement can be no more than an empty promise; and that misguided policy can be worse than no policy. I can well believe that the policies for regeneration or addiction you refer to could have been misguided.

But I wouldn’t want to dismiss the efforts of policymakers altogether. Maybe policy can act as a reminder to concrete effective actions? A point for coordination? Or are you trying to say that there is something inherently wrong with policymaking at present? Maybe it’s too much (a) embroiled in politics and (b) too “top-down”. Maybe we could have a policy that states that all policies are to be developed from the bottom up? Or that certain areas should be kept deliberately free of policy?

If you really think that policymaking is essentially flawed, then maybe you’re thinking that our current mechanisms of government are fundamentally flawed, and I wouldn’t disagree. Similar flaws appear at national and European levels. What we do about that is another matter. Happy to discuss…

Radical monopolies & living systems

This is very useful thanks @asimong… I particularly like your categorisation of enabling factors. I hadn’t come across Denis Postle’s work before but looks like there are some good leads to follow up there. It resonates with Ivan Illich’s critique in Tools for Conviviality - dominance of technocratic elites and radical monopolies in the field of ‘mutual caring, rapport and cooperation’ to use a phrase from the psyCommons backstory. I particularly love Illich’s description of the kitchen table in his interviews with Caley as being a place of recovering what our modern universities have lost in the “search for truth”. “Friendship is required first, the search for truth is based on the creation of the ‘we’.”

My questions on policy are not intended to dismiss the efforts of policymakers. My interest is more in how we gain a better understanding of the limits of policy as a tool or instrument to ensure wiser use of range of tools and practices which will achieve the desired outcomes of policy. In writing this response I’m reminded of two things. One something Michael Spence (of Schumacher College) wrote in After Capitalism about what happens to laws when they become written - which I must dig out and re-read as I think this might connect to a particular limit of policy. The other Margaret Wheatley’s book A Simpler Way, which as you may know, unpacks the obsession of the so-called civilized world, dating back to Victorian times with the world descending into chaos without man imposing order - while new science is revealing that order is a natural tendency and that we need to get better at how we work with that so as not to disrupt it. So I guess another way of coming at the question could be: what do policies look like that support natural responses to care and welfare rather than prescribe interventions and methods? Policies that are more generative in relation to those enabling factors you’ve outlined. And beyond this… perhaps something fundamental about how we reconfigure the role of the State from a living systems perspective.

thanks again