Saturday, June 6, 2015

Rural Revitalization - Policy Matters

The heartening thing about government is that good policy does good things. The disheartening thing about government is that good policy in nearly an anomalous event. The primary causal agent in corrupting policy is that the majority of policy is generated out of a conflicted space and directed at satisfying the largest special interests with the largest cohorts – this is the curse of democracy. (Democracy is the best of a bad bunch as Winston Churchill taught us).  I have blogged extensively on how to get a good policy and the governance modalities related to good policy, I offer this statement here to make the point that, what has been missing for Rural Revitalization has been good policy.
Due to the reality that governments in Canada are dependent on “the majority” there is a triad that seems to get all the air – big government, big business and big labour – they are after all where the key votes are. The fragmentation of real majority, small business, labour of small business and the artisans only serves to exacerbate this reality. I even quake a little when I say this because I know, no matter what one does, one is affected by one element of this triad. We need the “bigs”, I’m happy to support their presence, however, when governments allow them to get the policy air, “they” satisfy their interests, and oft times that is at the expense of good policy – good policy from the perspective of maximum prosperity and concern with ancillary policy directives, perhaps the most important of which is the environment.

When entering into the process of creating policy, it is critical to build policy on the foundation of maximum benefit – rather than on influence from labour interests or corporatist pressure; this is the hall mark of good leadership. Good leadership expends effort in assessing issues or resource allocation in the context of the maximum benefit for their respective jurisdiction. It maybe the corporatist/labour interests is the highest and best use of resources - if that is the case – that is the direction to take.

Let me contrast two policy platforms to illustrate the point – homestead acts in North America mid 18th Century and Soviet Agricultural Policy.  In the mid 18th Century the US and Canadian governments offered the people of the world an extraordinary thing, the opportunity to “own” their own land. People from all over Europe endured unimaginable hardship to be landowners or fee agents – a dream they would die for and many did. The result of homestead policies was the population of remote lands by people, people got their “dream” of “freedom” – an unsuppressed life and ownership. Today, I have read accounts that in excess of 25% of the US net worth is attributable to the homestead policies of the mid 18th Century. When you give people ownership, they prosper. Contrast that if you will, with Soviet Agricultural Policy, where state collectives let potatoes rot in the field. The Chinese government did one thing, they said to farmers, the land you’re on is yours’ to use and you get the benefit of your Labour, that choice alone had yields triple in three years. When you give people ownership, they give you a collection of strong and independent people, most importantly however, they give community.

Perhaps the best illustration of this point is BC’s Forest policy, I invite you to read my blog on the subject to gain insight into the value of good policy – policy that puts resources in the hands of people with extended interest.

Click the Link Below - BC Forest Tenure Reform.

Post a Comment