Crowd sourcing the solutions to Ireland’s woes…

Right, it must be becoming obvious to readers of Slugger O’Toole that the two parts of this island are in now two very different pyschological states of mind. Whilst the Stormont administration appears to be ignoring a £1 billion deficit in current accounts, the Department of Finance in the Republic is predicting a spend of €700 per southern head in Northern Ireland, the search for a solution, any solution to the southern economic problems are getting increasingly desperate creative… World by Storm dissects the reasoning behind Aileen O’Toole’s one woman crusade to crowd source solutions to the Republic’s current malaise The Ideas Campaign… Good idea, but as WBS comments, despite the impressive list of patrons, that well, “it’s not that its nothing, it’s just that it’s so little.”

It’s not that I’m dismissive of new approaches, or indeed using the internet as a tool to deal with the recession. But I suspect that its utility will develop organically and in ways we can’t easily predict, not in this sort of an enterprise.

But as with the call for ‘national government’ this seems to me to be indicative of a hope that there are simple, relatively painless and easily implemented short-cuts from our present situation to a better one. It’s almost identical in its proposition that ‘normal’ political activity is irrelevant and that somehow by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps all will be well.

It is very similar in its implicit assumption that those who are successful in ‘business’ are somehow able to transfer that ’success’ to the vastly more complex area of running an advanced capitalist economy. I think (and I know ejh of these parts has also made this very point) that that is a dangerously simplistic assumption and one that has been shown time and again to be flawed, not least in the very evident inability of large numbers of capitalist ‘leaders’ both here and abroad to run their own enterprises successfully and their continual resort to state and government.

Added to that I think it ignores or misunderstands the very nature of government within a state and what governments and states do and can do. And despite the fact that our present government is of the right that does not in and of itself detract from its potential, what ever about its ability, to activism.

There is a need for some kind of creative sourcing of new ideas into what often feels like a stale debate amongst the usual suspects in the Irish MSM… The UK too, for all its size and copious provision of think tanks have an enormous shortfall in fresh ideas…

In this case, you have to admire the ambition, not to mention the capacity to muster such a substantial roll call of support… But WBS is dead right when he notes, that the solutions – when and if they come – will need to be many and various, and the instruments to catch them will not be quite as broad and ‘catch all’ as this one…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty