There’s a lot Already Visible, if you Look Around #49 #cong20
Discussing new ideas is a very vital process for us all to take part in. But, so is the search for living examples of Society 3.0 already taking shape. Spreading the word is equally important. Democracy and political parties need your support, so please: DEFEND DEMOCRACY – GET INVOLVED!
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- Vienna is working-example of a 3.0 city
- Profit should not automatically be the primary motive in every project
- Social Democracy needs a fresh vision and impulse
- Start searching for those already experimenting with Society 3.0
About Alec Taylor:
After a career in Radio and TV in Germany and in the UK, I set up a Communication Skills and Creativity training company. I now work part-time as an individual consultant, coach and trainer, in English and German. Currently I am working on a coaching-session to help those wanting to make a more professional impact online.
Contacting Alec Taylor:
You can contact Alec by email.
By Alec Taylor
A civic example of a form of “SOCIETY 3.0” exists already in our present world. I am talking about the city of Vienna, the Austrian capital (and for centuries the heart of an empire encompassing a large part of central, eastern and south-eastern Europe.) For the last 101 years the city has been run, planned, extended and maintained by Social Democrats – less of course the War years.
In recent years, it has been rated several times as the “best city in the World to live in”.
I can confirm that personally. I have had the privilege of living there for a total of 25 years. During that time, as a result of being a Media Trainer (something of a novelty in Austria back then), I gained access to most of the leading institutions at the highest level. Back in the 90’s. this allowed me to observe the workings of its political and institutional systems close up, to see from the inside why it is that Vienna has gained its enviable reputation. To sum up what I concluded, I would quote the title of Mary Robinson’s autobiography “Everybody Matters”.
Two Christmases in a row, I worked as a volunteer at a hostel for homeless women and witnessed at first hand how this is put into practice.
A month ago, Vienna’s Social Democrats won the local election again – not outright. They will need a junior coalition partner but their dominance will remain. Because of their long hold on power, it is sometimes the Junior partner who comes up with the “Society 3.0” idea. For example, a few years back the city’s impressive public transport system was extended and a new yearly tariff was being set. As it was now a larger system with an investment to be re-couped, most voices in the City Hall said the annual fee should go up to say € 350 (from €300). However it was a Green politician (representing their then junior coalition partner) in the meeting who said “No, we should lower the price to make it more attractive, to get more people using it!”
She won the argument, the annual fee was dropped to €250……and guess what?…..more people than ever before started using the ‘new’ public transport system and the net income for the local government was well above what had been budgeted. Daring and counter-intuitive, but it worked.
I haven’t read Yanis Varouvakis’s new book “ANOTHER NOW” in which – in which as a reviewer says – “the economist Varouvakis imagines a future transformed by Covid-19 and sketches a daring vision of democratic socialism.” However, I do intend to watch a Webinar next Monday evening organized by the GUARDIAN with a summary from him of what he says in the book.
Regarding Varouvakis, it’s interesting to note his close link to PROGRESSIVE INTERNATIONAL. To quote directly from their website:
“In December 2018, the Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25) and the Sanders Institute issued an open call to all progressive forces to form a common front.
“It is time for progressives of the world to unite.”
Progressive International takes up that call. We unite, organise, and mobilise progressive forces behind a shared vision of a world transformed.”
To finish, I’d like to draw attention to another new movement seeking to act in this spirit. They call themselves the “ZEBRAS UNITE COOP ”– their vision is “Entrepreneurship that serves everyone”. They see themselves as the direct opposite of the so-called ‘Unicorns’.
…and I’d like to mention an author, innovator and changemaker (in all matters to do with social welfare). Her name is Hilary Cottam, based in London. She has developed design-led approaches to Public Service Reform. For example, in 2006, Hilary started Participle a ten-year experiment to develop new models of welfare in collaboration with communities and local government across Britain.
In conclusion, the many attempts to create a SOCIETY 3.0 already underway get little publicity and that needs addressing.