“Skin in the Game”, or “What the HELL are you climate activist breeders waiting for?”

Disclaimer: Am semi-smashed on G and T, and missing the wondrous Mrs Towers. Now, this.

What in Gaia’s name are you waiting for, you climate activists with kids? Do you think they will forgive you your cowardice, ten years hence? Do you think they will think that your “change the system from within” and your “didn’t rock the boat because I was afraid of the financial consequences” will cut any ice when the ice has all melted?

I don’t have kids. I have no “skin in the game.”(1) I got my tubes tied almost a decade ago. Because I knew it would come to this. And guess what – it is coming to this even quicker than I thought, and I am a notorious catastrophiser.

What the hell are you waiting for? You who talk about your young children, or your grandchildren? Do you think they will forgive you? Do you think your smugospheric circle-jerk will absolve you?

We are headed for the catastrophes now. They are locked in. You KNOW this. We are left with the slender hope of developing habits of honesty, of transparency, of resourcefulness.  That means we have to build credibility between those who pretend to govern and the governed NOW.

And still you collude in the bureaucratic games. The soothing (to who? Really, in the grand scheme of things – who is soothed, except your worst instincts?) drone of “difficult political environment”, of “mustn’t rock the boat…”  Your meetings in secret, your “decisions” and “actions” (hah!!!) unminuted.  Your “refreshes” are putrid.  Those who know the refreshes are putrid yet will not speak up are most culpable of all. You have not the excuse of ignorance.

The boat that you will not rock has hit the iceberg. You KNOW this. You know it, and yet you just will not try to change the game, change the rules of the game. Or even change the way the game is currently being played.  And what do you think your children, whom you do love so dearly, will think when they come to know?

And yet you claim moral status from being “involved,” of “knowing,” of “trying.”

Our goose, as a species, is cooked. Meanwhile, you will not say boo to a goose.

And you expect me not to vomit.

Ya basta.

Definition of ‘Skin In The Game’
“A term coined by renowned investor Warren Buffett referring to a situation in which high-ranking insiders use their own money to buy stock in the company they are running. The idea behind creating this situation is to ensure that corporations are managed by like-minded individuals who share a stake in the company. Executives can talk all they want, but the best vote of confidence is putting one’s own money on the line just like outside investors!”

Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/skininthegame.asp#ixzz2HYT0vUbb

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About dwighttowers

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7 Responses to “Skin in the Game”, or “What the HELL are you climate activist breeders waiting for?”

  1. Sam Gunsch says:

    re: “And still you collude in the bureaucratic games.”

    In my part of Canada, significant NGO investment continues in consultation processes on climate, water, wildlife, forestry, etc., between government agencies, industry associations, municipalities, and select ENGO’s.

    Citizen-based democracy is thus hollowed out, and replaced with corporatism, as per the theory developed in the 1800’s, best explained in my view by John Ralston-Saul, in his book, Unconscious Civilization.

    Collaboration, consensus-building, win-win processes are the terms favored over here for these “bureaucratic games”.

    Many of these current processes here are either explicitly closed to public or controlled sufficiently to be effectively closed. e.g. ENGO’s agree not to criticize the process publicly as the price of the process continuing to exist, or their participation being permitted. Anyone who desires to participate must agree to cooperate and enforce the rules.

    I was a lead NGO staff and participated at length in the 1990’s in several of these sorts of processes. After a decade of mostly small gains, but losing the wars, my organizational unit finally adopted a policy of refusing invitations to be ‘stakeholders’ in such processes.

    IMHO, so long as governments offer these managed negotiations as THE policy process, and the representatives of groups of ENGO’s accept the invitation to be insiders at the table with the industry groups, citizen-based democracy will remain as the veneer of governance, and effective governance of society will be corporatist, with vested interests controlling the political choices.

    Sam Gunsch

  2. Sam Gunsch says:

    re my argument about corporatism, here is the best writing I’ve found so far that explains to me the political impact of engaging in ‘bureaucratic games’, il.e. marginalizing the citizenry, making them secondary participants in their own governance, which is language I’m paraphrasing/plagiarizing from Saul.

    Sam Gunsch

    excerpt: “Thus the role of influential interest groups is often a parallel, and more decisive, system of representation to that of the people through Parliament.””

    excerpt: “Abstract: This chapter describes the neglected area of networking
    between government departments and organised interests and considers how
    far networks of officials and interested parties compromise the aim of
    full and equal consultation in Great Britain. ”

    Political Power & Democratic Control in Britain; 1998, p261-287,
    Chapter 10: Networks in Power.

    Authors: Weir, Stuart
    Beetham, David

    excerpt: ” The emphasis of official accounts of British government centre upon its formal and
    parliamentary aspects. Yet the whole machinery of government turns upon the daily
    assumption that officials and departments will be advised, assisted, lobbied and criticised
    by organised interests; their specialist knowledge and often their active consent is vital to
    much of the policy-making process, including major public decisions. However, the
    involvement of interest groups in policy-making through policy communities and
    networks attached to government departments is ungoverned by any framework of rules
    to ensure that the public—and ministers for that matter—know what is going on, the
    policy options agreed and discarded, the arguments for and against decisions, the interests
    which are protected and those which aren’t. The bargaining is secretive as well as being
    informal, and has been kept secret by governments because it falls within the domains of
    policy advice and commercial confidentiality.

    Thus the role of influential interest groups is often a parallel, and more decisive, system
    of representation to that of the people through Parliament.”

    taken from page 262, Source: Political Power & Democratic Control in Britain; 1998, p261-287,
    Chapter 10: Networks in Power.

    Authors: Weir, Stuart
    Beetham, David

    Source: Political Power & Democratic Control in Britain; 1998, p261-287,
    27p

    of this chapter:

    10
    Networks in Power
    External influences working within government

    The great mass of government today is the work of an able and honest but secretive
    bureaucracy, tempered by the ever-present apprehension of the revolt of powerful
    sectional interests, and mitigated by the spasmodic interventions of imperfectly
    comprehending Ministers.
    (Sidney and Beatrice Webb, practical socialist intellectuals, 1920)

    To supply ‘expertise’, or to control its employment in the conduct of rule, does not
    seem a job Parliament can adequately do. Instead, the job falls mainly to the
    professional civil service, which enlists the support of research institutes, planning
    units, and consultative bodies, manned chiefly by the ‘scientific estate’ and by spokesmen
    for the larger corporations and other interest groups. As a result, administrative
    decisions are increasingly articulated in a language that effectively screens them from
    parliamentary criticism and public debate, and that frequently provides a convenient
    cover for the interests actually dictating those decisions.
    (Gianfranco Poggi, political sociologist at Edinburgh, 1978)
    ============
    Record: 1

    Title: PART 2: The Core Executive: Chapter 10: Networks in Power.

    Authors: Weir, Stuart
    Beetham, David

    Source: Political Power & Democratic Control in Britain; 1998, p261-287,
    27p

    Document Type: Book Chapter

    Subject Terms: *POLICY networks
    *PRESSURE groups
    *REPRESENTATIVE government & representation
    *LOBBYING

    Geographic Terms: GREAT Britain

    Abstract: This chapter describes the neglected area of networking
    between government departments and organised interests and considers how
    far networks of officials and interested parties compromise the aim of
    full and equal consultation in Great Britain. Major organised interests
    and professional groups play a significant and often dominating role in
    government policy-making in most significant areas of business and
    national affairs. The relationship between organised interests and
    departmental officials varies across policy domains but many interest
    groups perform an intimate role in the way policies are formulated and
    are often vital to policies being carried through in practice. Interest
    groups are undoubtedly important to the democratic process. Most are
    self-interested they represent an industry, say or a profession. The
    emphasis of official accounts of the British government centre upon its
    formal and parliamentary aspects. Yet the whole machinery of government
    turns upon the daily assumption that officials and departments will be
    advised, assisted, lobbied and criticised by organised interests. Their
    specialist knowledge and often their active consent is vital to much of
    the policy-making process including major public decisions. However, the
    involvement of interest groups in policy-making through policy
    communities and networks attached to government departments is
    ungoverned by any framework of rules to ensure that the public and
    ministers for that matter know what is going on.

    ISBN: 9780415096447

  3. Sam Gunsch says:

    This excerpt below captures how ENGO’s participation has effectively provided greenwashing for government inaction on climate change over here,… and probably in your polity as well, if the ‘bureaucratic games’ in the U.K. being referred to in this DT post are anything like the consultation processes over here in my part of Canada ( whether fully insider-based informal or pseudo-public formal sham consultations).
    Sam Gunsch

    Excerpt:
    As a result, administrative decisions are increasingly articulated in a language that effectively screens them from parliamentary criticism and public debate, and that frequently provides a convenient cover for the interests actually dictating those decisions.
    (Gianfranco Poggi, political sociologist at Edinburgh, 1978)

  4. LM says:

    Are you talkin’ to me?

    Ah but of course, thanks for pointing that out, you finger-waving pains-in-the-neck without kids, who have the disposable time/ income/ space/ selfishness to think about the G&T, the gym membership, freedom and what others should do. Parents are more scared than you, and more stuck than you because our decisions and actions, good, bad and paralyzing were taken (or is it mis sold?) in a panic under a misguided apprehension known as planning the future for people who depend on us wholly and totally– When we want to change it, it is too late: most of us are tied into (and dependent on) the system. At heart between compliance and rebellion, our burden is heavier; we know the people all this will affect more than you non-parents ever will and it kills us every day .

    • dwighttowers says:

      Actually, not, not about you, my friend.

      But I have published your comment because you are right. I do not have that burden, and it must be horrible. You, my friend, are trying to take change the rules of the game. Others, not so much.

      DT

    • Sam Gunsch says:

      I ought to have been more clear:

      Any distinction between parents or non-parents is of no relevance… to my concerns.

      My concerns are directed at any rep. — parent or non-parent — about the futility and actual counter-productive effects of participating in ‘bureaucratic games’ which have become in the last decades almost the default option on a host of environmental issues.

      I’m impulsively triggered ergo the copy pasta, by: ‘bureaucratic games’, “difficult political environment”, of “mustn’t rock the boat…”

      Due to a couple decades of my experience of advocacy over here against the fossil fuel control of governance, these sorts of terms trigger my outrage against corporatism and its degradation of democracy, and especially its co-optation of the ENGO movement here.

      Sam Gunsch

  5. Sam Gunsch says:

    below… A supplement I stumbled on today in my RSS feeds, re corporatist modes of politics, activism, lobbying and the gutting of citizen-based democracy.

    excerpt: ““The big powered, moneyed institutions are in control in Washington…. You and I don’t have a lobbyist and so we are not represented.” ”
    http://www.democracyjournal.org/27/curing-philanthropys-blind-spot-one-percent-for-democracy.php

    and speaking of the USA, the book referenced below relates to my contention that ‘bureaucratic games’ as currently practiced, are actually corporatist modes of governance, that undermine citizen-based democracy, making the citizens secondary participants in their own governance/democracy, as per Saul.

    Corporatism and Comparative Politics: The Other Great “Ism”
    excerpt: “… powerful interest groups tied into a strong state are precisely what corporatism is all about.” from Preface ix, in
    Corporatism and Comparative Politics: The Other Great “Ism”
    By Howard J. Wiara

    Wiara provides explanation of the North American experience of corporatism that informs my characterization of ENGO’s/activists engaging in corporatist modes of political change… creating a politics where groups have the dominant representation system within governance compared to the citizenry.

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=IKn2y2yS014C&pg=PA147&lpg=PA147&dq=corporatism+the+other+big+ism&source=bl&ots=6E8tB02h8u&sig=JGtVli-JDG0hrjKc5ysi4JPe4UI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xwLvUMC6C-itiALvkIDoAw&ved=0CC4Q6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=corporatism%20the%20other%20big%20ism&f=false

    Explicit corporatist political processes as per European history and current practice are merely the formally acknowledged mode of corporatism. Corporatism in practice and as a governance framework/political philosophy has engulfed North American governance, in that’s it’s widely acknowledged that public policy is determined by the vested interests in partnership with elected governments.

    But, as per John Ralston Saul, the word corporatism is rarely used to describe what’s going on.
    Howard Wiara notes this absence as well.

    Among the most common reasons suggested for this: Corporatism’s intellectual contribution/connection with fascism. In particular of course, Mussolini’s explicit use of corporatism for intellectual justification of his political mode.

    So mainstream and activist political discussions about governance dysfunction are generally framed as left vs right, or business vs environment, or the problem of big money in politics, etc.

    And corporatism is understood simply as large corporations influence on government.

    When the reality is groups, large corporations and public interest groups such as ENGO’s are engaged in politics that is trumping the citizenry for effective control over governance of society. Corporatism vs citizen-based democracy. Interests versus impartial consideration of the common good.

    Engaging in ‘bureaucratic games’ is engaging in corporatist governance of the so-called public policy process, thus strengthening corporatism’s hold on society’s future, by ongoing neutralization of the democratic process comprised, in dusty old theory we might recall, of politicians actually representing citizens and seeking the common good on their behalf, rather than managing negotiations among the ‘stakeholders’ e.g. vested interests and public interest groups, negotiations rigged for the status quo and the vested interests, e.g. climate change.

    Again, as mentioned in my earlier posts, I’m triggered to share this stuff because of more than 2 decades of futility I’ve either participated in or witnessed re ENGO’s doing conventional politics of building sufficient poltical power to be invited into consultation to collaborate in design of environmental legislation or policies or regulations. A few gains here and there. But losing the war. 40 years of federal environmental legislation were just this year rendered useless by our federal conservative government.

    So this year, all major ENGO’s in Canada have in response been launching campaigns for Nature and DEMOCRACY. Wow, eh.

    We finally noticed the issue in an non-partisan way.

    But!!! the urgent calls for more consultation with ENGO groups still rises. yeah, that’s really worked out hasn’t it?!

    Sam Gunsch

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