What is Government?

An invention that comes in many flavours: from the direct rule of tribal councils, to the arms length nature of federal democracy. Something synchronous and pervasive, to something abstract and outdated.

Government but by whom?

Government has a core purpose to keep us safe. But also represents state sanctioned violence. It has a purpose to build infrastructure, to enable, but also regulates and taxes to control.

At best, our Governments are a story that we choose to believe in because legitimacy is an invested currency.

I find myself tugging at loose threads of thought: ‘globally local’ is something that keeps surfacing. How the local social forces of ‘line of sight’ conversation are now so utterly global, of how authentic storytellers command contextual authority, even of those whom they never meet in person, and how the gap between ‘government services’ and commercial ones exist in an ever widening breach. Whilst commercial organisations are grasping that utility is becoming experience, much government service holds onto the notion that power sits within the system, and opposition is inevitable, neither of which holds true.

In fact, power sits wherever legitimacy leads, and opposition is simply a force that holds us static when we most need to change.

My Canadian friends in this space are typically thoughtful and reflective, which prompts me to be the same. Perhaps it’s something to do with Canada being so intractably vast and fragmented, with less of a sense of the permanence and proximity we feel in the UK. I always feel there is a willingness in Canada to reinvent itself as a service of Government, whilst in the UK i feel more a demand for subservience.

Of course Canada is as imperfect as the rest of us, with a broad range of fractured solutions to the legacy of the indigenous tribes, some of which seems hopelessly mired between charity, blindness, and money.

The focus of my session today was a phrase i used recently in a different context: Organisations are entities of story and belief.

Nations are like that too: we must write the new story, and see if people will believe.

About julianstodd

Author and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the Social Age. I’ve written ten books, and over 2,000 articles, and still learning...
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