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Alex S.
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Hi Simon, Today I watched a replay of your keynote address at the World Conference on Quality and Improvement (WQCI), and I was inspired to seek out your website. In your keynote speech, you talked about the difference between 'leaders' who manipulate people oither throught the promise of reward, or the threat of punishment, compared to leaders that inspire followers to do their best. That commentary, coupled with the discussion here on whether troubled economies are truly functional democracies reminded me of a few days I spent in Cairo, Egypt in October 2010 - a few months before the revolution started in February 2011. Admittedly, we were Western tourists travelling in a Western bubble, shuttling between tourist sites in a hired car, but even we could tell the tension was THICK. People on the streets walks with their heads down, and riot police stood by at Friday prayers to disperse the masses and close the mosques the minute prayers were over, ostensibly to prevent religious extremism from taking hold. The military state used fear to manipulate its citizens, and to keep the population in line. The results were two-fold: first, law-abiding citizens did as they were told, kept their heads down, and went about their lives without protest - and without organizing a credible opposition, since opposition was outlawed - until they could not take it any more. Second, the organizations that HAD been outlawed under the old regime, but that had maintained their organizations in secret, were 'ready to go' when their opposition disappeared. These organizations dominated 'democratic' elections because of their existing networks, and secured their 'leadership' by manipulating the people once again, at first through inducements (medical care, and neighbourhood security), but also threats of ostracism, division and also violence. The point is that in any democracy, (Egypt, Greece (who invented democracy) and the US) 'bad' groups can court power by tapping into disillusionment with the status quo, and identifying scapegoats, or 'enemies' to blame. The point that you made in your keynote was that eventually the cost of fear becomes too high. People stop buying, and look for the alternative. What surprises me, in Greece and the US, is that with the opportunity for a democratic change before them, it seems the candidates have only fear to offer.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2012 on Without A Vision, We Find An Enemy at Re:Focus
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Jul 27, 2012