Simon Sarris

Questions States and Small Countries Should Ask Themselves

  1. What do we have in abundance? What do we have that is scarce?
  2. How can we promote continuity in place? Are our children staying or leaving? Are the elderly staying or leaving? Could they stay even if they wanted to?
  3. When is the last time (what year) that we built a new strip mall? When is the last time we built a new village? What about a new city?
  4. What is in the budget right now that will last 5 years? What's it's value in 5 years? Is it an asset or a liability? Is it only an asset if we assume population growth?
  5. When new people come here and stay, why do they do that? Same with leaving. We should know the answers.
  6. Another way of asking 5: What provides our citizens with enduring fulfillment the longest?
  7. What's the ROI of our schools? Who are they for? The parents? Children? After schooling, do the children even stay in the state/country? If not, shouldn't we be alarmed that we spend a large amount only to export them?

(New Hampshire where I live especially needs to ask: Why don't they stay?)

  1. What can we export more of? How can we increase the wealth and fame of our state?

Entrepreneurs and celebrities wonder this. Good families wonder this. Why don't states wonder it out loud? Why don't we have a clear headed answer? Why doesn't it come up in political discussion or campaigns?

  1. Why do people do things in life? Why do they do new things? Why do they start families? Create wealth?

Why aren't they doing those things here? What's stopping them, that maybe wasn't stopping them 100 years ago, or isn't currently stopping them elsewhere? What are the essential differences between there and here?

  1. How do we build culture, or the spirit of a place?

How do we make sure citizens meet each other? How do we make sure entrepreneurs meet financiers? Make sure people meet new friends and lovers? How do we get people to encounter each other, literally cross paths, and feel like they are part of a place?

  1. How do we make our people feel like "home" is larger than just their house? How do we make people... identify with where they live?
  2. What are the works of our hands? What is our culture? is it... Netflix? Is our culture something determined in studios far away?

What is the strongest unit of culture that keeps profit, or people, in-state? That makes people want to be here and travel here? Where is our pride?

  1. What are town/city committees for? For every committee, get a list of the things they have decided accomplished in the last 10 years. What were they? Are they making progress, or not? Find a way to find out.

For each committee, should it be discontinued? Or made more powerful? Is it at all clear?

In the committees I've been on, progress is slow, and power little. Some committeess seem to have the same function as the constant medicalization of people's lives with respect to human motivation. If you can medicalize it, you can ignore it. It's not your ruinous diet, its (say) "diabetes" or "gout" etc. This absolves people of most action items. How you live becomes something you treat. Just like in human health, we should resist this in statecraft.

How do we get political offices to care about questions like these?



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