Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Think Global , Act Local

Jesus is far more radically effective in teaching, acting and directing  than you might realise by just going to church . Many of his followers, just like Him, find it hard to be part of an institution - a mere formula for action . The respected underground activist radical reformer thinker and academic Jaques Ellul was like that. His radicalness meant he was very careful to summarize Jesus's  answer to the big question of "who should I help? " in a punchy but clear way. Ellul coined the now famous phrase " Think global , act local" which goes to the heart of how holistic community development  has worked throughout history .You can't do better than follow in the steps of those who have walked the Jericho Road before you ! (Matthew 5 is full of promise to those on the road which does not eliminate poverty but lives within it and beyond it  ).
More recently though, some people, think they can do better  ("Think local , act global" ).  I disagree and I have worked all my life in resilience assessment and action . We outta press effectiveness before we succumb to mere efficiency arguments.  We are surrounded with the debt and debris of quick fix and its costing us dearly .
Politics can look powerful, but when its experimental and quickfiz, its on the road to deeper poverty .This experimental technique trap is the disease Ellul identified ( see below) . I'm especially suspicious when political and other activists use OUR money to experiment with intervention ,coercion and incentive when they have never tested the same with their own money . Aid programs are re-known for their predictably reactionary, but politically correct CEO's agendas ( Change Everything Often ? ) This  radical weakness of current aid programs is something Ellul predicted well in his book about the bigger problems our society are now facing in " The technological society".  I won't any labels but you will know both the old and the new ones.  It doesn't take much poor targeting of help to waste the opportunity of aid , as I think the program on Scott Nesson showed last night on Australian Story .  

What do you think? More importantly perhaps , what is your experience?