What do we want?
When do we want it?
Thirty years from now provided it is brought about via virtually invisible, minor and sequential changes that add up in a slow and predictable way so as not to spook the market. It’s important that the market not freak. More important than providing for the immediate needs of the people disproportionately affected by the problems that will eventually be solved thirty or more years from now.
Remember, big changes can be undone.
So can small changes, but we are going to pretend that isn’t the case…it’s more important that changes comes slow enough for the ultra rich in society to grab as much of the wealth as possible so they can die in style while the rest of us die in a school shooting or a pandemic or of malnutrition or from the effects of global warming.
Incrementalism has always worked even though its only been around since the late 50s. And you know it’s working because the benefits are yet to come, and when they do come you won’t even notice them. In fact, because you haven’t seen noticable improvement, you can rest assured that incrementalism is continuing to work just as it always has, ever since it was dreamed up after all the massive progressive changes of the labor movement, the women’s movement, the new deal, and early part of the civil rights movement were implemented.
As such, incrementalism can take credit for these accomplishment — because incrementalism is natural and those movements must have also been natural because they happened in the past and the past is natural. And incrementalism can also take credit for any changes that are about to come — because the future is a natural product of today’s actions.
Incrementalism is like a dog — sniffing out problems with it’s keen sense of smell.
Sure, it has poor eyesight and can only smell what’s right in front of it, leaving it prone to predators behind it and only able to perceive what’s literally right in front of its nose. It cannot see the bigger picture, but we can’t concern ourselves with the bigger problems that might kill us right now.
We can’t spook the market.
The market is perfectly rational except when it’s not, and it has an irrational fear of big sweeping change, the kind of change we saw prior to Incrementalism for which incrementalism can also take credit for even though it looks like the result of its opposite.
The beagle fallacy notwithstanding, incrementalism is what we need right now because we face big problems that need to be solved thirty years from now in mostly imperceptible ways.
Incremenralism will work — so long as there are no major changes to any of the variables in play at the moment we implement these changes that are devoid of any incentives. I mean really, what are the chances of random acts of violence, mass wild fires, and pandemics anyway. Sure, incrementalism doesn’t provide for any immediate help for any of these nor is it able to plan for them because it assumes that everything will remain like it is until the future when relief from these pressing problems come to people who are not immediately affected, but that’ the best part! The people who benefit from incrementalism won’t even know the problems that are solved by it as problems to begin with!!
Incrementalism is so stealthy you can’t even think of a criticism!!!
By the way, have things like global warming and mass shootings gotten better or worse since the late 50s when incrementalism — which as always been around — was implemented as a political and economic solution to the problems facing people who will not benefit from it? How’s it going out there? I can’t look up from these stock exchange updates to notice much of anything else. BTW, the stock market looks really bad today. No doubt, this must be the result of someone threatening to make big sweeping changes.
Don’t worry if there is more inequality or more mass violence or more wildfires because the solution to those problems is always more incrementalism anyway.
We just need to continue pretending that small changes — unlike big ones — can’t be undone.
Never mind that there is no incentive for incrementalism and that it can’t take account for the big picture or that it assumes that noting that hasn’t already happened might happen unexpectedly — like, precisely the types of problems we face due to an inability to see the bigger picture.
Never mind any of that because the benefits to incrementalism are always to come some time in the future — even though it’s been around since the late 50s.
After all, the world hasn’t ended just because we don’t have free healthcare, so it’s not likely to end anytime before a future generation eventually gets it.
Barring a pandemic, but what are the odds of that?
Note: I am not against incrementalism per say, I am just sick of hearing the usual types of arguments used to support it. And I am just blowing off steam here. I am tired of hearing about this wonderful fail-proof way of solving problems. Look, there are perfectly sound criticisms of incrementalism that should be taken account for, but they usually aren’t. Not from any of our celebrity pundits — who continue to be wrong about so much. And not from the vast majority of people I have recently argued with online (not any of you FB friends). But, I am really sick of seeing an uncritical presentation of incrementalism. It’s mostly presented as the obvious and unquestionable solution. And when I press these assumptions, I get “people (or the stock market) might get spooked” by any other theory of change. Or I get that a big change can just be undone by the next person in charge. That hasn’t happened to SS. It didn’t really happen to voter’s rights either. That was changed with incrementalism — which exposes one of the problems with the assumptions hidden by incremental rhetoric, that if it’s so stealthy that it allows for radical, progressive change to sneak by opponents, doesn’t that also mean that incrementalism can also be used in regressive ways?
Why can’t we think critically about this?
That’s not to say that revolution is the only solution. I just want a better argument in support of incrementalism than what I tend to see out there. If you want me to support it, then you need to deal with it’s disadvantages. Don’t pretend that there are none.