Social, economic and political division have a cost. I suspect we can all agree on that, despite our divisions. But how much is it?
In 2023, two ratings agencies downgraded the credit worthiness of the United States. Their reason? Division, specifically the repeated down-to-the-wire debt ceiling battles that threatened the government’s ability to pay its bills. The agencies admitted the downgrades would have no immediate impact on America’s ability to borrow. That word “immediate” reminded me a Hemingway character who, when asked how he went bankrupt, said, “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
The price is hard to measure because, most of the time, it is about lost opportunity. Take local government. When voters are divided, they alternately elect leaders of wildly different beliefs about the right way to govern, often with the speed of Dr. Jekyll turning into Mr. Hyde and back again. Each set of leaders condemns the work of their predecessors and starts building something new, only to see it torn down again with the next change of office. Forward motion freezes and, with it, the ability to seize the opportunities streaming by.Read more
In this episode of The Intelligent Community, ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla speaks further with José Roberto Lagunes Trejo, Research and Strategy Lead at Mexico City’s Fundación Hogares. They discuss trust and how a social index the Fundación has created is helping repair the social fabric in Mexican communities.Read more
In this episode of The Intelligent Community, ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla speaks with José Roberto Lagunes Trejo, Research and Strategy Lead at Mexico City’s Fundación Hogares. They discuss the method used by José Roberto’s organization to reinvigorate rundown neighborhoods and build trust among citizens in places where mistrust and fear have become embedded.Read more
In this episode of The Intelligent Community, ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla speaks with Dublin, Ohio CIO Doug McCollough about how social media can be used not only to communicate with citizens, but to measure sentiment and learn about current demeanor in your communities.