The world is dividing. The divisions of ideology, culture, class and religion are being replaced by something more fundamental. It is a question which vexes right and left, fundamentalist and liberal, conservative and progressive, neo-liberal and socialist.It is a question which requires each to question their beliefs and assumptions about the world as it could or will be.
Are the problems of the sustainability – financial, economic, social and environmental going to be solved by fixing the current system or changing it completely?
Above all this question requires us to ask whether the way things are is a function of the realities of existence and the limited capabilities of human society to create real change or merely the construct of a particular way of thinking about the world and its future.
A fixer is not necessarily a conservative or reactionary, they believe in the passage of progress which has brought humanity into an age of globalised society enabled by technologies that simultaneously shrink the world and overwhelm you with its enormity and diversity.
A changer is not necessarily an idealist or revolutionary, they believe that progress is an illusion and in reality the passage of human civilisation is characterised by rupture and discontinuity rather than any rational model or plan.
A fixer would argue that the current crises of sustainability are a function of a poorly executed plan or lack of rational controls on society, hence a response based on developing new forms of regulation and billions of dollars and pounds spent propping up the institutions which caused our current set of crises – whether than money is supporting banks, oil or other powerful vested interests.
A changer would argue that the current crises are a function of an unsustainable system which is based on false assumptions about the limits and effectiveness of growth, financial capital and industrial scale institutions (of the State, private sector or third sector).
A fixer sees the barriers to change being irrationality, complexity and resources. A changer seeks new accounts of change which make sense of the contradictory nature of the world, aims for simplicity and optimises the use of resources for the long term.
A fixer lives in the now and is overwhelmed by the passage of change in a liquid modernity. A changer makes decisions for the long now, seeing disruption as part of the process of change not a departure from the process. For a changer, liquid modernity represents the opportunity to re-invent global society rather than simply re-build it.
Which are you?