The “Thinkers Conference” Worries & Hopes
I have great ‘HOPES’ this will be an historic moment in Manitoba history.
However, I also have serious ‘worries’ about the premises upon which the conference seems to be based, and therefore the overall prognosis for real Progress.
Hopefully, by sharing this essay I will help empower those attending to approach the conference with ‘intention’ and a mindset that will empower us all to endeavor to make a great success of our time together
My ‘Worries’, in general terms, are based on a distrust of ‘convergent thought’ processes and a belief, (based upon experience) that ‘Divergent, Creative and Free thought’ processes are the most productive basis for Progress and Change.
Hopefully, at very least, attendees are in agreement that there is need for great change in every aspect of our society and in the ideas and attitudes that drive it.
So I will give some explanation:
‘Convergent thought’, is the sort of thinking that works well in and with the status quo. ‘Divergent thought’, on the other hand, often rejects that approach in favor of ‘Starting Points’ that are not based “in” the status quo, but looks for different starting points and different motivations with which to enter the conversation.
Thus some examples of aspects of this conference that create ‘worry’ for me:
- The seeming ‘experts are the source’ foundation of this conference. I would think as a Manitoba conference the basic premiss might have been – Manitoba Thinkers Know the Problems Facing Us Best… and will in the end be the sources of the solutions. However, I am more than willing to concede that with the existing focus (expert contributions often from afar) that the conference objectives could be to use those expert sources to find the Manitoba-Manitoban based solutions.
A specific example of a ‘worry’:
- The very first session is: Mr. Jim Carr, President of the Manitoba Business Council will address some of the economic challenges Manitoba faces.
“The Economy” in Canada and of course the ‘Manitoba Economy’ comes from and still resembles the ‘Colonial Economy’ of the past where the foundation is exploitation of the area and people for the benefit of those often not even present in the country itself! Some examples:
1.)The Fur Trade ‘exploited’ the natural resource of beaver to enrich English hat manufacturers. N.B. *Except for the immediate ‘benefits’ of jobs and food, the end objective had NOTHING to do with the future needs or benefits of Canadians.
2.) Canada has been exploiting, “developing” (a very problematic word) and EXPORTING our natural resources for centuries to the benefit of foreign investors and owners. NB *Same as above
3.) TODAY the main discussion of politicians and “economists’ is still “jobs” with little to no differentiation as to whether those jobs are actually building the future of this country (for our chidden?) or are purely like those in the Tar Sands – well paid agents of our own long-term destruction, both environmentally and economically:
–AND TODAY in MANITOBA– MB Hydro’s Business Concept: e.g. the concept of the Bipole III is all about exploitation and export of our resources (electric power) for the short-term jobs of construction of the dams and power lines.
N.B. The estimates of the economic development that power will create in the northern states is in the HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS and that is only in the first 25 years.
When one sees how strongly entrenched the attitudes of our ‘Colonial Past’ remain in both our Economy and Politics, I feel as a ‘Starting Point’ “God The Economy” is particularly problematic! One can only hope the attendees arrive at the Thinkers Conference with a perspective that allows us to move to more fruitful discussion. -BUT- of course, Mr. Carr might start with the erroneous assumptions of the existing economic system!!!
MY HOPE is that there will be plenty of people attending the Thinkers Conference who will make sure the agenda of the conference does NOT conform to the Status Quo interests of business or politicians but moves the conference to ideas and concepts that empower the attendees and the population in general to understand the need for formative and structural change in both our archaic ‘colonial style’ economy & politics, and that the attendees will leave empowered to instigate the changes so necessary for the future of Manitoba and Canada and its peoples.