Large parts of the world are in a political impasse at the moment. Part of the issue is related to communication of ideas:

  • The business of government is complicated, but the political debate is fought with simplistic TV sound bites and tweets
  • There is an almost total absence of facts. Yes, facts and logic are not always the best weapons to convince people, but they can be effective in a targeted strike to zap a populist, simplistic argument
  • Political speeches or live debates are poor platforms to discuss a balanced trade off between two options. In controversial business presentations, I like to use some sort of pro/con table that compares the 2 options, isolating "no brainer" data points from points that are more subjective.
  • Audiences are fragmenting. I remember back in the Netherlands when I grew up there were basically 3 types of parties: workers, business owners, and religious people. Within these 3 groups, people had very similar perspectives on how to tackle issues. That is no longer the case. There is no longer one philosophy, or person, that can unite the viewpoints of a large majority of the population.
  • Arguments focus on the extreme cases: demonstrating how totally and utterly stupid the other side is. This will resonate with people who are on your side, but is unlikely to win over the mind of the person who is doubting the issue in the centre of the political spectrum.

And finally, the 18th century nation state is losing its ability to control things. Movement of talent and money across the globe is hard to control. We are part of a global system that is driven by small economic decisions of millions voting with their money.

Interesting times.