SodaCanyonRoad | Being "Negative"

Being "Negative"

George Caloyannidis | Nov 10, 2015 on: Napa Vision 2050

We had a lot of discussions over the Vision 2050 "negative" image; something which seems to trouble many.

In 1970, Albert Hirschman - an economist at Princeton - wrote a little book; Exit, Voice, and Loyalty in which he explored the options of dissent to the direction of large-scale enterprises, from the railroads in Nigeria to the war in Vietnam. In each of these enterprises were great failures and the individuals in positions of responsibility had three options in the way they could respond: Exit meant they could quit the enterprise. Voice meant to stay on the job and speak publicly for change in direction. Loyalty meant to stay on the job and keep supporting a failing direction.

Hirschman observed that in the majority of enterprises, most people chose loyalty and very few chose voice. Those who chose exit (which is what I did when Greece came under a military dictatorship) had only a small effect on the enterprise.

If gross errors and injustices are to be corrected, voice, as Hirschman says; "must be fearless and fierce, loud enough to be heard".

In his review of a recent book on Max Planck's life, Freeman Dyson - a Princeton scientist - draws parallels to Hirschman's model in comparing Planck's choice under the Nazi regime, in which he opted for loyalty, to his son's Erwin who chose voice and was executed for it, and to his friend's Einstein who opted for exit and later reverted to voice from the safety of the United States, which without comparing myself to Einstein, I did as well.

The reality is that Vision 2050 has no option but that of voice, one "to be heard loud and clear" which is the privilege we have protecting us from Erwin's fate. We can only be proud of it by making the most effective use of it, because it is the only avenue available to us if we want to change the direction of the Napa Valley piece meal destruction.