Partisan politics, bickering, I’m right you’re wrong thinking. Stalemate. Maybe it’s time to look across the pond and get some fresh ideas from the Dutch which I ready about in an article by Toby Sterling. The Netherlands have a compromise culture. It even has a name: the ” Polder Model”. This model seeks to divvy up the inevitable suffering from a downturn in a way that feels fair to everyone. Employers agree not to slash as many jobs as they might in exchange for workers agreeing to take pay cuts and not go on strike.
The government attempts to build public support for tax hikes and spending cuts by distributing them evenly across groups. They acknowledge that everyone is going to feel the pinch and share the burdens as equally as possible. “As a united country we are strong” said Prime Minister Mark Butte.
The Polder Model or Poldering resonates with the Dutch people. Historically, dwellers of the low-lying country had to cooperate across social classes to share the costs of maintaining the system of windmills and dikes that protected them from floods and turned marshes into dry farmland known as “polders”. It was a matter of life and death.
Now with their economy in the doldrums the housing market in decline and unemployment at a 10 year high Poldering is back in vogue. The new Dutch coalition government consists of two parties who have been bitter foes for a decade. They sat down together, hashed out their differences, listened to each others ideas& adopted the bulk of recommendations for long term budget reform. Imagine that!
The benefits? The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest agricultural exporter after the USA. Their economy is the fifth largest among the 17 eurozone countries and has been among the best performing among the industrial nations since 1982. They remain one of Europe’s few triple-A rated economies.
Polarities exist for us to learn balance. That can only happen if we allow the opposite opinion to be expressed and considered. I am holding the possibility of poldering in the USA. In fact I would be happy to offer a group repatterning so Congress can resonate with LISTENING to each others ideas and to embracing COMPROMISE. Is anyone interested?