LGiU the council of 2043: Matthew Taylor

30To mark the LGiU’s 30th anniversary we invited 30 contributors to gaze in to a crystal ball and tell us how councils will be different in 2043.

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA, hopes we can get to a place where local government has returned to the people.

Judging by the ever lower levels of trust in politicians and government we can be said to be living in a time when citizens are unwilling to be governed but not yet willing to govern themselves.

I have no idea what the world let alone local government will look like in 2043 but I know the goal I’d like us to set….

Government has been returned to the people. The divide between civic action and state action has broken down. Rather than seeing the local state as an overbearing and distant bureaucracy representing its own interests it would be seen as the institutional embodiment of those things that we agree we would rather do together than alone.

To get to this municipal utopia we need parallel fundamental reform in our political and democratic institutions and the way we conceptualise and organise public services. There are fragments of the thinking we need in today’s thought and practice, but only fragments.  It might be quite inspiring to set this image of self-government thirty years hence and then work back from there to imagine the steps we would need to take. The RSA is up for it.

On the other hand the world might be by then entirely owned by Amazon and we will all spend our 150 year lifespan living alone in virtual reality pods, taking happy pills and having simulated sex with avatars.

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