This chapter explores the limitations and dangers of the mindset, shaped by technology, that has done much to shape our recent industrial past and create the multiple planetary crises that we are facing. It argues that in order to effect large-scale social changes we need to attend to virtues of character, in our leaders and in wider society. Political leaders in a renewed society will need to see themselves more as enablers than controllers, with a primary responsibility to encourage and facilitate both leadership and success in others. Hope for change comes from what I call ‘The Undergrowth Movement’, a mass of already existing grassroots initiatives, rooted in small- and medium-scale communities of different kinds. Such groups can not only themselves constitute an important element a renewed society, but also provide a training-ground for the virtues that leaders will need.
The chapter focuses on four questions:
* What are the limits and dangers of top-down planning intended to produce predetermined outcomes in the behaviour of whole populations?
How do we nurture the kind of morality in which markets, innovation and investment need to be embedded?
* How does political regulation relate with the mass of grassroots initiatives that are already responding to climate change and other social challenges from the bottom up?
What is the appropriate size and scale for each different kind of economic activity, in its own geographical and social context?