Aligning interests

In search of agreements, knowing how to align interests is crucial; this implies finding formulas that will enable reorienting behaviors and attitudes even in contexts that are hard to resolve. A fragmented society, with social antagonisms that go beyond the normal tensions coexistence generates and reproduces, is a society that cannot live up to its potential. While the diversity of opinions and perspectives enriches dialogues and the decisions and courses of action that are then adopted, virulent antagonisms sterilize energy and have a negative effect on national or local development. In processes where multiple interests and values coexist and dispute each other, intolerant, petty or immature attitudes can weaken the social dialogue in search for sustainable solutions generating irreconcilable antagonisms that end up being extremely costly in social and individual terms.

This does not deny and much less ignore that there are deep interest differences between countries and social groups. When the privilege of a few subdues the rest to inequality or poverty, it is necessary to frontally face this subjugation since the spaces to constructively resolve differences are significantly reduced. In all other situations reaching understandings is possible and it is worth working to attain them. A fair dose of creativity, prudence, temperance, intelligence and generosity, can help to find non antagonistic courses of action; thus strengthening the diverse energy focuses instead of neutralizing them.

In search of agreements knowing how to align interests is crucial, this implies finding formulas that enable reorienting behaviors and attitudes even in contexts that are difficult to resolve. Such is the case, for example, of those who claim they need to grow or consolidate before they can share results or acquire new responsibilities. It so happens that the other actors can be suspicious of them because history is full of cases of those who have become socially, politically or economically enriched without considering making commitments to help others. Neither are the forecasted spillover effects which rarely materialize any more convincing.

Aligning interests requires experience and disposition to face what ends up being essential for political and social coexistence. Well intended but ignorant people do not help; neither do those who are clever but ill-intentioned. The best of social and political leadership is required to identify solutions capable of mobilizing wills as to fairly structure interests; it is not just about piling interests up but about articulating them in a way that will enable fully deploying the energy of the entire society.

In that search the obstacles to face are not minor. Often not even the perspectives of the different actors regarding what is happening coincide and much less on the causes or what is sustaining the processes we take part in. Sometimes neither is there agreement regarding what might happen if interests were not appropriately aligned. Under these circumstances, we must generate better working spaces to make such diversity of interests converge; for example, bring up views of the future and possible scenarios beyond the immediate. The immediacy of today, of the now, usually exacerbates pettiness and narrows options. The struggle of present pain, of fresh offenses, of recent irritation favors sliding towards antagonisms. A more open view, with a fuller picture regarding factors, effects and timing can generate the necessary space to align interests in concordance with the most significant values each participant carries.

Distributive struggles exemplify what was stated above. In terms of the immediate, the parties antagonize because in that horizon what one gets the other looses. However, short and mid-term solutions based in explicit agreements of profit distribution, including unjustly contained vindications, would increase the possibility of aligning interests that are harder to conciliate if the time horizon is reduced to the immediate present. This way, growth trajectories would be elaborated considering a fair distribution of results while they are obtained.

It is possible that the concentration of results in some nodules of the socioeconomic system could accelerate certain very particular aspects of the growth process. However, in terms of sustainability and of helping to fully activate the ensemble’s potential, concentrated growth becomes highly unstable, generating permanently conflictive situations and enlarging antagonisms.

A critical issue in order to fully deploy a society’s capacity to build is firmly encouraging those who work as economic, social, political or cultural producers because there lies a large part of the national or local potential. However, their compensations cannot be disproportionate because nothing they do and obtain will be accomplished by themselves in a vacuum of circumstances but using many other factors that are also essential to materialize the goals of their venture.

While aligning interests there is no room for rigid formulas that perhaps the sliest or better positioned know how to negotiate since they are, due to knowledge or luck, in better conditions to anticipate what is coming. Aligning interests and values implies finding formulas that will even regulate how to adjust the agreements that are established today if there were unforeseen situations or extraordinary circumstances that could distort the bases of justice that originally guided the parties. The basic criteria should be to encourage those who take good initiatives without leaving other actors behind with undignified standards of life that, in addition, change and adjust with the times. Leaving majorities or minorities behind is ethically reproachable, economically absurd and politically dangerous.

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