The importance of a community having a Big Vision

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright August 2018


Two current mysteries of current events in 2018 are why Turkey and Venezuela are letting the country's prosperity go to hell in a hand basket. Why is this choice getting more citizen support than getting their economic act together and producing prosperity that the whole country can share?

Part of the answer is the importance of a Big Vision to the community and the importance of community members feeling enfranchised. I define feeling enfranchised as meaning a person feels that the community is watching out for them and that the community respects their opinions when they express them. They don't have to agree with them, but they have to respect them. Having a successful Big Vision helps people feel enfranchised. As in, "We may not agree, but we can work together on this." Having a strong Big Vision enhances community members feeling of enfranchisement.

Big Vision basics

A Big Vision is an idea for a project that a lot of community members can get behind. They are willing to spend time, money and attention on getting the Big Vision accomplished. Two periodic examples of this happening are cities supporting hosting Olympics and World Cup games -- city members whip up lots of enthusiasm for this as they compete to become the host, and even more when they are successful and become a host. This is Big Vision in action.

But keep in mind that there is a lot of resource being devoted to making this Big Vision happen, and that resource is not necessarily building the community's prosperity. If the Big Vision is building a factory or an industry that then becomes profitable, this is building the community's prosperity. One of the biggest and most famous examples of a Big Vision promoting prosperity is the United States taming its part of the North American wilderness during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The non-prosperous alternative

If the Big Vision is building an Olympic game venue or "helping the poor" or pursuing some other good intention, then it is not building prosperity -- it is building pride and warm fuzzy feelings, not prosperity. This Olympic game-style vision seems to be what is powering the current evolution of Turkey and Venezuela. For a couple decades now both have been pursuing a Big Vision that is not related to promoting prosperity, and the prosperity has been suffering dearly.

When prosperity is suffering the first big question for the community becomes how long will the people support this current Big Vision? As the people of Turkey and Venezuela are demonstrating it can be pursued for a long time, decades or even longer. The second big question becomes what will replace it, what will it change to? Examples of countries currently in the process of changing their Big Visions to something more prosperity-oriented are Argentina and Brazil. One that is trying hard to do so is Greece.

The Big Vision replacement

The replacement can be a much smaller, much more modest, Big Vision. An example of a dramatically more modest replacement is the American Midwest switching from a Steel Belt Big Vision supported in the first half of the twentieth century to a Rust Belt Big Vision supported in the second half -- quite a dramatic change.


A Big Vision is important to a community. It lets many people in the community work together even when they disaggree on many issues. The vision comes in two general categories: those that support building the community's prosperity and those that do something else -- they build pride instead of prosperity.

This second style is expensive and can only be sustained for a while. But this second style can be even more popular and legendary that the prosperity building style. Again, Turkey and Venezuela are current example of this second style in action.



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