DILC and the ProblemLady: Phase 5, the industry

The Dialectic Issue LifeCycle Model (DILC) is a very cool heuristic for thinking about how some societal problems become issues, what industry does when the problems climb the political agenda and how the issues are (or aren’t) ‘resolved’.  Here’s a video starring its progenitors.  The DILC has five phases, and looks at three categories of actors in detail – those trying to get the issue onto the agenda, those trying to keep it off/to shape the problem into a soluble issue, and the state functionaries (elected and non-elected).

Last year I came up with the idea of each of these ideal types writing letters to an agony aunt during each of the phases, seeking her strategic advice.  I am posting these 15 (well, 16) letters and responses, one per day, over the next two weeks or so.

Thanks Problem Lady!

We followed your advice and have come out the other side of all that hoo-hah still profitable, with increased market share (unlike those suckers who didn’t invest in the R and D and merely thought they’d be able to use the political meat-puppets on retainer to hold back the tide.  By the way, the activists are still around. Suggestions?

Company Exploiting New Tasty Sectors


Well thank you CENTS.

The whole point of a regulatory framework, or a voluntary agreement, is that it acts like a stab-vest. It stops the activists being able to build up a critical mass of concern.

Throw in the phrases “responsible corporate citizen” and “we’ve invested heavily in new, safer products” “choice in a market democracy” and three quarters of their potential allies will either go back to sleep or else keep to their own causes.

And keep your database of who the activists are up-to-date.  Separate the sheep from the goats. Remember the “buying off” rule.  By now you’ll have spotted which ones are naïve and arrogant enough to try to change the system from within. Sentence them to twenty years of boredom.

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