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Philologos
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03 Aug 2011, 6:52 pm

You know the idea - social connectivity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation

It has gotten to the point that I wonder about it.

I am - all of us in the Inner Circle are - pretty isolated. We are the ones who need a longer connectivity chain than the average.

But there are those here on PPR who tell us things like Bush thought this and Obama wanted that and Rupert Murdoch has that intention and Lucy Palladino likes Stevie. I read through some of these politische postings and the authoritative insider insights amaze me. I don't know that much about my colleagues' motivations after working beside them 20 years, some of them.

So - how many connections does it take to get some of you access to cabinel level deliberations? Not askinh who - that might be classified. Just how many?



visagrunt
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04 Aug 2011, 10:20 am

Two: Me -> My director-general -> the Minister.

I disagree with the notion that we requrie longer connectivity chain. While we might be more socially isolated, that simply means that we have fewer starting positions for chains--but that does not speak to the robustness of the chain itself.

Through a single starting point, I am three connections from the Prime Minister, which puts me at four to the Queen, and every Head of Government in the G20--that's a very robust chain.

Through another starting point, I am two connections from some A-list Hollywood talent--another robust chain.

Do you know a Roman Catholic priest? That puts you three or four connections from the Pope. If you don't know a priest, do you know a practicing Roman Catholic? Add one step.


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Philologos
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04 Aug 2011, 11:05 am

Well, we are not all privy to top drawer info.

If I had a burning need to know WHAT the Obama administration's economic understandigs actually are, I COULD go to my friend Dick. With whom I have spoken since 1965 about ten times, which is deceiving since all ten of those are in the past two years.

And he being an Alpha economist is likely a maximum of two further steps to someone who may well be privy to the presumed plans.

But even reactivating contacts that were slight acquaintances 25 years ago, I doubt very much I could get near the leadership of either party. And that is assuming active probing.

Being a highly focussed scholar and an introvert subject to heavy social stresses, I have about never talked to anyone but relatives and the denizens of the academy,

Do you, without probing, get insights filtering minister to Director-General to youwards?



visagrunt
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04 Aug 2011, 2:20 pm

Well, given that one of the functions of my job is to write briefing material for senior managers and the Minister, to support drafting Memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board Submissions and the like, I am very close to decision making in my particular area. I couldn't tell you anything about what's going on in other Goverrnment Department's, though. And I wouldn't ask my friends and colleagues in those departments to tell me, either.

I am very well aware of the Minister's thinking on issues that relate to my work--less so on his thinking in areas of the Department that do not affect me. After all, public servants are required to advise the Minister, and to carry out the Minister's policy decision. That means that the system has to understand the political direction of the Minister, and more generally the government.

But even in academia, you are probably two steps from the Vice-Chancellor (or President, or whatever title your institution bestows on its head), and you can be certain that this officer is well connected to government.


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