Peter J. Jessen

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ApPlication of Peter Berger

Key Principles of Peter L. Berger: Vis a Vis Sociology of and the Sociology of Knowledge as they Relate to Social Roles, Social Stratification, Social Inequality, and Justice, Peter J. Jessen, Reader, 1993

More Solutions

FROM:   Solution Paper #44, posted May 21, 2011, Guidelines for Including Justice in Planning Meetings to Calculate a Better Future for Minneapolis in terms of education, jobs, housing and public safetyby engaging in a “ contestation” between competing public policy idea sets.

Originally published in November 2002 in The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, by Ron Edwards as told to Peter Jessen, pp. 297-299, 300, 315-317, 320-322.

EXCERPTS from p.300 of Chapter 17: The Positive Future Possibilities for Minneapolis

It is time that all Blacks be included at the table.  One of the great tools offered citizens by the United States is the mechanism of asset management that most take for granted.  It allows assets to become liquid and turned into something else, such as investment money from the mortgage on a home or building or cash for your kid’s education.  But to have investment income one needs a living wage with some discretionary money left over to invest.  To make asset management work means having not only laws that enforce private property rights but also laws that prevent its theft, whether stolen by the private sector or public sector.  Much inequality is not due to capitalism, but due to many being forced out of it, whether forcibly (see Interlude 8) or through benign neglect (Chapters 7-9).  Education is the key for all in our modern society.  When we offer public education to the poor and inner city that does not teach the key tools of reading and writing, or when housing is kept out of reach by depressing wages below livable levels that don’t allow making mortgage payments combined with practices that deny mortgages to minorities, then we have said you are not welcome at the table.

Ancient King Solomon asked for wisdom to discern what to do.  The facts of this book can give us the wisdom to know what can probably work and in all probability what will not work.  In his Pyramids of Sacrifice, Peter Berger gives us a “recipe for discerning whether what we are doing is wise or not, by giving us a calculus to use, one of meaning and one of pain.  I have attempted to use this recipe in our accepted YESes and common NOs of Chapter 5.  This book has addressed the “calculus of pain” of racism and Jim Crowism in terms of the immense human costs borne by those who did not request or conceive the projects but were forced to live under them.  Public policy needs modesty.  Public policy needs wisdom.  Imaginations are still needed.  But so too is the wisdom with which to use them and wisdom with which to judge the consequences of those policies.  Hence the YESSES and NOs, the ultimate contest of ideas, a “contestation” between our ideals and an examination of them in both economical and ideological terms.  The Senator who tried to have family live a week on the minimum wage was a good start.  Every legislator, Federal and State and City, should attempt to live on the minimum wage for at least a week (although a month would be more of a learning experience).  Then we could really get serious in talking about positive future possibilities.

More Propositions from Berger

Excerpts from Solution paper #22, 7 KEY THEMES, 7 KEY PROBLEMS, and 7 KEY SOLUTIONS, August 31, 2003

e. Explore the propositions of Peter Berger, as listed in the Conclusion of my book, p. 315. Use as a base the seven values held universally around the globe by many, as a starting point, on p. 316, in the Conclusion. Explore the theses of Peter Berger on p. 297 of my book, Interlude 16. 

f. Call “a family meeting”: as has been pointed out elsewhere, back in the year 2000, Dave Jennings, (with the school district as of this writing), in discussing the stadium problem, said “someone other than the teams have to create a public discussion about the future of the Twins and the Vikings in Minnesota. The teams are crying out for somebody to call the family meeting” (Star Tribune,8-10-00). So too, the problems outlined in my book call out for a public discussion, for a “family meeting.” Who should call it? Why not the Urban League, the NAACP, or the two together? How about a newspaper? A company? A coalition? A church. A church denomination. Let the family meeting be called. Let the conversation begin. Use this Solution Paper to develop the agenda. 

g. Consider, for goals, the lists on p. 305 of Chapter 17, as taken from the reports on the Watts Riots in L.A. and from the Kerner Commission on the riots of 1967. 

h. Use as criteria for evaluating policies and actions the YESes and NOs listed in Chapters 5 and 17, and use a calculus of meaning and a calculus of pain (see Chapters 1, 5, 16 and Conclusion). 

i. Utilize the best that can be found in conflict resolution models (see ), as well as the four questions on p. 321 in the Conclusion chapter.

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