A new type of Think Tank for a new age.
Find out more at modernsocietyinitiative.org
It seems like every time we look at the news in 2020 we see only bad ideas, and so few good ones.
What makes a bad idea? In your day to day life you can spot one a mile off; the dodgy offer on the doorstep to clean your gutters, the rip-off car salesman, the phishing email claiming to be a long-lost relative needing your bank details. We are very good in our adult lives at analysing risk and benefit in every transaction we make, whether that’s money, time, service, relationships.
Of course there are a whole series of much larger transactions of which you are a part of, that directly affects your life, with which we are less well equipped to analyse and control; public policy, especially given the pandemic currently raging.
These large transactions are inescapable, needs we can’t readily organise on our own: security, infrastructure, public health and social care, schooling. The purpose of government is an altruistic one, to provide those services by pooling our resources, including our decision making. It’s a service.
So how do we as an individual direct what this service does? Well as a pooled resource we can only contribute a small fraction of the decision making to the whole, through our vote, and to a lesser extent campaigning.
In this space how we do know how to direct that decision making? Can we so easily spot a “bad idea” from a good one? Think tanks traditionally feed into that space, groups of researchers that try to answer the question of what is and isn’t a good or a bad idea for government policy. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.
In truth all think tanks will in some way deviate from the pure agenda of the best policy for the maximum number of people, which might be guided by personal bias, philosophical bias or, in the worst cases, financial incentives. Some think tanks pretend to evidence based research but are employed mouthpieces of vested interests, for example Big Tobacco.
This lack of transparency is the biggest problem with evaluating “good” and “bad” ideas. If you wanted advice about a suspicious car sale, would you ask the dealer? Of course not, for fear they would be compromised and seeking to financially benefit, from you. And yet, we do this all the time on the government level, listening to bad ideas directly funded by those without our best interests at heart, which corrupts the very idea of what government is for.
The second biggest problem is uncertainty. If you want to know if a light switch is working in your house, it’s easy enough to devise a test. But how do we test public policy? For example, when we clamour for “common sense” policies like smaller class sizes, why don’t we ever collect any data on the cost of this and if this works or not? When you buy a fan, you want to know your house will be cooler. If it doesn’t work you won’t spend money on it again. And yet, we rarely ever test out any policy. We should develop sensible ways to test and trial major government policy to know that it works, and admit when we don’t know so that we can test things.
What we need is something better, sensible, evidence-based policy, that informs government and can be trusted for the public benefit. That’s what the Modern Society Institute is all about: a new type of think thank.
We are 100% transparent. Every penny donated is available for public record, immediately. We are dedicated to effective and robust policy research, in the interests of the public and all our policy is written for the public to read.
MSi will operate entirely digitally through social media, podcasts and online research forums. It will pull in expertise from all corners of society from scientists to entrepreneurs, from technologists to communicators. We will build something new, together.
A people-powered think tank, for a decent, prosperous society. New ideas don’t need to be radical, they just need to work, for everyone.
Join the (sensible) revolution.
Support us today.
Where will my funds go?
Our £10,000 goal is to build our infrastructure and launch our two urgent flagship projects:
The two biggest challenges in front of us is how we respond to the pandemic. According to an IPPR report, up to 300,000 NHS staff are planning to leave in the next year, a potential death-knell for our healthcare service. We urgently need to understand what welfare and wellbeing measures have been put in place to support healthcare workers, and how effective they are. Our first major research project will seek to immediately understand what can be done to avert a potential exodus and catastrophe.
In parallel we are seeking to urgently understand the health beliefs around COVID, especially around people's trust in the system and following the guidelines in these times of rising cases. Using state of the art survey and social media analysis tools, we can build an accurate picture of trust in public health interventions and the points at which that trust is failing, developing tools to improve public health messaging and target specific areas. We need to do this as soon as possible if our pandemic response over the winter is to be effective and informed.
Lastly we have set up a Rapid Response unit, to tackle the topical misinformation of the day, in what has become an increasingly ill-informed and dangerous conversation in light of the pandemic and other emerging crises.
Our wider research focus is on tackling the challenges in the world right now: the COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare worker wellbeing, misinformation, climate change, child poverty and inequality and government and ministerial reform.
We will output our research through social media, podcasts and video output, particularly centred at reinforcing public health messaging, addressing misinformation and trying to clean up the general mess 2020 has made of our society.
Please support us today.