We hear the term “political will” in most conversations about government implementation of rules and regulations. I would like to think that “political will” is a composite of goal-setting, pondering, conversation, gestation and a healthy dose of self-deprecation.

Any group effort that tries to imagine itself being able to contribute to the community (large or small) or to society will never be immune to the lack of “political will”. Many would like to imagine themselves as movers, shakers and initiators of change (Why not work in the shadows?). This imagination is probably a dangerous illusion that is as hard to dispel as the myth that bloody revolutions are necessary for political and social transformation towards the ideal.

You learn from economics that it is hard to sustain group efforts even with incentives. It is not surprising that most members of a group don’t care because the optimal strategy is always to free ride in a prudence-only mindset. Sometimes incentives may also trigger a deviation from the intended objective of the group effort. In fact, a whole subject in economics is devoted to the study of incentives to avert these problems. A lot of virtues are needed to supplement the “spirit” of group effort for it to be successful.

Setting goals and imagining one’s place in a community are probably the most overemphasized aspects  of any group effort. This is where you hear the most noise from advocates. But when the time comes to actually do something, they move on to something else. Ask yourself what happens to the people who make the most noise about, say, the RH bill after the bill gets passed. They go to the next crusade and fad of the moment just to hear themselves pontificate. They never stay and do the grunt work. The internet even makes it easier for these people to thrive. The social network phase of our generation does not make it any easier either. How should we solve it? Not everyone could just suck it up and do what they can.