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The Wicked Problems Collaborative is an experiment that looks to improve discourse & drive progress around wicked problems.
The Wicked Problems Collaborative is an experiment that looks to improve discourse & drive progress around wicked problems.
50 backers pledged $2,323 to help bring this project to life.
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WPC Book 1: What do we do about inequality?

$2,323

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Introducing the Wicked Problems Collaborative

Book 1: What do we do about inequality?

Inequality is a lever that pries civil society apart. Today’s conversations around rampant and growing economic disparity paradoxically tend to polarize and homogenize thought on the subject. This book, the first in a series on the so-called “wicked problems,” aims to improve public discourse by promoting new, divergent lines of thinking. (Wicked problems are those which are incredibly difficult to solve due to scale, complexity, changing requirements, competing interests, and incomplete information, and tend to be either economic, political, or environmental concerns.) The goal of this project is to engender fresh interdisciplinary conversations around inequality in an effort to encourage outcomes that are more just than those currently endured. 

This book will consist of a series of crisp, pointed essays that offer disparate yet harmonious voices. Leveraging our collective intelligence is a vital first step to solving the problem: all of us together know far more than any one of us possibly could. 

What began with a simple question—“What do we do about inequality?”—has evolved into a colorful collaborative effort between over thirty dynamic thinkers whose work I admire and whose ideas have deepened my own in meaningful and productive ways. Drawing from diverse areas of expertise, their contributions will bring a wide variety of perspectives to the effort that will challenge the reader as much with philosophical and technical discussions as with gripping, human stories. The themes covered are expected to span education, racism, sexism, income and wealth disparities, health care, climate change/environmental justice, and more. 

Our book is being published by The Journal Review Foundation, a not-for-profit publisher of academic journals, journal reviews, and other scholarly resources, and has been written to be accessible to a general audience yet still stimulating for an academic reader. 

Our book will be divided into two sections (although many may not fit neatly into a single category): 

  • Re-framing Paradigms: The first section will feature pieces that ask the reader to step back and review received paradigms and challenge their validity, while offering new ways of perceiving them. 
  • Defining Problems & Laying New Foundations: The pieces in this section will provide a well-rounded understanding of the burdens inequality places on individuals and society at large, while also discussing the win-win possibilities offered through its reduction. The section will close with essays focused on proposing specific opportunities for fostering a more just society. 

Where Things Stand

Most of our essays have either already been edited, or are in the editing process. The current list of collaborators, along with their essay titles, is featured below, and a few more are in the works. 

Author Twitter bios are linked here. I've learned an incredible amount by following this group, and would highly recommend doing the same.

Risks and challenges

This is a bit of an odd project for a Kickstarter, because unless something bad happens to me, the book will be published. (And even then, the pieces are all there, so our publisher would be able to complete it.) However, this project still faces several challenges and risks.

Our primary challenge is to get these ideas into as many hands as possible. We don't have much of a marketing budget (which is to say we don't have a marketing budget at all). Our collaborators have taken a chance in participating in this project, and they ought to be rewarded with readers. The Kickstarter project gives us the opportunity to get a running start at finding readers who would be interested in the topic. That could then help us create a bit of buzz around the book, so that there might be more attention directed towards it as we move towards the book's release date.

If we do not manage to succeed at this, the project could end as a one-off, rather than the series it is intended to be. I do believe that helping people think through the problems of inequality is a wholly worthy goal in itself, but I'd hate to see the possibility of doing the same on a number of important topics (climate change, war, disease, etc.) be extinguished.

Reaching a wide audience is essential to giving the people who have contributed to this volume reason to come back for future efforts and bringing new collaborators into the fold. I will be working to do everything I can to ensure that we make that happen, but there' is a limit to what I can do by way of pluck and sheer force of will. Buying a copy of our book, or making a small donation to help us recover upfront costs, would help boost us along the path to success. Telling your friends might help even more. Reading the book and sharing your thoughts in a review would be wonderfully helpful. So please do help us out however you can. We'll all appreciate it.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    Welcome Well-Wisher

    If writing the book was a distance run (and surely it has been), we'd be entering the final few miles. Tossing a few bucks in our jar will be like handing out water to exhausted marathoners. You'll give us a boost that'll help us get across the finish line.

    You'll also get email updates as the book goes through the final editing stages and on to publishing (as well our weekly email with links to interesting reads and updates on our future efforts). And we'll invite you to join discussions on our Facebook page, with all the rights and privileges thereto. (Whatever that means.)

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    e-Book Benefactor

    You'll receive a special Kickstarter edition e-book copy of "What do we do about inequality?" two weeks before it's released, and we'll list you in the Supporter page of the special Kickstarter edition of the e-book.

    But wait, there's more!

    In addition to the e-book, you'll get to bask in the warm afterglow of post-contributory bliss.

    You'll also be bestowed with WPC family rights and privileges (Huzzah!), and welcome to join discussions on our FB page. We'll also add you to our mailing list for email updates.

    And I can't promise anything, but there may be a partridge in a pear tree at some point, or something.

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    Pledge $28 or more About $28

    Paperback Promoter

    You'll get a paperback copy of "What do we do about inequality?" as soon as it's available. (Tentatively scheduled for November.), and we'll list you in the contributor page of the special Kickstarter edition of the e-book.

    You'll get to feel good about helping out. (All donations will be greatly appreciated!) You'll be bestowed with WPC family rights and privileges... Welcome to join discussions on our FB page, and we'll invite you to join our mailing list for email updates.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Bookworm Bonanza

    You'll get a special Kickstarter edition e-book copy of "What do we do about inequality?" two weeks before it's released, where you'll find your name on the supporter page. You'll also get a paperback copy of "What do we do about inequality?" as soon as it's available. (Tentatively scheduled for November.) Keep one copy, and give one away. Or keep them both. (We won't judge!)

    Extras:
    The warm afterglow.
    WPC family rights and privileges thereto.
    The opportunity to join in on FB discussions. Email updates on the Kickstarter project, as well as our surprisingly not award-winning weekly newsletter.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Sharp-Dressed Supporter

    You'll get a special Kickstarter edition e-book copy of "What do we do about inequality?" two weeks before it's released, and we'll list you in the contributor page of that edition of the book. You'll also get a t-shirt with our logo (You can get it in any color you like, as long as you like black), which you'll be able to wear around town to let folks know you mean business when it comes to the biggest problems faced by humanity.

    Other stuff: You too will get to feel good. You'll have full WPC family rights and privileges. We'll welcome you to our FaceBook discussions. You'll never miss an update as a member of our Mailing list. And there's the possibility of receiving total consciousness at the pushing up daisies portion of the program. Who knows?

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Founding Funder

    You'll receive a copy of the special edition e-book and the paperback, and you'll be listed on the Sponsor page in the Kickstarter versions of the e-book and we'll list you on a sponsor page for the book at:
    wickedproblemscollaborative.com

    Thrown in for good measure:
    Feeling good about doing good.
    WPC family rights and privileges.
    Joining in the fun for FaceBook discussions. Weekly treats delivered to your email inbox

    On top of all of this, I will attempt to throw a hex on your sworn enemy. (I've never done it before, but I've seen it on teevee.)

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Wicked Welcomer

    Have me (Chris) come to talk to your organization, group, or collection of randomly rounded up strangers about the Wicked Problems Collaborative, the experience of shepherding this book, community building, inequality, or wicked problems in general.

    Travel and accommodations need to be provided separately.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Repentant Rockefeller

    As an enlightened, wealthy heir/heiress, you understand as well as anyone the amount to which our opportunities depend upon the access afforded by the circumstances into which we are born. Guilt for which surely racks up against you. Fear not, for we are here to help relieve you of that burden. (I wonder if anyone will read this far down the page.)

    Fabulous Rewards:
    You'll get one of each of the items listed above, as well as the sponsor credits. You'll be able to rest well knowing that in atoning for your past transgressions, you've funded the WPC's efforts, affording the opportunity for them to help driving the world in a better direction. You will also be given permission to forgive yourself for that thing you did. Yes, we know...
    (Note: This pledge is meant to be listed at $100,000.000.00, but Kickstarter caps out donations at $10k. No worries. We know you're good for it.)

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Funding period

- (29 days)