Guide 2020

February 2008 - March 2009
Ivan Krastev and Milla Mineva

Sometimes the best way to get lost in a town is to try to find one’s way using a map. Maps have few details and the streets are drawn in thin lines that have nothing to do with the houses around you. Failing to cope with the abstraction of the map, you may feel the urge to throw it into the closest dust bin. A few hours latter, though, you might find yourself staring at the same dust bin again, feeling even more lost after trying to “feel” the city following its details: facades, shop windows, people, cafes…

Next time try with a guide. Guides can offer many stories about the places to see and will show you how to get there.

Imagine that this is not a town but our own society. We can draw a map of it based on various macro indicators, indicating on the map broad categories such as workers, civil servants, business people, and supporters of various political groups. We could try changing the map to reflect economic cycles. Yet, often when we see that actual people do not look like these big groups on the map we may have to make a choice between the map and the people. For a long time we have been choosing the map, namely the macro indicators (which show that the economy is going well, the overall situation is improving and the people feel unhappy).

In order to understand the reality and get a feel of the details, we have decided to put aside the map and try playing the role of guides. This is what the Centre for Liberal Strategies, the Open Society Institute and the Capital Weekly have recently begun to work on.

It all started with a book: Microtrends, by Mark Penn. According to him, if only one percent of non-mainstream people like a particular movie, book or political party, we can already speak about a bestseller or a micro trend that can influence the society as whole. 

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