Utopian fiat is key to formulating realistic political strategies for future social change Streeten in ‘99 (Paul, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Boston University, Development, “The Case For Being Utopian”, Volume 42, Issue 2, p. 118) First, Utopian thinking can be useful as a framework for analysis. Just as physicists assume an atmospheric vacuum for some purposes, so policy analysts can assume a political vacuum from which they can start afresh. The physicists’ assumption plainly would not be useful for the design of parachutes, but can serve other purposes well. Similarly, when thinking of tomorrow’s problems, Utopianism is not helpful. But for long-term strategic purposes it is essential. Second, the Utopian vision gives a sense of direction, which can get lost in approaches that are preoccupied with the feasible. In a world that is regarded as the second-best of all feasible worlds, everything becomes a necessary constraint. All vision is lost. Third, excessive concern with the feasible tends to reinforce the status quo. In negotiations, it strengthens the hand of those opposed to any reform. Unless the case for change can be represented in the same detail as the case for no change, it tends to be lost. Fourth, it is sometimes the case that the conjuncture of circumstances changes quite suddenly and that the constellation of forces, unexpectedly, turns out to be favourable to even radical innovation. Unless we are prepared with a carefully worked out, detailed plan, that yesterday could have appeared utterly Utopian, the reformers will lose out by default. Only a few years ago nobody would have expected the end of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, the disappearance of the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany, the break-up of Yugoslavia, the marketization of China, the end of apartheid in South Africa. And the handshake on the White House lawn between Mr Peres and Mr Arafat. Fifth, the Utopian reformers themselves can constitute a pressure group, countervailing the selfinterested pressures of the obstructionist groups. Ideas thought to be Utopian have become realistic at moments in history when large numbers of people support them, and those in power have to yield to their demands. The demand for ending slavery is a historical example. It is for these five reasons that Utopians should not be discouraged from formulating their proposals and from thinking the unthinkable, unencumbered by the inhibitions and obstacles of political constraints. They should elaborate them in the same detail that the defenders of the status quo devote to its elaboration and celebration. Utopianism and idealism will then turn out to be the most realistic vision.