Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age (Hardcover)
A call to tone down our political rhetoric and embrace a common-sense approach to change.
Many experts believe that we are at a fulcrum moment in history, a time that demands radical shifts in thinking and policymaking. Calls for bold change are everywhere these days, particularly on social media, but is this actually the best way to make the world a better place? In Gradual, Greg Berman and Aubrey Fox argue that, contrary to the aspirations of activists on both the right and the left, incremental reform is the best path forward. They begin by emphasizing that the very structure of American government explicitly and implicitly favors incrementalism. Particularly in a time of intense polarization, any effort to advance radical change will inevitably engender significant backlash. As Berman and Fox make clear, polling shows little public support for bold change. The public is, however, willing to endorse a broad range of incremental reforms that, if implemented, would reduce suffering and improve fairness. To illustrate how incremental changes can add up to significant change over time, Berman and Fox provide portraits of "heroic incrementalists" who have produced meaningful reforms in a variety of areas, from the expansion of Social Security to more recent efforts to reduce crime and incarceration. Gradual is a bracing call for a "radical realism" that prioritizes honesty, humility, nuance, and respect in an effort to transcend political polarization and reduce the conflict produced by social media.
Greg Berman is the Distinguished Fellow of Practice at the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. He also serves as coeditor of Vital City and writes a regular column about nonprofit leadership for City & State. Berman previously served as the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation. He is the author of four previous books, including Trial & Error in Criminal Justice Reform: Learning from Failure, with Aubrey Fox. Aubrey Fox is the Executive Director of the New York City Criminal Justice Agency, the City's main pretrial services agency working under contract with the New York City Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice. In this role, he oversees the major operations and future development of CJA, which carries the mission of reducing the use of pretrial detention. Previously, Fox has held a number of senior-level positions at the Center for Court Innovation, including launching the Center's U.K. office, the Centre for Justice Innovation, in London. He graduated with a master's degree in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley, served as a VISTA Volunteer in San Antonio, Texas, was a Warren Weaver Fellow at The Rockefeller Foundation and a member of Coro's Leadership New York program.