Chapter 9 Field Report

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

— Margaret Mead

After filling out the questionnaire, the topic of the deliberation will be introduced by two moderators, both of which are non-experts in the field. The moderators again introduce a simplified version of the above table, and walk participants through the combinations of base and schedule — including presently used pit, vat and payroll — but abstain from causal, or normative statements about these taxes. The table will also be prominently displayed on premise for easy reference by participants. Participants are then tasked to deliberate the basic choices of base and schedule.

Deliberation alternates throughout the day between small-group settings of 5–8 persons and larger plenary sessions. Moderators assist the participants and encourage the norms of deliberation — including respect, equal participation and argumentative reciprocity — but do not clarify or comment on substantive questions. Moderators also make sure that no pressure for a collective decision is exerted. Participants are invited to collect questions for a question and answer session held mid-day with a balanced panel of economic experts. The deliberation concludes in a plenary session where participants are invited to reflect on the experience, as well as to identify further questions for deliberation. Participants fill out a questionnaire again, including some of the questions from the initial questionnaire, as well as some additional items concentrating on the deliberative experience, especially the perceived autonomy, equality and competence of participants. are recompensed for their time and thanked by the convener.

9.1 Recruiting

9.2 Schedule

A preliminary (very rough) draft schedule
Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday
09:00-09:30 Arrival Learning: Ends of the Mixed economy Learning: Tradeoffs, Smoke/mirrors real dissavings Learning: Optimal Tax Learning: Incidence of Tax/Elasticity Free Time / Church Service Learning: Tax Choice
11:00-11:30 Introduction Small Group: Ends of Mixed Economy Small Group: Tradeoffs, Smoke/mirrirs, dissavings Small-Group: ptimal Tax Small-Group: Incidence Plenary: Preparing Questions Small Group
Lunch Break
14:00-15:00 Small Group: Experience and Questions with Tax Learning: Means of the Mixed Economy Plenary: Summary Learning: Just Taxation Learning: Schedule, timing/Neutrality Experts Panel: Q&A Plenary: Write up of Report
16:00-17:30 Plenary: Report on above Small Group: Means of the mixed economy Learning: Overview of existing taxes Small Group: Just taxation Small Group: Schedule, Timing & Neutrality Plenary: Reflection see above.
Learning: Distilling guiding questions
Dinner Break Farewell Dinner
20:00ff Movie: 12 Angry Men tba. Games Night tba. tba. tba. Departure

9.3 Field Data

The first CiviCon Citizen Conference on taxation produced a wealth of data, including:

  • 2x 18x Q-Sorts (before, after)
  • 2x 18x Item Feedback (before, after)
  • 17x Socio-Economic & Demographic data
  • 15x General written feedback
  • 315x Notes, Posters, Illustrations
  • 1601x Photos
  • 100hrs Audio
  • 80hrs Video (1080p)

Additionally, process data from the deliberation will be gathered, comprising of the claims, themes and questions raised by participants and summarized by the moderator and/or scribe at the end of each deliberation, as well as the final report on taxation and other documents or notes produced during the deliberation. Deliberations will also be audio-(visually) recorded, although comprehensive transcription and analysis of this data will probably not be possible. This process data and select recordings will then be subjected to a qualitative content analysis, both to verify that participants could make arguments reciprocally comprehensible (and otherwise valid), and to record which of several arguments deliberators accepted as based on universal validity claims.

9.4 Press Conference