just-in-time politics
n. A form of politics in which ad hoc coalitions and relationships are built around issues instead of parties or ideologies.
Ward 6 Councillor Irene Jones (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) said the last-minute release of the sweeping report put residents and community groups across the city into a needless panic…. 'I find myself frustrated by the just-in-time politics we practise here on a daily basis.'
—David Nickle, “Report on selling city assets sits on official's desk,” Mirror-Guardian.com, June 12, 2001
1998 (earliest)
Over the last fifteen years, American manufacturing has rehabilitated itself, in part, through a practice known as just-in-time manufacturing. Under the previous regimen, factories cranked out items and stored them in warehouses. If companies miscalculated demand, or if the overall economy weakened, they were stuck with huge inventories of unsold goods. Just-in-time manufacturing called for swift production lines and lean inventories. That reduced costs and allowed the type of customization of products well known to anyone who has bought a computer from Gateway, Dell, or a similar outfit. … The political world — most often a lagging indicator of innovation — is also morphing toward this form. In an era where there are small inventories of party loyalty, effective politicians must fashion coalitions in much the same way that Gateway fashions computers. Call it just-in-time politics.
—Daniel H. Pink, “The Politics of Free Agents,” Blueprint Magazine, September 01, 1998
This phrase was popularized (and probably coined) by Daniel Pink, a former speechwriter for Al Gore and the author of the book Free Agent Nation.
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