The Corruption of Democracy
Reform or Revolution
Rights and Responsibilities
The Icelandic Revolution
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The Unraveling of Government Frustrated over the inability of political leaders to find common ground on even the most pressing national issues, Americans have developed a long list of people or political practices to blame for the fact that government doesn’t seem to work anymore. But the real problem is something that’s not high on most such lists, something that’s far more crucial. We’re electing the wrong people, they complain. There are no leaders any more.
The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies. The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people's ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. People Aren't Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say | Why the Best Candidate Never Wins | Psychology | LiveScience
(Photo: Francisco Diez / Flickr)What started as a somewhat complex mathematical analysis of the game of politics using game theory (the mathematical study of strategic decision making) has evolved years later into an extraordinarily simple idea that would revolutionize government at all levels. Deception is the lifeblood of our political system. A system claiming to work for the best interests of the people, while in fact largely working for corporate special interests, must necessarily be riddled with elaborate lies and deception. Our political system, with great help from mainstream media, is designed to foster mass deception rather than expose it. But a simple rule change to our game of politics would instantly and reliably expose deception. An Elegantly Simple Way to Revolutionize Government
Too Much Of A Good Thing In an 1814 letter to John Taylor, John Adams wrote that “there never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” That may read today like an overstatement, but it is certainly true that our democracy finds itself facing a deep challenge: During my recent stint in the Obama administration as director of the Office of Management and Budget, it was clear to me that the country’s political polarization was growing worse—harming Washington’s ability to do the basic, necessary work of governing. If you need confirmation of this, look no further than the recent debt-limit debacle, which clearly showed that we are becoming two nations governed by a single Congress—and that paralyzing gridlock is the result. So what to do? To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions.