Monday, 18 July 2011

Political Goods

In Comparative Politics Today, Almond, Powell, Strom and Dalton define three levels of Political Goods:-
  1. System Level: "The political system is charachterised by regular, stable and predictable processes domestically and internationally... [it] adapts to environmental change and challenges."
  2. Process Level: "The political system is open to and responds to a variety of forms of political action and speech, which may directly produce a sense of citizen dignity and efficacy... Citizens fulfill their obligations to the system and comply with public law and policy... Equitable procedure and equality before the law... Processes have intended effects and are no more cumbersome, expensive, or intrusive than necessary."
  3. Policy Level: "Growth per capita... health and material goods... distributive equity... safety of person and property... public order and national security... Non-discrimination... protection of vulnerable or disadvantaged citizens... freedom from regulation, protection of privacy and respect for autonomy of other individuals, groups and nations."
I suspect that Interactive Democracy would enhance the System and Process levels, enabling better Policy, as seems to be the case with Direct Democracy in Switzerland. However, the main concerns seem to be that it still requires individuals to drive democratically agreed policy (what if they don't agree with it?) and the majority threatening the liberty of minorities.
  • The first qualm is dealt with by making politically accountable ministers responsible for managing change - they can be removed from office if they don't make every effort.
  • The second point is dealt with by our acceptance of the European Human Rights Act and our evolved culture of accepting and respecting difference.
  • Both benefit from effective national debate.

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