Wednesday, 8 February 2012


David Bolchover, in his book "Pay Check: Are Top Earners Really Worth It?", advocates the idea that the head's of organisations often benefit from the position of their firm and the economic environment much more than anything they contribute themselves. (According to Merryn Somerset Webb, from MoneyWeek, its worth a read.)
A political comparison would be PM Brown claiming to have beaten boom and bust only to be rudely awakened from his dream into an economic nightmare.
A sporting analogy also seems appropriate here. Isn't it obvious that some football players are more talented than others? Of course. But their earnings are also proportionate to the popularity of the game and the associated TV rights (enabling them to entertain many more people than any stadium can hold). There is also a far clearer idea of what constitutes soccer talent. Not so with business. An expert in one business may lack the technical understanding of another.
So, what's this got to do with democracy?
While I don't doubt that some people have a political talent, I doubt that that talent warrants their power over every aspect of society, and I doubt that we, the electorate, are easily able to spot it. Therefore, society should have mechanisms for talented individuals to come to the fore, as and when their expertise is needed. Interactive Democracy provides one way of doing this. For example, it encourages policemen to contribute to legislation on crime and doctors to campaign for healthcare. Yet it allows politicians to do politics.

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