Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Making democracy work?

(Warning: this post is rich with links to other parts of this blog. Sorry about that now...).

Channel 4's chairman, Luke Johnson, has a piece today in the FT that seems to have all of the shortcomings that the article sees in others. He outlines a variation on the problems that Mancur Olson enumerated in his 'Logic of Collective Action.' Democracy is often mired in consensus and vetoes.

He urges us to read a book called The Gridlock Economy (which I haven't read yet) and assures us that it has the answer to these problems. If it has, Luke doesn't offer much of an inkling. If I do get hold of a copy though, I'd be interested to see if the Ken-model of politician features as part of the solution as I outlined here (Ken without the idiotic posturing, that is...).

And I'd be interested to see if it addresses the problems with the cloying ultra-scrutiny (and the clerical representation end-point that it leads to is addressed. I'd be interested to see if he's looked at judicial decision-making models to see if it makes for a better democracy. Or if a new variation on Boss Politics, or strongly resourced individual MPs (as opposed to MPs that are cowed by all of their odious rivals) provides the answer?

When I read reviews like this, I never bother buying the books because they always seem to suggest that 'if only the country was run the way that I run my business...' is the answer to everything.

And, as I think we've established this week, capitalism is a nice idea in theory, but it will never work in practice.

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