Politicians are individuals. "What is best for me?" decides the vote. "What is best for me?" decides the vote for brainy and dorky ones, for radical and stodgy ones, and for you and me, too. This won't change and that's the good news. You can count on self interest. Good policy exploits it and bad policy conceals self interest from public view.
Notes from Glenn Reynolds' USA Today column: Rapid transit will trump buses because there are more opportunities for graft. Bus routes can be set up in a day and changed the day after. LRT trains and subways involve years of construction contracts and jobs and can't be taken away by a second vote. They bump the value of real estate by tens of millions along the route and around stations. A lot of players bringing gifts want to cozy up to a politician who will vote for LRT and almost none cozy up for the bus vote. The projects raise tax revenue. They make headlines for the politicians where a bus line won't. Bus lines are more flexible and cheaper but have fewer opportunities to advance a politician's self worth.
"This analysis goes far beyond buses. The explanation for why politicians don’t do all sorts of reasonable-sounding things usually boils down to “insufficient opportunities for graft.” And, conversely, the reason why politicians choose to do many of the things that they do is ... you guessed it, sufficient opportunities for graft.My cure is letting more self-interested voters in to compete for the spoils. That's the beauty of the eWorld. It's not cynical to rely on human nature, because you can always count on it.
That graft may come in the form of bags of cash, or shady real-estate deals, or “consulting” gigs for a brother-in-law or child, but it may also come in broader terms of political support and even in opportunities for politicians to feel superior or to humiliate their enemies. What all these things have in common, though, is that they’re not about making life better for voters. They’re about making life better for politicians."
|Good decisions have some of the gold coloured virtues on the winning side.|
A better picture shows self interest represented in hundreds and even
thousands on both sides of the balances,
like a Massive Online Open Game