Thursday, 27 February 2014

Political incentives

On Extra Credits, a sort of gaming-philosophy-related YouTube channel, there's a video about political incentives, focusing on the USA, because that's where the video creators live. It makes some incredibly good points about members of congress being insulated from the effects of their actions, and ways to fix that, such as tying congresspeoples' wages directly to a multiple of the average US wage, and giving them exactly whatever health care options are available to an ordinary citizen of their age. Those are stellar suggestions, I think, and they would definitely result in a much more fair, balanced, involved and trustworthy government. We should enact those measures immediately, is my point.

The problem comes next. The people who would be 100% responsible for setting up those laws are the very same people who would be voting themselves a pay cut and more limited health care options as a result. That's not going to go down so well with the current members of congress. The crippling arterial blockage we are trying to remove is the very reason many of the most powerful congresscritters are there in the first place: it's a cushy job with tons of benefits and very little in terms of actual negative consequences of your actions, plus the ability to vote yourself more money at any time. Trying to root that out of the system is going to be practically impossible, and keeping it secure once it is miraculously accomplished is going to be a constant ongoing battle. As soon as you say "congressional wages will be 2.5 times the national average", someone will introduce a bill to say "actually, let's make it 3.5 times" and so on.

Because Congress is in power over itself, it is going to drift further and further into corruption as time goes on. The deeper it gets, the harder it will be to root out. In the end, a total collapse of the political system may be required to bring about the necessary change, and that assumes you can keep the warlords and backstabbers out of the revolution.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I think political systems naturally drift towards corruption.
PPS - Or basically every one of them has so far, some slower than others.

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