Arnold Kling  

Competitive Government

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Two Essays on Today's Youth... Greg Clark and Jane Jacobs...

I will be a participant in a seminar in a couple of weeks called making democracy smarter. My essay is called competitive government vs. democratic government. I make the case against democracy.


Democratic government in the United States today offers neither adequate exit nor adequate voice to its constituents. Just as our economy is characterized by extreme inequality of income and wealth, our political system is one in which power is very unevenly distributed.

I am the least formidable participant in the seminar. I'm hoping that no one else turns out to be as formidable as Robin Hanson.


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CATEGORIES: Political Economy



COMMENTS (4 to date)
Jacob Miller writes:

If the federal government were to shrink 5% of GDP and the states were left to make their own fiscal and social policies, then I could vote twice in an election. My first vote is at the polls, which does not influence the outcome or my life in anyway. My second vote is with my feet, since I can always move to a different state that I find more appealing. I prefer my second vote to my first vote. In fact, I believe I'd prefer 50 monarchy states within the U.S. than a single overpowering federal government.

Snark writes:
I am the least formidable participant in the seminar. I'm hoping that no one else turns out to be as formidable as Robin Hanson.

The whole premise of making democracy smarter should rest on the hope that everyone turns out to be as formidable as Robin Hansen.

Please attend to your own luggage and let Prof. Hansen carry his.

Patri Friedman writes:

I like the paper, but I think (unsurprisingly) that you should mention seasteads as the most likely way for competitive government to arrive. The most likely, not because the problem of settling the ocean is easy, but simply because it is less defficult than getting democratic government to relinquish control. I think that starting a new system of government on a new frontier is much more feasible than uprooting an entrenched power structure which profits from lack of competition. Perhaps this is just my subjectivity on the subject, but I think it's a reasonable claim.

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