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A general question – would countries have more efficient & effective governments, if elected politicians had to spend their time doing the ‘greatest good for the greatest number’, whilst government agencies, charities and for profit organisations dealt with cases on an individual* level?

This would mean more emphasis by politicians on prevention rather than cure. It would also eliminate time spent by politicians listening to an individual (or a small lobby group) from their constituency complaining to them personally. Accountability would still be preserved at the ballot box. And by the political parties in opposition, as well as the critical media, providing a ‘blow by blow’ comentary on the shortcomings of government various policies.

In the case of multi-nationals lobbying individual politicians, the mechanism needs to become one of only allowing powerful companies or sector bodies to lobby a government working committee (via an ‘interested party’ consultation process) , not an individual politician, to promote transparency, minimise corruption and generate more balanced decision-making.

With the growing impacts of globalisation and technology on entire populations of a country, perhaps the time has passed for politicians to represent their own electorate in unique ways. After all, unless they are a minority political party representing just one electorate, politicians must conform to a wider political party policy and manifesto.

For example, the political solutions to a problem such as the housing crisis in London, at least impact a large number of boroughs within the city, if not areas within the commuter belt into the city as well. Politicians representing those boroughs typically face similar problems – rental housing supply, demand for social housing, the need to fast-track planning applications to develop brownfield sites within their electorates. And the need to improve air quality and transport links relating to the location of housing in their electorates.

Since a group of politicians within a large city face a similar group of social (political) problems, governance will become more efficient and effective if they spend their time looking for solutions that deliver broadly the greatest good for the greatest number. They can then argue about the trade-offs e.g. how much to increase taxes to improve supply (of transport infrastructure and social housing say) at the expense of reduced incentive to wealth creators.

*This doesn’t stop agencies and charities also moving up the aid-support-empowerment-advocacy hierarchy to improve their impact, as well as providing basic aid services to people on a ‘means tested’ needs basis.

 

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