2010/03/11

Illegitimate influences on our governments

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Corporate influence on legislative and executive is dangerous for the freedom of a society. This problem is acute in many countries and some societies are very aware of this problem of theirs.

This recent example from the UK is an interesting and disgusting reminder.


The discussion is on a minimal level in Germany. We had some critical voices about the presence of top bankers in meetings about how to react to the financial crisis, we had a small scandal about external lawyers writing bills and being confident enough to use their own letter head and the influence on lobbyists is as well known as the proximity between many CEOs and top politicians.
Nevertheless, the topic of improper corporate influence on policy is not a big or persistent one in Germany.


The problem is in fact not so much their influence as the lack of a counter influence. The asymmetry is the problem.

The ministry bureaucracies don't have enough expertise to do their job alone - they depend on information input from lobbyists, corporations and NGOs. These bureaucracies would become even costlier, larger and slower if they had to do allr esearch on their own - and even then they would at some point need to ask others for information (which would be filtered, of course).

It's a systematic design fault that modern states aren't able to keep a proper balance. It's probably not humanly possible at all.

Well, there's a problem - a serious one. We should begin to understand it and to understand it as a challenge. More transparacy would be a possible approach. Maybe we should enforce that all outside contacts of politicians and bureaucrats need to be logged. Even a scaled-down version of such a requirement would would produce a huge amount of data - and we would need trustworthy journalists and/or NGOs to analyze this data.

Another possibility is to set new rules and to enforce them - if necessary with serious sanctions. A bureaucrat who copies a corporate proposal into a bill deserves to be fired as a principle, for example. Politicians need more protection - it should suffice to expose their action to the public.

There are likely dozens if not hundreds of promising proposals for how to meet this challenge - we merely need to pick them up.


The point is: We need to recognize asymmetric exogenous influences on legislative and executive as a problem and as likely causes for serious societal problems. We need to meet this challenge and strive for a reduction of the problem.
Corporate interest influence on legislation is a relative of foreign rule. It's a problem that severs our sovereignty and liberty.

The people are the sovereign in Germany. The government shall serve them, not corporate or other organised special interests.


Sven Ortmann
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4 comments:

  1. First of all, my compliments, very interesting blog. About this post: large firms and especially international corporations are always intermixed with politics, we like it or not. It's no secret that the Telecom spies on us. And are a useful means to send spies abroad.
    Democracy is moreover not that good and in my opinion in going to die "pretty" soon: hopefully for a revival of the "ancien regime", though a subtly fascist eurocracy is the goal of our elites, lady Merkel included.

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  2. I don't see any improvement in a return to a quite random selection of purposely educated leaders at all.

    The problem is instead that we've become toos atisfied with the present state of democracy, not eager enough to progress further.
    Our democracies are often being praised as great designs as part of their defence against authoritarian alternative designs. We forget that it should be a work in progress.

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  3. I agree (with etrusco), lobby groups although undesirable are an inherent "feature" of democracies.

    Most "great thinkers",philosophers etc I have know of look down upon democracy. (This is of course not hard proof by itself).

    Democracy is a poor "last resort" system for ruling in my opinion, which becomes the only obvious form of government in a unorganized, uneducated, individualistic society. Some would describe this as a mob.

    However I don't think a society can move to higher forms of government unless the people in society "upgrade" themselves as well. Just like you cannot put an average rookie conscript in a fighter jet. Higher and more complex forms of government are only useful if you have people who are capable of using them. The biggest weakness of "the majority" today is that they are conditioned by Prussian Model style education:

    what to think and how to obey,
    not how to reason independently using logic.



    (Sven) Since you say that it (the ruling system I presume) is a work in progress, maybe this can be one of your following posts? ^_^

    Since I am requesting this, I think its only fair if I give my own suggestion first.

    =====================
    Maybe the key is not to think of a possible desirable government, but to design a continuous process of how such governments are formed and how they improve. "Watering the tree of liberty with blood of patriots" should only be a last resort and not the default process.

    Emphasizing which parts of this process must remain static ("the universal truths"), and which parts are dynamic ("the conditional truths") is important.
    ==================

    Using the "static/dynamic" analysis on the ruling systems themselves (instead of the process towards them) looks like this:

    Democracy sets
    majority consent as static and ruler & law as dynamic.
    Monarchy sets ruler (dynasty) as static and the rest as dynamic.
    Republic sets (universal) law as static and the rest as dynamic.
    I personally lean more towards a Republic with an intellectual/moral aristocracy (which under current conditions of the people in any countries I know of is not really possible yet).
    However some form of consent of the people is still important.

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  4. The bigger the topic, the more reluctant the sane writer.


    I tend strongly towards democracy, but with changes. I may write sometime about it, and I suspect that the theme would be towards a less general and more diverse approach of democracy. I'm for custom-tailored processes for different kinds of challenges basically.

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