‘A post-ideological index of good governance’

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar gregiank
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    says:

    Really interesting stuff. One of the older, inside the beltway criticisms of Obama is that he is GOGO guy. GOGO is an acronym for good government. ( at least as i remember). Trying to have actual good gov is a far afterthought to many, since ideology holds sway. While i agree that much of the L vs R debate is stale and pointless, i think you are missing a bit. One of the EVVIIIILLLL things liberals have done is try to learn lessons from all those terrible euro countries regarding HCR. Well how does mindlessly ignoring any other successful system lead to good gov. Now you could easily point out that some conservatives use things like Sweden’s school voucher system as an example. Very true, although that is a small minority on the Con side and usually among the ignored wonks. Which side of the aisle is more focused on evidence and pragmatic solutions?

    The only other thing to add is that to successfully come together on solutions both sides have to be willing to build trust in each other and make sure each sides concerns are satisfied. Perhaps we should ask Sarah and Rush and Newt about that stuff.

    I’m not really sure leads to bad gov or that small is always better, but it is interesting what this evidence shows.Report

  2. Avatar Trumwill
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    says:

    Not just smaller countries, but more homogenous ones, too. It’s a lot easier to have good governance in a high-trust society. That’s easier to do in a country where you all feel like you’re in it together. That’s a harder feeling to get in a large and/or diverse country. I believe that we could enact the exact same policies as some of the other countries ahead of us and have very different results. Actually, I somewhat doubt we can enact the policies to begin with due to a lack of faith in the efficacy of central government to begin with. For which, of course, liberals will blame conservatives and conservatives will blame liberals.Report

    • Avatar Katherine in reply to Trumwill
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      says:

      Canada’s large (geographically, if not population-wise), diverse, and has a lot of regional divisions, and we score pretty high on the good-governance index, so I don’t think homogeneity is necessarily a requirement.Report

      • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Katherine
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        says:

        @Katherine, not necessary, but helpful. Homogeneity can backfire, too, with people collectively making bad decisions without the balance-of-viewpoint that comes from differing perspectives. But generally speaking, homogeneity seems to be more beneficial than not, as does smallness.

        At the very least, I think that you have to look at governing countries like the US differently than you look at governing countries like Sweden or Hong Kong and I think that those that lust after various things that Sweden does (such as high taxes and redistribution on the left or comparatively less regulation on the right) may not be as aware as they should that what works in one setting may not work as well in another.Report

  3. Avatar gregiank
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    says:

    ahhh yeah because it has been a major plank of liberals to destroy belief in government. Plenty of conservatives have been open that they want people to hate government, don’t see any use in it and a few have actually pushed for making gov a PITA so that people don’t like it.

    I agree somewhat on your point about homogeneity. But some of that is peoples choice to feel a connection to others. Of course its also leadership and the burdens of history, but part of it is a desire to want to see yourself in others and others in yourself.Report

  4. Avatar Aaron W
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    says:

    I don’t know if he links it there, but I’d recommend his paper from 2008 on the subject. I thought it was a very interesting read.Report

  5. Avatar Trumwill
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    says:

    Except the cops and the prosecutors and often the military… though that’s not really where I was going with that comment. Rather, I was considering how when the opposition has the government they serve at the behest of Bad People who want to do Bad Things or oppress you. I’m not arguing that these criticisms are invalid – they are often quite valid. But rather, they increase the mistrust of the government to the extent that when they turn around and say “We’re different now that we’re in charge!” it’s a difficult sell because the other side is saying the exact same thing the first side was saying up until the baton was passed. So if you’re not a committed liberal or a committed conservative, the governments on both sides are out to get you.

    If it makes you feel any better, I believe that this is something that liberals have to do. If they didn’t, (a) they would be failing to draw attention to the bad things that conservatives are doing and (b) they would be doormats unless conservatives stopped doing the exact same thing. Be that as it may, it is not conducive to the sort of trust in government required for the government to be able to make the difficult choices for the public good.Report

  6. Avatar Skippy-san
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    says:

    This is a repeat of my comment over at Balloon Juice. Interesting-a country that is effectively a family run dictatorship (Singapore) ranks at the top in terms of governance. Singapore has a free for all business climate that allows business literally to get away with murder. Protest what the PAP wants? You get sued to the bejesus for libel. Ask Joshua B. Jeyaretnam.

    Their health care system is great-but it is an anthema to Tea Partiers. It REQUIRES that you contribute to both your health care and retirement-in fact you are basically required to fork over 35% of your income for Retirement Savings, health care and taxes. Then again-you can use your retirement savings as collateral on a home loan-which is why Singapore has one of the highest rates of home ownership in the world.

    But don’t fool yourself-its all done to keep the masses happy so they won’t complain about the blatant class system there ( Chinese first, Malay’s second, Europeans third and every body else a lot lower)-and the lack of basic rights we take for granted.Report

  7. Avatar MadRocketScientist
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    says:

    So what you are really saying is we should go back to each state being effectively a small country in it’s own right, with the federal government playing referee & guardian?Report

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