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News Improving Governance (Elevating the There's Gotta Be Something Better Thread

  1. Mar 16, 2005 #1
    Improving Governance (Elevating the "There's Gotta Be Something Better..." Thread

    Here's a challenge. Public policy studies frequently concerns itself with four overriding societal interests--security, liberty, efficiency, and equity. Define these interests and devise or report on a model of governance that optimally addresses them. This is a subject that attracts a great deal of interdisciplinary attention; I'll admit bias and point out I'm especially intrigued by the political science and knowledge management dimensions of the problem. And since the quality of discussion on physicsforums is pretty high where the hard sciences and maths are concerned, maybe Politics and World Affairs should strive for the same.

    Rev Prez
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2005 #2


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    As an initial thought…

    First we need to improve society, which is at the basis of governance in systems such as what we have in the U.S. One suggestion would be to require youth to report on current events, and relationships to workings of government beginning in grade school. Hopefully this would create interest and future generations that will practice better citizenship. We as a society place too much emphasis on sports and entertainment, materialism, etc.

    As for security, I've stated in an earlier thread that I believe in government regulation of basic needs, such as food, shelter, utilities, healthcare, etc. with profits capped at reasonable levels. Also subsidies if/when necessary to maintain self-reliance in key areas, which should be considered matters of national security. For everything else, especially luxury items, free market capitalism should result in efficiency, equity, etc., with the caveat once again that it not be damaging to the health of our own country (national security).

    User taxes are good because people can’t evade this (even illegal immigrants who are paid cash under the table), and if there were a flat income tax, it would be more efficient, equitable, and would remove loopholes, perhaps starting at poverty level on up. Also, no one above poverty level should have the option of claiming tax exemptions. Too many people get into debt with the IRS, and then some negotiate the debt pennies to the dollar.

    The checks and balances in our system have served us well thus far in our history. We just need to be sure to keep these in place. In view of recent elections, there has already been prior discussion on election reforms. Campaign contributions are the oldest area of debate. Technology could be used for direct voting more often on more issues. However, without improving society first, the question of a well-informed electorate arises. A long time back in another thread, I mentioned that if people had been required to point to Iraq on a map before voting, I’d bet quite a few people wouldn’t have qualified. Representation probably would always be needed at least to some extent regardless. Citizens don’t have time to be involved in day-to-day governance, and even the best-informed citizens couldn’t research issues on par with committees, etc.

    This is such a broad topic, and everyone could write a book on his or her personal idea of utopia…
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2005
  4. Mar 17, 2005 #3


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    Those are only three interests, Rev. Equity and equity only count once.
  5. Mar 17, 2005 #4
    My bad. Liberty.
  6. Mar 17, 2005 #5
    Ah, but its not. From the OP: "Define these interests and devise or report on a model of governance that optimally addresses them."

    I've given you a set of interests. I hope you would either define or revise and then address them within a framework--preferably empirical--that lends itself to rational critique. "Improving society" without defining and arguing for the relevant interests doesn't do much to operationalize the problem.

    Rev Prez
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