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Science's New "War" on Government


In a country that is increasingly divided amongst its citizens, finding common ground can be difficult. But one thing I think we'd see a lot of agreement on is the governing of our country, or any for that matter, has become more complex. At the speed the global economy moves, decisions need to be made faster than they would have a generation or especially a century ago. The interconnected nature of one aspect of our with another is better known or at least (hopefully) appreciated due to lessons learned.

But if governing our country has become more difficult, "why are we still running it with the same system of government?" That's not my question as much as that of Yaneer Bar-Yam (Science Friday piece), a quantum physicist who has extrapolated his work into the political science realm. Dr. Bar-Yam's claim is despite how you might feel about one presidential candidate or congressman's ability and character vs. another, the bottom line is they are all ill-suited for the job as we have it laid out in its current structure. They cannot possibly be expected to make highly educated decisions on education, healthcare, defense, regulating the internet, agriculture, etc., etc. Even with staff and lobbyists doing research and work to educate, his claim is our structure is too centralized and too dependent on a few people.

The solution may be smaller elected groups that work independently and together on a variety of issues but do not have to wait for another body that is not affected to get up-to-speed and reach a decision. This has been utilized already on more micro-levels to build and manage things like Linux and Wikipedia and increasingly is being trialed by corporations, albeit there are still bugs to work out at times. I saw this quote a couple years ago from the CEO of Stoneridge, "there are few problems left today where one person with one skill can solve them. That means you had better assemble the best team. Not good, the best. Top-down innovation tends to be orderly but dumb. Bottom-up innovation tends to be chaotic yet smart... If moving forward must wait for me that is too slow. My job is to help create an environment where those decisions can happen where they should happen and to support, reward and inspire them "

Just a little food for thought on a Monday.

"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time", Winston Churchill


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