quarta-feira, janeiro 23, 2013

the worst on top, and institutions

Why do the worst get on top? An answer from Public Choice por John Meadowcroft:
.. we should expect that the people most willing to work to attain political office will be those who expect to gain the most from holding it. Those who would seek elected office in order to pursue other-regarding ends may not be sufficiently motivated to invest large amounts of time and effort to win political power. Those who desire to wield power over others for personal gain, on the other hand, may only be able to realise this end by personally achieving political power, creating a powerful incentive to devote substantial resources to securing elected office.

It may also be the case that the benefits of political power will be greatest for those whose views or preferences are at most variance with those of the majority of the population. An individual who desires an outcome different from the outcomes that most other people would choose is likely to gain the most from acquiring the monopoly right to exercise political power over others. For this reason Brennan and Buchanan argued that we should expect that ‘political institutions will be populated by individuals whose interests will conflict with those of ordinary citizens’ ..

This analysis would seem to reinforce David Hume's dictum that political institutions should be designed as if every person was a knave with no end other than his or her own private interests, even though we know that not all people behave knavishly. To design political institutions on the basis that those who hold political power will always be benevolent is too great a risk. Limits on the power of government, then, are an essential part of political settlements.

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