I’ve got an idea that would revolutionize the way we do our weekly shopping.
Every few years, we all vote for our favourite supermarket company. The one that gets more votes across the country than any other then gets to deliver our shopping every week to all of us, regardless of whom we voted for. It delivers goods of its own choosing, at prices that it sets. It will make us buy Pedigree Chum even if we don’t have a dog. If we refuse to pay, the supermarket can throw us into prison. And if we try to buy food from other shops, we will still have to pay the winning supermarket.
After a few years, at a time of the supermarket’s choosing, we get to hold another vote. This is the only say we get about the prices we’re charged or the food we get.
Now, this is probably the stupidest idea you’ve ever heard. But it’s exactly how we buy our political services.
So, here’s the question. What are the differences between food and political services that makes my idea a good way of buying political services but a lousy way of buying goods? And what conditions have to hold for this to be the best possible way of buying political services? Do these conditions really exist? Have they ever?