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December 16, 2011


 Luis Enrique

I'm not sure whether the Euro impasse / failure demonstrates that politicians are irrelevant or whether it demonstrates that they can't solve regional collective action problems when they are all constrained the incompatible demands of their respective domestic voters/parties.


I wonder if you're familiar with Colin Hay's Why We Hate Politics, which is fast becoming a contemporary classic in political science - very deservedly. It makes many similar points to the ones in this post and also in your own book, which I recently bought, read and liked very much.


Politicians can make an impact.

The fact that they don't is more down to the fact that they are often empty suits, and afraid of change, so only make small incremental changes.

They are also constrained by a belief in neoclassical economics and strange ideas about spending and the deficit.

For some reason they also think they have to be popular.

Why should we care about financial markets that are pursuing there own self interest, to the exclusion of the public.

The influence of the financial markets is a major part of the problem (1.2 Trillion UKP bubble/loss), and good luck with the ECB it shows no sign of acting.

Politicians have impacted our lives, unfortunately it has been for the worse.


Certainly politics is of pretty poor quality. May I suggest something useful for Cameron to do - open up the entirety of English law to the Internet free of charge - now and forever more.

Why? - to encourage the turning of all but the most special legal work into 'Apps'. As a side benefit the consistency of current law might be verified and new legislation be 'modeled' before enactment.

Not an easy job, but the resulting expertise should be saleable worldwide and may lead to new businesses - 'MicroLaw' maybe. A further benefit may be to improve the openness and quality of government not just in the UK but worldwide and make all politicians less arbitrary and more useful.

I might even compose my defence on my Smartphone whilst hiding in a wheelybin.

gastro george

As intimated by aragon, politicians are constrained by the economic views of their current paymasters.

It seems ironic that the financial class have lost faith in politicians who are applying the nostrums of the financial class. Now if I was a believer in conspiracy theories ...


Having adopted all the same economic ideas there is little to choose at the ballot box hence disenchantment. The euro crisis is simple to solve once you appreciate that adopting a single currency has failed to reduce divergence between economies. It is an attempt to find a single "big bang" solution to complex problems. If the FT piece is right trade imbalances have increased as a result of capital flows and an inability to adjust exchange rates based on different productivity growth rates. So the euro seems to be making it worse. Time for new ideas.

James Parry

So politics is important but politicians are disappointing and often irrelevant, politicians of the democratic, liberal, parliamentary kind. So we try technocrats then we try autocrats. And like the liberal intelligentsia in Russia in 1917, the socialist in Italy in 1922 or the Jew in Germany in 1933 we end up with a very different kind of politician.


James Parry

Well if you hitch your economies to perpetual deflation and spending cuts you might get a rerun of Adolf Hitler. Eventually. My be it would be an idea to try to base economic policy on an attempt to make people richer rather than poorer and defend the welfare state rather than destroying it. A political system, including the Parliamentary system, is merely a means not an end it itself. If it does not deliver prosperity other methods gain in credibility. If Liberalism only enriches the few "National" Socialism may appeal to the patriotic spirit of tribalism.

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