When most people talk about a democracy, they are referring to a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents. This happens through a system involving multiparty elections, after which a representative government is formed.
To this extent, the idea of a democracy works. However once we’ve elected our representative government, we then make the massive assumption that because they are representing our views (and of course we the people know best) that all our problems will be sorted out. The economy will grow, we’ll have full employment, everyone’s standard of living will increase and of course they will right all the wrongs of the previous government. Well how could that not be true? We elected them and surely we the people know best?
Well strangely enough it never goes as planned. And after a term or two in power, we get fed up with the government we elected, throw them out and elect a new one – usually the opposition party who we threw out for being incompetent in a previous election. But they have now promised us that they have learnt from their previous mistakes and rebranded themselves “New Labouratives” or “Republicrats”. We of course believe them and vote them back in. One or two terms later, we throw them out again for being incompetent.
This cycle of events continues unabatedly. And interestingly, since 1950 the UK has switched between the Conservatives and Labour 8 times (if you include the present coalition as the Conservative Party in power). In the US they have been following a similar story, switching continuously between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. You’d think by now we’d of realised that the present system isn’t actually working. Apparently not. We seem to have memories like goldfish because we continue to repeat the same cycle over and over again. Infact we scorn any country that doesn’t have a democracy and do our utmost to force one upon them.
Now I’m not advocating that we should all adopt dictatorships. Those who run the country need to be accountable to the people. But rather than elect officials who are usually qualified in nothing more than a career in politics, the government need to be made up solely of professionals who have the right qualifications, skills and previous experience to run the particular office/department/ministry they are working in. They should have obtained that position purely on merit and be independent of any political views. Like anyone else applying for a position in a company, have should go through a series of interviews. If necessary, we should be prepared to recruit from abroad if we can’t find the right people at home. Those holding office should be set objectives to reach with Key Performance Indicators and quarterly or month reports so that we can check they are on target to achieve their goals. They would be entitled to Performance Related Pay if they exceeded their targets. If they failed to meet their objectives, we would dismiss them like any other employee – but only them. Not the whole government, because officials in other departments may actually be doing a good job!
What we need to do is take politics out of the equation of running a country. That way those in government can concentrate solely on running the country, rather than their own political and personal agendas. After all it is irrelevant what political views the head of a multinational company has. Yet many multinational companies have balance sheets far bigger than most countries.