Monday, November 21, 2011

Magical thinking is not just for children any more.

So often we see intelligent adults assume that you can get the behavior and process you want by a simple change in one element. Whether this is as simple as an assumption that transferring policing or fighting wars to private enterprise will make it more effective and efficient, or that changing electoral systems will create greater democracy, it is usually too simplistic to be true. Both government and private enterprise have internal as well as external pressures. Many of these hurt efficiency as others help it. Voting systems can create greater democracy, but only if other conditions are present. To assume that making one simple macro change will automatically improve the way things are done is magical thinking of the sort that is normally found in 5 year old children.

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