We are urrently analyzing where we see room for improvement for example in the German political environment. We are doing this to avoid those same ptifalls in our terraistic association. In my last blog I ended with the conclusio that – for the lack of knowledge and time – the limited co-determination in German society does not work for me. I then took the liberty to assuming that many others may be facing the same challenge …
Does co-determination make any sense?
In my examples co-determination and petitions for a referendum were not useful. To me it means that they are applied to the wrong challenges. When it comes to values and ehtics decsions are neither based on knowledge nor do they require a time invest. Prioritizing which goals and values are important for improving the quality of life for the majority of a community or nation makes a lot of sense. Outside of programms of political parties this could serve as a basis and guideline for decision-making. The right question would then be: What is more important to you: childcare, bicycle-friendliness, expansion of public transport, environmental protection, working conditions, educational opportunities, etc.? This then results in a catalogue of values and objectives from which people who have enough time to deal with concrete issues and investment opportunities can derive decisions. It sets the goals but leaves the decision how to best get their to people that hopefully know better than the average citizen.
Is democracy manageable?
I earlier already poited out that I would wish that a democracy would be managed as lean as possible according to its goals. Good politicians are eloquent and committed – but not necessarily good managers. They are not elected for that either. Exceptions confirm the rule. Wherever you look, there is duplication and waste. This does not only refer to the waste of taxpayers’ money in initiatives and projects, as they are uncovered annually by the black book. The federal structures dublicate know-how and costs in Germany in sixteen states. The educational system is a great example. Each federal state maintains its own staff to deviate from the neighboring state in a few percent. ( I am well aware of the risiks of a central educational system and will get to that later in the blog.) It also seems unlikely to me that our tax system has a reasonable cost/benefit ratio in all areas. Unemployed people only have to work in an environment that is appropriate to them, even if there is a lack of workforce in public road construction, park maintenance etc. Each prisoner costs the taxpayer 60,000-€ per year. That is almost twice the average income. Are we well managed?
Are we all criminals?
I am convinced that in theory, almost everyone in western deomocracies would have to spend some jail time. Have you already been on the black market several times? Snacked cherries and apples from foreign trees? Entered fenced-in properties of others? Insulted or slandered someone? Driving through red lights several times in your life? Taken drugs in your youth or on occasion? Applied for child tax benefits even though the child had no real desire to study? Always respected data protection? If everyone had been caught for every wrongdoing and sued for every private offense, many of us would be in jail or at least have a criminal record! At least that holds true for me. Nevertheless, I consider myself to be a cultured, socially committed and fairly average citizen! Are these efficient and meaningful structures? I don’t want to propagate impunity for all and encourage anarchism, but there are plenty of other ways and means to ensure that the rules are observed. In any case, taxes based on the common good or claims for damages with a penalty clause would not immediately lead to the criminalization of society. These are just a few examples of hundreds of cases in which our society is inefficiently getting out of hand.
Democracy could be dead – but is still the best of all alternatives? The picture is distroted because so far we have focussed on todays challenges. Next week we will start talking about the advantages of an association and how to adress these challenges. Long live democracy!