Thursday, December 21, 2006

A New Kind of Governance

People still ask me what are the hot topics in local politics, to which I name three, (1) education, (2) transportation (the rail issue), and (3) the cost of living, which are really interrelated, and the same problem -- of a lack of effective information. Inefficiencies of information is the source of most profits -- as people pay a lot for that which they could pay less, or even pay a little, for that which they could get free.

Once people have a certain amount of money, usually the median income, what determines the difference in the quality of life are the individual choices people make -- all things being equal. The lack in this world is no longer the lack of resources as it is the lack of information about those resources -- just as there is not a lack of jobs so much as there is the lack of knowledge by the right people about those jobs.

Which really should not be a problem in the Age of Information -- unless we’re still trying to maintain the Age of Ignorance of a previous time, when information was hoarded and manipulated for tremendous profits -- because of the inefficiencies of market information. The difference in quality of life can be huge -- on the same sustaining income, because one person could be investing his to multiple effect, while the other is merely consuming theirs.

The skills one cultivates also is a potential source of value and exchange -- that doesn’t have to be exercised until there is urgent need to actualize those values. That is, one does not have to convert goods and services into exchange currency unless there is an actual need for it. That is a totally different kind of economy -- and society, than the compulsion to maximize income under all circumstances.

That is the way investors think -- about making these decisions to actualize income or let it lie unrealized until some more beneficial and auspicious moment. A previous generation called this delayed gratification -- or deferred compensation -- paid at the time it is most advantageous to actualize it.

The mass market economy has evolved so that most things are accessible to the “average” person if they decide that is their greatest need and desire to have. What that can be for every individual, varies greatly.

For many people, increasingly larger proportions of those expenditures fall into the category of “entertainment,” whether they call it a vacation or merely recreation, or that portion of a car beyond the actual function of transportation.

The most productive of such activities would be processing information as a valuable pastime in itself -- which is really the evolution of modern man. Rather than it being an arduous and unpleasant task, it becomes for many, the organizing principle of their lives. Formerly, there was no excess time and capabilities for doing such things -- but now it has become the essence of leisure and re-creation -- that changes the whole problem of government.

Politicians are the ultimate middlemen, in an era of disintermediation -- which is the elimination of the middle man. People can govern their own lives best -- when merely given all the information and freedom to do so -- to make the best choices for themselves.

5 Comments:

At December 23, 2006 10:55 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I doubt if one can truly change another's mind based on the evidence -- if they're not predisposed to taking in new information.

There are a few who do look for new information -- rather than just to confirm their old thinking. Those are the people one wants to identify -- in every setting and event.

I think that is job number one in leadership -- identifying the leaders, and not simply listening to the wheels that squeak the loudest, as though that was the surest roadmap to the wisest course.

I think the standout person on the City council has to be Council Marshall -- who seems to be the most fair and impartial person. And while she's on the losing side of most votes I track, she articulates an extraordinary common sense, logical approach that should be a model for government forums.

In every discussion, that is the most important function of our representatives -- that they define the highest common denominator, rather than appeal to and exploit the lowest.

That's also the mistake of the mass media -- in trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator, rather than the highest, including even, that one should never discriminate such differences. That is the whole point of everything we do -- intelligently.

Rather than the mantra that "the majority is always right," or even mostly right, or even sometimes right, the truth is that the majority is always behind the curve -- of leading edge developments in discerning the truth and the best.

Those are the real leaders in any society or movement -- the few, who are not merely repeating what everybody else has said already and going along with the majority. They are distinctive and unique voices -- and that is what we should be doing in each of those forums, listening to identify that which hasn't been heard before -- instead of to whom the demands are the loudest and most persistent.

Those are the rare voices of wisdom -- whose solutions make the problems moot -- rather than perpetuating the problems so that it gets worse and therefore creates more high paying jobs requiring more community resources -- as the old and only solution.

The pertinent question only Council Marshall brings up is,"What do we do to solve the problem in the next 15 years, while we're still in office?"

The answer is nothing.

 
At December 26, 2006 12:40 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The key figures for determining the mandate for a successful public transit is the ratio of people who don't own cars -- as opposed to those saying they will ride the transit system even while they have multiple cars in a suburban household.

Obviously, they will be wasting their money if they are paying for the upkeep of several cars and not driving them anywhere. In order to get their money's worth, they have to drive them as much as possible.

Many people have that same way of thinking about their health care premiums. They don't feel they're getting their money's worth unless they get sick and have to see the doctor all the time -- and are compensated for it. To their way of thinking, only a fool would not be sick and injured enough not to maximize their sickness compensation; that is what they think they're working for.

So far before they change actual behaviors, they have to work on changing underlying perceptions and attitudes -- which they regard as sacrosanct. Then to expect that those who don't presently take the bus, will then take the bus to get to the rail, is compounding improbability on top of incredulity.

People have to show a willingness and inclination to change in small steps before they are believable in making the quantum leap from nothing.

 
At December 26, 2006 12:43 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Rather than just have a poll of people saying they will do something they've never done before -- we ought to have a real show of support by actualizing the use of public transit even for a day, and then we'd have a clearer idea of the realities, and not just the wishful thinking Hawaii lawmakers (lawyers) are world infamous for.

 
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