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Lee Miller

TEDCRED 20+

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Funding by the rich isn't the only problem

People associate democracy with freedom, but as we've learned in the past few years, holding elections doesn't by itself prevent corruption in government. There are three other problems with democratic systems as well:

1) People tend to vote for the candidate with the most charisma.

2) The party system inspires tribalism, which further inhibits the ability to make rational decisions.

3) The short, fixed terms we allow our elected officials cause them to favor short-term gain over long term stability. In any case, it is absurd to think that complex social problems can be solved in 4 to 8 years.

We can solve all these problems by treating the jobs of leader and government representative like any other jobs. First, we decide on what qualifications we want these people to have. Then we have candidates submit resumes and a short manifesto, to be sifted through by a government department formed for that purpose. Once the field is narrowed down, the finalists are interviewed on TV and through online chats such as many celebrities now participate in. Then and only then do we hold an election. There is no campaigning, and thus no need for campaign funding and the corruption it invites.

And once the leader or representative is chosen, we continue to treat their job just like any other job. Instead of fixed terms, we vote to fire them when and if they deserve it. And just like any other job, their pension is tied to their years of service. These two factors would motivate politicians to take the long view.

It is absolutely absurd that the most important jobs in our society are the only ones that do not have specific qualifications or performance metrics. In an attempt to be fair by electing our leaders and only keeping them for short terms, we have sacrificed the competence of our leaders and their ability to actually solve the country's problems.

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    Apr 10 2013: Grace makes a point regarding history and that education is the key.

    I would add that a lack of action on this subject indicates a lack of education on this subject.
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    Apr 10 2013: Loved your post and ideas- just moments ago I've wrote a post on exact same issue, with my plan to fix it:
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/17621/a_whole_new_type_of_government.html
    In my idea, not only public officials are exactly like jobs, there jobs in a competitive market, who would serve us best.