Friday, April 20, 2007

Blah Blah Game Theory Blah Blah

I am probably not saying anything original by feeling that "Stable democracies" are an artifact of the "political game" establishing a "Nash equilibrium", ie. one where the "players" are each following optimal strategies. (I am asserting that) The resulting policies, economic growth, employment etc. that arise are a result of where that equilibrium is for that particular country. (I am asserting that) The "rules of the game" that determines where the country reaches equilibrium are the governing constitutions of the countries. Therefore, things like voting rules (first past the post, electoral college etc.), enshrined laws (right to bear arms, religious freedom), legal structure (relationship between law making, law enforcement and judgements) all affect where the equilibrium ends up. This is in contrast to the laws that are actually changed under that legal structure. Stuff like taxation law, immigration law etc. will tend not to be able to affect the equilibrium. War and constitutional challenges will potentially affect the equilibrium.
This is the reason voters become increasingly cynical in stable democracies. Voting seems increasingly to be an empty affair, devoid of real options.

2 comments:

Dr. Clam said...

I don't know that we have enough empirical evidence yet that there are such things as stable democracies. There is an old saw- Roman, I think, though I can't remember from who- that democracies only endure until their citizens discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public purse- then they are on the slippery slope down towards tyranny...

Marco said...

This is the point that I'm making. In some countries, the resultant system appears resilient to voter greed of this type. Voters in Australia try their damnest for Largesse, but the major parties won't do it, and other parties don't have any chance for power. It isn't "true" democracy in the sense that one gets a limited choice in set intervals. Day to day desires like extra money pit one interest against another and politicians just play that to the hilt. Largesse one day means less potential largesse at another date. One just has to tweak the game right and the slippery slope is flattened.