Do we really need the Politician?

A politician, political leader, or political figure (from Greek “polis“) is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision-making you will read in Wikipedia.

He is, according to online dictionaries, also:

  • An expert in politics or political  government
  • A person who is active in party politics
  • A person who holds a political  office
  • A person skilled in political  government or administration; a statesman or stateswoman.
  • As well as a seeker or holder of public office, who is more concerned about winning favour or retaining power than about maintaining principles and if I may add
  • A professional

As a “species”, they exist in all social environments and all type of government “models”. They exist in organisations, formal institutions, unions and other social forms.

They are a part of the reality we created for ourselves, the people we pay as societies to give us hope, to transform history into fiction, to deceive us in believing in the art of the impossible.

Almost certainly at the end of each “episode”,  we call election cycle, they will be those that will receive our anger and hatred, become our excuse, our little trick to evade personal responsibility the “actors” we can blame for all things wrong in the society.

Seeing it from this perspective, one may even sympathise with them and question why they do it.  Well, all research in the field suggest that they enter politics for a mixture of reasons but mainly ideological in combination with power seeking, family tradition, vanity, personal indulgence and of course money with the degree varying for each one of them.

It is a tough job we have to admit, a 24/7 one. Do you want to be doing it? I doubt it. Neither do I.

This however is only part of the story, because if you stop perceiving the Politician as person but as a notion, a societal necessity, then the Politician is transformed into a social behavioural pattern and as such an institution!

Mainstream Institutional analysis suggests that every institution (every behavioural pattern) evolved or emerged from something else and according to the Gaianomy Theory is an assembly of other more fundamental and inevitably more ancient institutions.

So what exactly gave “birth” to the Politician?

It is not so hard after all to imagine. If we start from the first tribe settlement in Africa, to a the villages in Mesopotamia, To Egypt, to the kingdoms of East and middle East,  to the city states in ancient Greece, to middle age states to today countries and unions we can draw a functional path that this institution had to follow. Add to that, elements from the newly developed Hierarchy of Societal Needs pyramid and …presto.

Leadership, kingship, the elders council…taxation, polis, state, economy, tradition, religion, army…law, legislation… aristocracy, public servant, public administration, democracy, representative, union leader…diplomacy… trade… to name the major ones all contributed.

Now, stop and contemplate. If I was giving you all of the above institutions and was asking you to synthesise them in all possible ways you may probably in between all others found one with the characteristics a Politician as well, the question is though would you keep it as a viable model?

Is this institution really, what we expect of the politician today? What is the ideal model you have in mind? Of course, different countries have different approaches and possibly different requirements but let us take the average democratic state.

What the people expect our politician to be doing?

  • Have a political philosophy
  • Be knowledgeable and educated
  • Know in depth public administration
  • Know how the real economy really works
  • Being able to legislate
  • Be moral enough to care and defend the interests of the citizens in his constituency
  • Be a good negotiator
  • Be a good diplomat
  • Understand the basics in economics and resource management

Probably you expect all of the above to a degree.

Does he necessary have to be?

  • A CEO
  • An Organisational Analyst
  • An expert in HRM
  • An expert in Resource Optimisation
  • An expert in Process Optimisation
  • An expert in Economic Design
  • An expert in Organisational Modelling
  • An expert in Public Health Management
  • A Strategy Consultant
  • A Management Senior Consultant
  • An expert in Risk Management
  • An expert in Constitutional Law
  • An expert in Globalisation
  • An expert in Commerce & Trade
  • An expert in Finance & Banking
  • An Investment Senior Consultant maybe
  • A Supply Chain Senior Consultant
  • An Institutional Analyst

I bet, that your answer will be no and you will be right.

However, this is exactly what a modern democracy operating under capitalism or capitalism bounded socioeconomic models, is demanding /expecting of them and we close our eyes in the obvious fact that they just cannot do it. They may hire consultants and analysts to advise them, but themselves very rarely understand even remotely the basics and based on their nature end up with the wrong decisions most of the times.

Look around, with all countries in debt, several countries and Unions desperately trying to save their economies from collapse, the global fiscal policies in total disarray, decisions that ought to take hours taking  months instead, unemployment in its highest in all Western economies…..

What we ask from our politicians, they cannot deliver. (Full stop)

Having someone to blame is always a good thing but, we are in a very gray area currently and we jeopardise the future of the next generation not to mention the planet. You cannot have an omelette without breaking eggs. Is it not time to see things for what they are and grow up?

If you see a country as a Business, the way The Markets do, I wonder, is there a place for the Politician, the Political Party, the Public Administration of the 20th century pre- Markets world or we need to alter these institution and with them the Democracy framework that supports them into something different, something more 21st century?

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