Policy Complexity and Democracy
Posted on August 18, 2016
My previous post on health insurance monopolies tied together quite a number of relatively wonky points about Obamacare, single payer, libertarians, antitrust policy, Aetna malfeasance, and positions taken by President Obama and a few recent presidential candidates.
You actually need to understand all those things and more to have a good handle on health insurance politics and policy.
Moreover, every other important issue is similarly complex. That is kind of depressing, if you care about practical democracy. Ordinary voters have ordinary lives to live and nonwonky careers to pursue. How the devil can you expect all of them to be experts on all this stuff?
You can’t, which is why we have a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy. But that still leaves the question of how do voters know what representatives to vote for, without themselves becoming policy wonks.
There is no good alternative to having lots of trusted intermediary organizations and grasstop leaders who can understand all the wonkisms of diverse policy areas and can advise their constituents on whom to vote for.
That is one of many reasons why we need to revive labor unions.