Monday, 17 November 2008

The "Free Rider" Problem

Peter Mandelson has gone on record as saying the era of democracy is drawing to a close and we are entering a post democratic period. There is a growing band of support for the theory that a Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess out of the treasury with the result that democracies always collapse over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a dictatorship.

This is known as the "free-rider problem" (or as we might say no such thing as a free lunch) which occurs when a significant number of citizens are content to enjoy the benefits of living in a democracy while leaving it to others to pay the costs.

Maybe the time to end universal suffrage is upon us?

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