Monday, May 25, 2009

Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest ...

... which makes clear that the best form of government is none.

Without following through to the inevitable conclusion that states too big to govern are too big to exist, Paul Krugman hammers the nail directly on the head once again.

Last week Bill Gross of Pimco, the giant bond fund, warned that the U.S. government may lose its AAA debt rating in a few years, thanks to the trillions it's spending to rescue the economy and the banks. Is that a real possibility?

Well, in a rational world Mr. Gross's warning would make no sense. America's projected deficits may sound large, yet it would take only a modest tax increase to cover the expected rise in interest payments — and right now American taxes are well below those in most other wealthy countries. The fiscal consequences of the current crisis, in other words, should be manageable.

But that presumes that we'll be able, as a political matter, to act responsibly. The example of California shows that this is by no means guaranteed. And the political problems that have plagued California for years are now increasingly apparent at a national level.

The problem with the US isn't really the (lack of) financial regulation or out of control healthcare spending, or anything that seems to be so pressing in a real economic sense.  All those problems are soluble so long as you have a functioning political system, which we don't.  So when are we going to admit that democracy was a noble experiment that failed to scale?  Or, perhaps equivalently, when do we put Google's warehouse-scale-computer architecture in charge of the whole works? 

Maybe that's the fundamental insight of evolution.  Statistically speaking, any given space-time sample of the history of the universe will be populated by things that scale well in one way or another.

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