Monday, September 26, 2011

QT: Jack Goldstone on Why the Deer in the Headlights

Jack Goldstone, a scholar, asks a very direct and important question that has motivated much of his career research and that proves very relevant today: why do government officials, with all of the experts and resources that one could hope to muster, make such poor decisions? His answer, they are politicians concerned about holding office first, and leaders only second. One's first thought might be, well, they ought not to be concerned about reelection. But even if we could convince someone to leave a prestigious, good-paying job, a second reason should compel caution. Without holding office, one cannot do anything in terms of enacting a political agenda . So, caution, and kicking problems down the road. I predicted that Obama would be on the receiving end of some real time bombs, and this has proven true. He has to deal with some of them; others, such as global climate change, he (and most of the rest of the world) seem willing to kick further down the road. So, do we have weakness of will in societies?

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