In the Czech Republic it is estimated that about 10% of the governmental expenses are lost as cost of corruption (I think the source is Transparency International, but I can not find it now). This cost is about 100 billion CZK/year. Yet, the country's main parliamentary elections are only once in four years and cost only about 1 billion CZK. If I use mathematics then if Czechs voted against this corruption then we could have 100 parliamentary elections every year and still would cover the election cost from the savings on corruption.

Often after the one four-year cycle the opposition wins and sometimes reverts important long-term political decisions like the way pension/retirement plans work, which is not really good. Such decisions need broad political consensus and in case of shorter election cycles, such consensus would be found faster I think, because the changes would be reverted by the opposition possibly after one year already which would make less damage to the country.

My question is very simple - would the shorter election cycles - let's say one-year cycle - bring cleaner politics with better consensual decisions (even with a possible smaller turnout since some people may not like to vote that often)?

The rationale is to give voters more power to control politics. The politics would need to behave in order to be re-elected. Probably a smaller election turnout would be needed since the politics probably would "just work" so say a 10% turnout would still roughly represent public opinion and more voters would only participate if a greater change would be needed.

PS. I am not able to find the sources for my claims above right now. If someone is interested please leave a comment I will try to do so.

  • 2
    In the U.S. we elect all our representatives and a third of our senators every two years, it still doesn't help much. – Ryathal May 15 '14 at 12:18
  • 5
    Wow, only 10%. – user1873 May 15 '14 at 15:14
  • As @Ryathal said, the only thing that shortening the period beyond a reasonable time seems to achieve is that the politicians in power spend (X*2 %) of time of their period in power doing pretty much exclusively work for the NEXT reelection, instead of X%. – user4012 May 20 '14 at 23:50
  • 1
    Also, at least part of the corruption is driven by the need to raise reelection funds.... – user4012 May 20 '14 at 23:55
  • @DVK: Assuming that's true (and it likely is) then it stands to reason that the best thing for us plebes would be if elections were held every other month. Then we could get on with our lives comfortably knowing that the politicians wouldn't be doing more to screw it up. – NotMe May 29 '14 at 22:23

A shortening of the election cycle would result in:

  • a greater degree of overheads
  • a risk of reduced traction (the bigger the government - the more pronounced this issue - and this is a situation where new 'heads' require time to get a feel for their 'feet' so as to start 'running' their respective sections)
  • also an increased pressure to switch to electronic voting systems (for those ware of such an event)

The reduced cycle may also result in the poorer utilization of funds that may arise from the EU as a loss of traction may also stall leadership of government or parastatal departments.

Corruption is a consequence of imperfect structures of accountability. The bigger the government - the poorer the structure of the government - the greater the degree of corruption that may be expected.

Furthermore the more vertical the governing structure (the number of levels removed that the top echelons are from that of the individual citizen), the greater the potential for corruption.

If reduction of corruption is the only goal to be considered then a restructure towards a more horizontal layout would be desirable - and in this scenario there could surely be certain levels of elections that could feasibly be taken more frequently - particularly the localized ones.

In theory, yes a shorter electoral cycle could promote cleaner politics. However it would be just as likely to promote popular politics. The four year cycle tends to be played out such that the tougher, less popular, decisions tend to be made in the first couple of years. The second half of the cycle tends to be used to regain face in the eyes of the voters.

If one were to reduce the cycle to half or quarter of this length then unpopular choices would be less likely to be made - and the rights of minorities would be side-lined as a structurally-consequent 'tyranny by majority' would remain in the fore - shaping the popular politics of the day.

And popular politics is not necessarily clean politics. The shorter cycle may provide a lot less breathing space for political parties to commit to unpopular measures but the resultant fear may result in a form of leadership paralysis - populism by design.

This is not to say that a shorter cycle cannot clean politics up - but the more vertical the structure of the government - the greater the chance of populist paralysis.

If the government were to first be flattened to consist of far fewer levels such that the lower levels become localized to particular locales, it is upon those levels that a shorter electoral cycle could yield more promising results.

A more direct involvement of the citizen in determining the destiny of the self as well as the community is desirable and more relevant than when compared with the alternative - a vote of a citizen on the far side of the country filtering upwards only to lose meaning in a mesh result that is applied in blanket form upon the entire nation (couple with lop-sided access to resources (media included) and you may run the risk of ending up with a mockery of that which democracy should be.)

  • Regarding your profile, what do you mean by "digital weirdness" / "code is liberty"? – Pacerier May 27 '14 at 16:27
  • Ah. Simply put, the virtual environment of a computer program is not constricted to the realities of the world. If you wish to throw gravity out of the window - such may be done. If you wish to explore the dynamics of a society very different from that which we know - that may be explored also. The most critical confinement one encounters is one's imagination - and one's imagination manifested (digitally or otherwise) can certainly classify as wierdness to the casual bystander. – Avestron May 27 '14 at 17:19
  • @Pacerier Furthermore - and I think that this is the crux of your question - when you are presented with a development environment you are free to explore the possibilities - You can manifest yourself through it without interference - whether such be politically or with intent to make a profit. It can be as much a level of existence as walking upon the Earth. Of course there do exist movements to restrict information in general... but the code space can be explored inwardly also. – Avestron May 27 '14 at 17:23
  • What "movements to restrict information" do you mean? – Pacerier May 29 '14 at 9:31
  • @Pacerier It is a subject that opens broadly... Examples mainly boil down to: a) Proprietary Forces (intellectual property/ licencing), and b) the engineering of perspectives (Countries that restrict access to certain information on the basis of subject, alignment, geographic basis, etc.). In fairness I think that this conversation may best take the form of another question in a suitable SE section as we have strayed far from topic :) – Avestron May 29 '14 at 9:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .