One more post on systems thinking, tackling again the problem of the powerful feedback gain and politics then I move on.
The feedback gain we are working with is: congressmen (indeed, any elected official for that matter), gain power and privilege while in their posts and even after -power and privilege that is often used to gain more resources to get their scions (or any other next of kin or protege) to run in the post they will vacate, thereby perpetuating the power> privilege >resources to get elected cycle. (Up to 50% of the previous congress members come from political clans.)
Caveat: There are MANY operational feedback gains, this is but one.
How do we break this feedback gain or de-couple it from the position? Term limits (which reduce the replacement cycle) have been instituted into the constitution, but very often the pol just gets a surrogate to warm their post to keep the power in the family. (c.f. -the Binays in Makati). The bill enabling the anti-dynasty provision was supposed to prevent this but it has never passed muster in congress (whose members, of course, will not vote against their political interests).
Pursuing some wishful thinking, here are a few new approaches using Brian Eno 's Oblique Strategies and Edward de Bono's Lateral Thinking. As with all re-thinks, the ideas are meant to be conversation starters and may set us on the road to innovative solutions. The trick is to think of the consequences (re: feedback gain), and find a workable operating principle:
What would happen to the feedback gain (and to Philippine politics) if we:
- Change the service area - What if congressmen were not allowed to run in their home province or any province they may have lived in? Would it remove or redirect vested interest?
- Increase the risk - What if all public officials (good or bad) were put to death immediately after their term? Would it bring out the noble or only the crazy?
- Extend rather than decrease the term limits What if we keep the congressmen in their post until they die? Would they tire of the privilege and begin to do some serious legislation?
- Elect congressmen by pairs What if you had to run as a duo? As a a duo -- but from separate provinces? (i.e.-both of you must win or neither one gets the post)
- Change the representation level. What if you can only run for barangay captain? Then the captains elect from among them, the councillors. Then the councillors elect the mayors, the mayors then elect the governor and congressmen, the congressmen elect from among them the senate and the presidentcy? And what if you could only stand for a higher post after at least two terms in your previous post? What if you were required to go back to the barangay level for one term before you could run again?
- Isolate Congress. -What if freshmen and sophomore representatives were closeted (ala trappist monks) for the length of their term?
- Name successors -What if would-be congressmen were required to name who they would select to run in their post after they retire? And they could not change their choice?
Like I said, new-think that could spark ideas for new approaches to arresting that feedback gain. More ideas please, the wilder the better.