Can We “Privatize” Politics in the United States?

I know it’s not really the right word – “privatize”. But I’m using the term loosely. I welcome any suggestions for a better word.

When people talk about “privatization”, they generally are referring to things such as:

  • Increased competition
  • Increased choice
  • Less government involvement

And they generally have to deal with concerns about things such as:

  • The “little guy” gettin’ left behind
  • How to maintain enough competition and choice
  • How to cause it to happen without too much government involvement (legislation)

I think it’s time for us to start expecting of political parties the same sorts of things that we expect from our free business system. I’ve never been able to get on-board with one political party or the other, and I still don’t see a benefit to having our political parties in a form anywhere near close to as they currently exist. Maybe one day long ago I would have seen things differently. But I believe that whatever may have once motivated a need for highly consolidated political parties simply no longer exists or occurs naturally.

I believe the political parties as they currently exist represent monopolies, with all the flaws that we have seen in the past when vast monopolies controlled large amounts of natural resources. In the case of politics, the resources are “ideas”. And when it happened, and still does, in business, we have remedies. The answers aren’t simple, but we, as a country, have taken steps to make to make business more accessible to anybody, and to create a business environment where there are all sorts of choices and efficiencies. It doesn’t always work well, but I think it would be very hard to argue that it works worse than our unnaturally stagnant political party system.

But what would it mean to change it? And is “privatization” the right word? I found some interesting ideas over on a Yahoo! Answers thread, where someone posted the question Do we actually need “parties” in our political system?.

The responses include some minor rants against the rigid two-party system, and some calm assertions that “well, what else would you have us do?”, but nobody seemed to look at the idea of organizational politics more generally and point out that there are many large-scale organizations where groupings as rigidly defined as our current political parties simply do not exist, but people still manage to get plenty of useful work done.

I’m not talking about anarchy, which also would not be good for anyone. I’m just talking about finding a way for us all to organize our thoughts, ideas, and common work in ways that, to me, seem more natural. And I’m not claiming it would be easy, but I hope none of you truly believe it is impossible, impractical, or unuseful. 🙂


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