2.3.3 Increasing the Acceptability of Governance

Increasing the acceptability of governance by letting people choose for themselves and by negotiating to make improvements

Governance increases in acceptability if it more successfully meets a person’s requirements, as defined by their understanding of the suggested list above (2.1) or an equivalent list.  People’s acceptance increases if they have to make fewer reluctant concessions, but no government can please everybody.  The aim must be to broadly maximise satisfaction across the entire population, so people should be able to seek change.

People like having a choice.  Given people’s inherent diversity (2.2), more of them are likely to be satisfied if they can choose for themselves where possible.  This is perhaps an argument for restricting the role of the State and it is certainly a reason for avoiding a monolithic system of imposed uniformity.  Different ways of providing choice are explored in the next few chapters (and these are linked in the Index).

People like to have better social benefits and public services, but they also like to pay less tax.  Those two objectives are incompatible.  This is one of many aspects of governance where trying to make improvements for some people will be disadvantageous to others; a balance must be struck, and periodically modified when necessary.

Increasing the acceptability of governance is easier if it is negotiable, as described in the next section (2.4).  This is important because people are subject to governance which has been negotiated by others – by previous generations, for example – and new situations arise.  A negotiation enables those in power to discover what the population wants, and to gain support for the governance response.


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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/233a.htm