Politics and religion are two topics that I try to avoid writing about publicly. However I can't help but slip one lesson in regarding politics, inspired by the current presidential primary campaign.
In the few years the Internet has been around, we have watched a transformation of knowledge occur right before our very eyes. The speed of this transformation in comparison to the timeline of the history of mankind has been absolutely breathtaking. We are witnessing a transparency in all areas of life, all around the globe, like never before. We have access to know what's happening instantaneously and in great detail, 12,000 miles from our home, without having to leave our desktop or laptop computer. Add 24 hour of news casts to the mix of the Internet and we have more information than we can possibly digest. The point here is the groundwork is already laid to make the current citizens of the world the most informed and knowledgeable in the history of mankind. And we haven't even scratched the surface on the technological breakthroughs that will occur in the near future.
With the breakneck speed that technology advances in the business sector, why is it that government and politics as usual is allowed to take place at a snails pace? We are constantly reminded about the productivity numbers in the business sector, yet you rarely hear or learn about anything but the waste and bloated state of government and politics? In a recent Fortune Magazine article about Nintendo, the video game manufacturer, it was reported that this company generated $2.5 million in sales for each one of its 3400 employees. That compared with $994,000 for Google employees and $624,000 for Microsoft. These figures represent efficiency at its best. So why can't we apply some earth-shattering technology and new systems to government and politics? Government surely has the resources to spend on becoming more efficient. Yet we watch governments around the world operate in a vacuum, insulated from reality, wasting our hard earned tax dollars.
Our election processes and government systems need to be transformed, with the same ambitious passion that led to internet banking; internet stock trading; and online booking of cars, hotels, airlines etc. We need to pick our candidates more effectively and eliminate the lobbyists who buy the votes of the elected officials through large campaign contributions. It's absolutely insane to hear that a presidential candidate needs to raise 30 to 100 million in campaign funds to be considered a viable candidate. How many favors in bridges to nowhere and pork projects do those contributions equate to? How many hours of debate go on in the Senate and House about these pork projects, or other bills to repay the contributors while the really important issues get put on the back burner?
There's got to be a more efficient way to campaign; elect; and hold all government workers accountable from the federal level to municipalities. Where are the big breakthroughs in government efficiency? Perhaps our only hope may come from our youth who are passionate and not afraid of taking on the establishment! Maybe from an individual like Shawn Fanning who developed Napster and led the way to download music easily? This 19 year old student took on the mighty recording studios and gave them fits. He forced them to change their way of doing business and the recording industry changed after bigger fish like Apple got involved in selling music downloads.
Or perhaps an individual like Mark Zuckerberg will come along with a creative way to make the election process and our government more efficient. This bright young Harvard student launched Facebook and took on the Harvard University Establishment. He didn't care about anything but his passion and then found a way to turn it into a viable business that made him happy while it made him millions of dollars without breaking the law. In the few short years that the Internet has been around, it's been the thirty and under crowd that has come up with the ideas to transform the way we do business and even conduct our personal lives. To name a few who were under thirty when they founded technology companies that changed our world there was Bill Gates of Microsoft; Pierre Omidyar of E-Bay; Michael Dell of Dell Computers; Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com; Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google; etc. The youth of the world will have grown up in the Internet age. I believe they will not stand for the wasteful inefficiency and business as usual in government establishments. Once the youth of today realize that their hard earned money is being paid into a system that will go broke if it continues on the current path, leaving them few benefits from their tax dollars; someone will come up with the next big idea to begin a new wave of government efficiency.
Throughout history, it has always been the youth who forced governments to change. After all they have the least to lose by forcing change and the most to gain. Once an individual reaches middle or old age, they don't have the energy or the will to fight the system and force it into disruptive change. While they might like to see things change, it just seems like it's too much trouble. So that's it: my one and only Lesson on Politics. Three cheers for our youth!