January 13, 2017

A “merlion” in Singapore. Is this city-state an ideal model for good governance? One researcher thinks so. Credit: Lenny K Photography/ Flickr Creative Commons

Make voting mandatory, replace senators with governors, embrace more than just two political parties -- these are a few of the changes researcher Parag Khanna believes will strengthen American democracy.

In a new book - Technocracy in America: Rise of the Info-State - Khanna says the country could also benefit from more technocrats in office. He hopes to disprove the idea in the U.S. of technocrats as political elites and rebrand them as experts and problem solvers.

Three Takeaways:

  • Khanna argues that America can learn a lot about building up its federal civil service system from countries like Switzerland and Singapore. He says the U.S. has let its civil service “decay.”
  • Attracting the best and brightest technocrats to join the government means upping salaries for public officials and public servants, and adjusting the system so that they have “a certain sense of upward mobility,” Khanna says. “If you are a good politician,” he explains, “you can, in Singapore or Germany or even Brazil or other countries, rise to the top and not just be circumvented by someone from the outside who’s a political appointee.”
  • Mandatory voting could be a good thing. “Once people really do have to vote, they might pay more attention to the information,” he says.

More Reading:

globalization, Business, government, Switzerland, technocrats, Parag Khanna, Singapore

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