Assessing Politicians’ Performance

Tired of empty promises from politicians?  Let’s make them put specific and measurable promises in writing. They either perform, or they’re out.

Good scientists win the Nobel Prize by sticking their neck out. They challenge prevailing theories, publish new ones and then, make specific and measurable predictions. Moreover, in order to prove their theories right, they must present their work in such a way that facilitates the task of validating it. Of course, by doing so, they take the risk of having other colleagues prove them wrong – if this were the case.

On the other hand, politicians are good at making blobby statements
and blurry promises capable of conforming to any set of facts. Their speeches are heavily soaked with emotion-triggering accounts capable of jolting the ballot box, but the same speeches lack any specific or measurable declaration that could prove them wrong. As a result, it is difficult to challenge proposed policies. When the outcome is not as expected, even mediocre politicians recover remarkably quickly by suggesting some minor tweaks to put things right back on track.

Humankind currently faces numerous global challenges: environmental mess, economic crisis, extreme poverty, population obesity, ... Many of these challenges could be tackled if politicians would for once rise to the occasion.

The truth is that not only have politicians failed to guide us out of the existing problems, they are also primarily responsible for leading us into them. Who else is responsible for handling the country’s affairs? But politicians are good at diverting public anger. Unsurprisingly, they quickly find other easy-to-sell culprits, the real bad guys: greedy industrialists, crooked foreign governments, previous administrations, sleepy overseers and reckless others. It’s never their fault.

We cannot blame politicians for acting this way. After all, they play by the rules of the game. Therefore we must change these rules. I suggest demanding politicians stick their necks out like scientists and set specific targets in writing. These could be simple and measurable parameters such as the unemployment rate or the inflation rate or something else. Once in power, if the country does not perform as promised, it would be proven they were wrong and therefore not fit for the job. Accordingly, they would be ousted and banned from politics.

We cannot hope that politicians themselves implement a system that could easily assess their performance. It is up to us to revolt, as in 1776. Politicians may be selfish, corrupt and useless, but I guarantee you they are not dumb.

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