HOT BLAST: A government run by sloppy patches
Sep 25, 2013 | 1249 views |  0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The entrance to the Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The entrance to the Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
slideshow

Steven M. Teles takes a stab at explaining our deeply divided politics. In the process, he coins the term "kludgeocracy." To wit:

A "kludge" is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "an ill-assorted collection of parts assembled to fulfill a particular purpose...a clumsy but temporarily effective solution to a particular fault or problem." The term comes out of the world of computer programming, where a kludge is an inelegant patch put in place to solve an unexpected problem and designed to be backward-compatible with the rest of an existing system. When you add up enough kludges, you get a very complicated program that has no clear organizing principle, is exceedingly difficult to understand, and is subject to crashes. Any user of Microsoft Windows will immediately grasp the concept.

"Clumsy but temporarily effective" also describes much of American public policy today. To see policy kludges in action, one need look no further than the mind-numbing complexity of the health-care system (which even Obamacare's champions must admit has only grown more complicated under the new law, even if in their view the system is now also more just), or our byzantine system of funding higher education, or our bewildering federal-state system of governing everything from welfare to education to environmental regulation. America has chosen to govern itself through more indirect and incoherent policy mechanisms than can be found in any comparable country.

 
Comments must be made through Facebook
No personal attacks
No name-calling
No offensive language
Comments must stay on topic
No infringement of copyrighted material


Friends to Follow



Today's Events

event calendar

post a new event

Friday, April 18, 2014

Marketplace