Changing the Rules

I like this quote.

If a majority of the population is well accustomed to certain basic rules and if these rules work reasonably well common people even tend to stick more to these reliable rules than members of parliament and government would do – even if these rules are very unjust for some individuals or even major groups.

On the other hand, changing rules alone is only the one half of the process of change – the new rules must be known and accepted by a broad majority of the population to become effective. Direct Democracy does help to raise a discussion on rules in the families, at work and in other places ordinary people meet each other. Experts are forced to explain the necessity for change not only to a small number of people (members of government and parliament) but to everybody. This is very helpful to ensure that (almost) everybody will understand the need for change.

Reworking institutions to some end or another, e.g. the entrepreneurial act, is fundamentally about phase changes from one widely adopted rule set into something else.  What I like in this framing of the problem is how it highlights the switching cost.  The installed base is invested in the existing rule set.  While switching is risky, just as important is how they are used to paying to maintain the current system.  When the cost/benefits of the old/new regime are distant, impersonal, and fuzzy why should they change?  I’m amused by the presumption that it is experts who would face this problem – seems to me that it’s more often the affected minority who are interested.  Lastly I like how it faces up to the politicking/marketing necessary to drive such change.
I find the quote more interesting stripped of it’s context, but if you want you can look it up.

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