People are more upset with losses than they are pleased with gains. That means that people who must persuade them to a new course of action must sell fear as well as greed. Well not exactly sell fear, but sell the solution that mitigates the fear.
You can see it everywhere.
I sell insurance which as you know does not prevent the event from happening but mitigates its costs should it happen. Life insurance does not protect your life, it protects the value of your life so that others who relied on your income, can use money to meet their needs.
Politics and the civil service is about the same idea. People don’t act unless they have an emotional reason to do so and fear is a good one.
You will notice that the fears that politicians produce don’t change much. Uncertain times, difficult economic times, unemployment, trade barriers and deficits, war, evil people, unfairness and predatory behaviour, false advertising, fraud, drugs, gangs and natural disasters. None are new.
People listen to the rhetoric and pay little attention to the facts. The world we live in here in North America is more benign than it has ever been. As people we can usually ignore the potential for bad things to happen to us.
Politicians though cannot. They need a good crisis so they can cast themselves as the saviours. Competence in governing is not a prerequisite to being a saviour.
The realpolitik is easier to see. It has been known since time immemorial. H.L. Mencken’s version is eloquent.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
Most of the shrill problems today have straightforward solutions. Those that are more challenging can be mitigated.
For a politician, the reality is that things you have solved will not get you elected. Exagerating a problem and claiming to be able to fix it will.
The people who think politics is important and governance will look after itself should be prevented from holding office.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
Please be in touch if I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org 866-285-7772