Breaking the cycle of lies and manipulation

Image by Sebastian Pichler

We know that politicians lie. The problem is that lying can be effective in gaining and maintaining power. While lying produces results, it will continue.

The lies are not the only problem, however. Distorted and flawed reasoning can be just as effective in delivering political support. Making simplistic, unfounded and flawed conclusions is sadly as influential as lying. Thin end of the wedge arguments, correlation implying causation, attacking the person not the policy and other non-sequiturs of almost every possible kind. Political manipulation through unreasonable and unjustifiable conclusions is rife. …

What stops us learning from China?

Over the last 40 years, the Chinese government has produced one of the greatest transformations in human history. In the 1970's China was a communist country where more than 88% of citizens lived on less than $US 2 a day. In 2017, that number was less than 6%. The Chinese middle class — as measured by western standards — is forecast to reach 550 million by 2022. For the last 25 years average economic growth has been around 9.5% per year. National income has been doubling every eight years. …

What problem, if fixed, would give the most benefit for all?

It seems obvious really. Man-made climate change could have devastating consequences for humanity. Hundreds of millions of people could be forced from their coastal homes, fertile farmland could be changed forever, and devastating storms could become commonplace. Theoretically, in an absolute worst case scenario, climate change could lead to the end of civilisation as we know it. Obviously, this critical issue needs to be addressed. Yet, if given the chance to solve one critical issue first, I would not solve climate change.

Millions of people face malnutrition, poor water…

A practical solution for fair and effective company tax

Corporate tax avoidance globally has reached staggering proportions. The OECD conservatively estimates that globally as much as $US 240 billion is lost to tax avoidance every year. The Australian Tax Office, for example, has estimated that around one third of profitable companies in Australia do not pay tax. There are too many tax avoiding companies to name individually. Most multinationals avoid tax in some way.

Many international companies have earned hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars in revenue while paying no tax. Individual companies that have paid large amounts…

Using the right incentives to deliver better results

Claudio Hirschberger

Top company US CEO’s earned $18.9m on average in 2017 (Economic Policy Institute). This means that CEO’s earned more than 300 times as much as many of their employees. Extraordinary pay for executives is not unusual in many places around the world.

In 1965 company leaders earned only around 20 times their employees.

Quite often executive pay has little relationship to the performance of the companies involved. Based on a range of deals and incentives, some company executives can earns huge sums even when earnings go down, or when share prices plummet…

We repeat the same process and yet hope for different results

Finding a better way (Photo — Stephen Leonardi)

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” — quote often attributed to Albert Einstein.

The above quote is such a cliché now. And yet, is it really heeded? We’ve had hundreds of years of democracy, hundreds of years of flawed leaders, hundreds of years of mistakes. Democracy has been the best form of government that we have known, but it is also seriously flawed. We regularly change our politicians. Yet why do we assume that the democratic process itself cannot…

Ensuring our democracies are not influenced by the conflicted priorities of our media

An excerpt from the book Solving for Democracy:

Photo by Kayla Velasquez

“Communications between nations must promote understanding — so went another dream. But the machines of communication can be manipulated. What is communicated can be truth or lie. Communication is a strong force, but also for either good or evil” — Richard Feynman, PhD, Nobel laureate

The media is an essential part of democracy. In most modern democracies a significant proportion of the people will have never read any policy documents or have never listened to any party speeches. The…

What if we could actually change the world?

I have previously written that the most important problem to fix right now is the problem of democracy. Our poor and slow democratic decision-making process has left many problems unresolved for decades. Our democracy has often proposed ineffectual solutions and has wasted time and effort on irrelevant issues. Other articles of mine have described how tens of millions of lives have been devastated by the poor democratic decisions in the last century alone. The irony is, if our democratic process was a politician, then it would surely be thrown out of office…

What can be done to improve us all?

Nobel laureate Richard Feynman told the story of a scientist named Young experimenting on mice navigating through doors . Young was astonished at how the mice could so easily find the food. After an extraordinary amount of diligent investigative work he found that the mice were actually able to navigate using the sounds of the wooden floor as they moved. The importance of Young’s work was not that he discovered anything meaningful. He merely discover the best way to run experiments on mice. His adherence to careful analysis and to the scientific…

Tony Bracks

Ideas to make the world better at Author of “Solving For Democracy” on Amazon

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