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August 15th, 2007, 21:26
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
So the level of grass roots functionality depends heavily on how layered a bureaucracy you're dealing with. In terms of fiscal responsibility, many municipalities function just like the feds with far too little accountability, the delusive "lowest bid" system and strangling unionization.
You put your finger on it. Every layer of hierarchy puts the decision-makers that much further from the electorate and their oversight. OTOH if you have a very big administrative unit, it becomes very hard to govern without some kind of hierarchy. That's why any organization becomes harder and harder to run efficiently and honestly as it grows in size. So the EU is seeing very similar structural problems as the US for very similar reasons, and other large countries like Russia, India, China, and Brazil aren't exactly paragons of good governance either.

I have a feeling that creative use of information technology could push that limit up a fair bit, but it's not easy. For starters, we'd need a culture of transparency in government — make all information freely accessible to everyone unless there's a damn good reason not to.

Until that happens, I for one am not in favor of deepening European integration — I believe it'll work better as the fairly loose commonwealth of countries that it currently is than a "United States of Europe."
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