Guide The Good Representative

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Our members. They explained to me that lunchtime afforded them a relaxed setting to hear from their peers and catch up on workplace news. They heard grievances and there were many but did not see the prospect of preventing them by making efforts to better integrate themselves with the workforce. When they met with subordinates, it was usually their own agenda in hand. They were similarly out of touch with their front-line supervisors.

To be fair, these gentlemen and in my day, virtually all of them were men moved from one meeting to another day in and day out. They commonly arrived early and left late. The demands placed on them seemed endless and I admired many of them for their commitment and willingness to face challenges much greater than my own. By the same token, the union was seen as a time sink that distracted them from what was really important — the overhaul and repair of ships and submarines.

I, of course, was not immune. One day, after a particularly volatile meeting with union leadership I was complaining about the tactics and behavior of two union officials. Should we have expected a more cooperative attitude across the table? Our style was different — they were volatile, were we well-mannered. As I look at Federal labor-management relations decades later, Neville Chamberlain comes to mind.

What makes a good representative

That infamous prime minister of England gave Germany a green light to invade Czechoslovakia in No one in union or management wants to play that role. Concessions and capitulation are not what our constituents are asking of us. What if union locals were actively recruiting some of the best and most respected employees for union membership? What if union leadership included ambitious workers who want to advance into leadership positions?

They can represent employees in forums and other settings where they can show their creativity and negotiating skills.

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They get face time with higher level managers who would otherwise not notice them. In my own experience, such environments that have led to advancement of both those managers and representatives who have demonstrated their problem-solving skills. At these Federal activities, labor representatives often advance into HR positions and supervisory roles, carrying with them a firm command of union perspectives and operations.

They have been replaced in the union hierarchy by others — both angry and not. All get attention from leadership that is committed to including the union in meaningful dialogue. Such relationships are unusual. Yet the expenses associated with adversarial labor-management relationships are real and not commonly quantified. When union representatives are most attentive to those who are dissatisfied, they are spending time that might be better invested improving performance appraisals, organizing recognition programs, improving workplace safety, and promoting equal employment opportunity.

Direct democracy may work very well among a small group of people, but the larger the group the more difficult it is to run effectively. Representative democracy eliminates this difficulty by operating on a much smaller scale the majority of the time via elected representatives of the electorate as a whole.

No because Many people are upset with the choices that representatives make. Representative democracy is not democracy at all. People have no control over what the alleged "representatives" do. They don't have to make binding promises on the way they will vote and due to "log rolling", they pass laws that would never find any majority among the people "If you vote for my law A, I'll support your law B". Political alliances among parties with the intent of becoming a "ruling majority" are even worse: electors will be defrauded of any actual influence, e.

In short: representatives represent no one but themselves and their own interests. Electoral promises are worthless. Candidates are only elected based on emotional and ideological appeal, never on actual competence.

Do more members matter?

Their choices wouldn't be the choices of their electorate, were they given a chance to vote on issues often observed in Switzerland. Political issues can be exceptionally complicated and take MPs a lot of time and consultation with experts to fully understand themselves, before they can be considered informed enough to vote. Educating the whole electorate on such issues would be exceptionally difficult for a number of reasons, and if an uninformed electorate were to vote on issues the results could be incredibly damaging.

That's merely insulting and arrogant. Politicians are not smarter than the average voter. Most of the time, they understand nothing about the issue. Politicians are expert actors, speakers and liars, they're winners of popularity contests, not experts on any of the issues that they are supposed to make decisions on. Hardly any politician ever reads the laws he's supposed to vote on, because he's too busy with fund-raising and other far more important issues for them.

So even if you knew a politician once when he was young and enthusiastic and he seemed quite a nice chap, a short time in government will thoroughly corrupt him.


Very few remain true. The only exception that comes to mind is Ron Paul, the senator from Texas, who has consistently voted for low taxes, individual freedom and the restriction of government power. Trusting politicians and bureaucrats to work for the good of the country is like giving Tequila and car keys to teenagers and hope they'll bring back your car safely P. The average individual voter would put his or her needs before those of society as a whole. This self-interest is perfectly natural, but if a law that benefits a smaller group does not benefit a larger group for example, the protection of minority interests then that law is not likely to be passed.

They are just as susceptable to populist nonsense as anyone else. Switzerland is the only country in the world that operates with direct democracy at all levels of government.

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The people are far more intelligent and wise than selfish, greedy politicians, whose time horizon is just the next election. Again and again, Swiss voters proved that they were very well informed on every issue and that they were far more tolerant than the media and politicians claimed. Having the right to decide on issues means that people feel concerned by them and they will pay attention. People are only uninformed and ignorant in countries where they feel that their opinion doesn't matter anyway.

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The people who pay the bill are also far more likely to have a real long-term interest in making good decisions. Most people do not really want to vote all the time on political issues that don't always affect them, or may require a lot of understanding in order to cast a meaningful vote.

Switzerland requires about 10 referenda per year. This is the main criticism of direct democracy from people subject to it. Voting for a representative who agrees with you takes less effort, doesn't require you to do anything about issues that don't concern you and does not require you to learn about complex issues.