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This notice was posted on 01:00, 24 August 2006 (UTC).
The purpose of government is to allocate resources that will nurture organic economic growth.
Once organic growth takes hold, the problems of safety, health, and happiness can be managed. Until it is, they can't. This holds true on the local, regional and global levels.
Pending government decisions can be analyzed on the basis of a modified version of Cost/Benefit Analysis.
To the extent that the results of that analysis include all the stakeholders and their interests, it provides the basis for citizens to make rational decisions. As a by product, this will also lower the tendency for citizens to be manipulated by fear and fantasy in the service of the political class.
Cost/benefit analysis for business has a tradition of using only financial metrics. While relatively useful in the 20th century, it has become outmoded in a global business environment. The biggest problem was it's neglect of risk management, especially in the medium range. In the information rich environment of the 21st century, anticipating and managing for risk and long term growth have come to the forefront for global business.
For business, triple bottom line accounting is a much more useful tool to manage profitability long term risk.
Cost/benefit analysis for public policy must be extended one more level to include measures of local economic development and the costs and benefits for the various classes of citizen stakeholders. The lack of organic economic growth, inevitably creates significant medium and long term risks to all stakeholder interests. To be useful for public policy, cost/benefit analysis have to build on the triple bottom line accounting approach to measure the short, medium and long term effects on the different classes of citizens, the local and regional economy, as well as the environment.
By including all of these factors, more intelligent resource allocation decisions can be made within acceptable time frames.
The primary job of a politician at any level is to innovate to win-win resource allocation decisions in the service of local, regional, and global organic economic development.
The primary activity of that job is to get and give useful information in a robust, ongoing conversation with their constituents.