- The Canadian government is trying to muzzle scientists
- The US government is trying to shut down bitcoins
- ...at the same time as it keeps Guantanamo open
- American religious nuts are trying to jail or kill overseas gays
- The Chinese, Russians et al. are trying (as usual) to Balkanize the internet
- The Israeli government is trying to remove Palestine as a "fact"
- Various governments are trying to monitor mobile phones (and journalists!)
Why is it that we see more of "absolute power corrupts absolutely" than enlightened leadership? Can we do more to shift from one equilibrium to the other?
Economists (and other social scientists) have worked on this problem for many years. In some ways (e.g., "homo economicus") we have given up. In others (e.g., property rights, coalition building, etc.) we have improved conditions.
This is a big topic, but I figure that all solutions begin with a balance between willingness to help neighbors and a sense of one's own security. These solutions are harder to implement when neighbors are more different/disbursed and personal wants/fears are greater. Thus, it would be useful to make it easier to connect with neighbors and reduce personal uncertainty.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?