Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Economics of Voting

I rarely venture into politics. I'm too lazy to visit the polling booths so I get a postal vote delivered. The ballot arrived yesterday and the list for the European Parliament reminded me of a scene from Monty Python and the Life of Brian (People's Front of Judea scene). We have the UK Independence Party, The English Democrats, the UK First party, BNP, the No2EU, LibertasEU, Socialist Labour Party (similar to NO2EU party - left wing anti EU), there was even some joker standing for the Roman party e.t.c. There were more, but I can't remember them.

Anyway the economics of voting, is an example of the free rider problem. Why should I spend 10 minutes researching all the different parties and what they stand for when my vote isn't going to make a difference anyway. There is a temptation not to vote but free rider on the efforts of those who do go to the polls.

You could argue voting gives a sense of satisfaction in that you get to choose for the party you think is best.

£1.50 Icecube trays and £175bn annual Government Debt

On another related point it is interesting to see how much media coverage has been dominated by MP's expenses. It seems that government borrowing requirements of £175bn are too vast to comprehend so we'd rather concentrate on MPs who claim duck houses and horse manure on expenses. MP expenses are only a tiny fraction of government spending, but things like horse manure and Icecube trays are easier to relate to than abstract sums.

I recenlty wrote a piece whether MPs should be paid more?

Maybe someone should try to work out the volume of horse manure that would be needed to equal the value of £175bn. That may help people to understand the volume of government borrowing for this year.

What Does 1 Trillion look Like?

UK National debt is heading towards £600bn at the moment

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