Longer terms in government?

2016-02-13 2 min read

    Many have written about society’s inability to enact laws quickly enough to deal with the current pace of technological innovation. Governments are still trying to figure out how to regulate the sharing economy with both AirBnB and Uber being reacted to rather than being effectively regulated. This leads to different treatment in different locations and causes confusion for consumers, the businesses, and regulators.

    A potential way to rectify this is to actually increase term limits for people in government. With politicians focusing on reelection every few years and constantly moving in and out of office it’s tough to develop a consistent regulatory approach. This worked well a hundred years ago when new industries would take a decade to develop and you could regulate them as they grew. Now it can take a year for entirely new businesses to be created before governments can react to what’s happening. By then the new consumer behavior has become entrenched and becomes difficult to change. Rather than worrying about reelection and undoing prior policies politicians should be focused on the future and how to adapt government for an increasingly changing society.

    It’s counterintuitive that to deal with rapid change you want slower government turnover but it makes sense. Imagine a football team changing coaches for every game or a company switching CEOs every year. They’d be too busy dealing with the leadership change to win games or grow as businesses. Stability is necessary in rapidly changing environments and governments need to adapt to provide that in modern times.