InterJournal Complex Systems, 2276
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [2276]
Submission Date: 20080226
Polity by Design ; an engineering approach
Author(s): Saurabh Kwatra

Subject(s): CX.6

Category: Article


Rules by which societies govern themselves are called institutions. Institutions can be political, economic, social, but generally they are a complex combination of these. Universities and Academies of higher education include a course or paper titled .Political Engineering; as reflected in the title, some kind of so-called engineering is applied to political science. The phrase ‘so-called’ has been used with intent and some disgrace is associated with it. This paper, while justifying these adjectives, is categorically the first bold attempt to apply genuine engineering practice to political science. Till date, so-called Political Engineering as taught and done, uses tools of economic theory, game theory, social-choice theory and formal logic to both understand (analyze) and create (synthesize) institutions. The choice of word engineering is a misnomer as the word is used very loosely, almost to the extent of disrespect for it. Still, institutions designed by using this loose engineering meet certain technical specifications and are therefore undoubtedly superior to their haphazardly evolved cousins. Just like genuine industrial design engineering when applied to medical technology translates an advanced momentum exchange theory to manufacture a regenerative flow-type blood pump, (pseudo) political-social-economic engineering translates its rational-choice-analysis (probably with some inbuilt equal opportunity axiom) into an Internet-enabled stepped-fashion Auctions (a modern bargaining and arbitration Procedure). This paper deals with the application of genuine engineering design methodologies to political institutions; it should be termed as honest political engineering. As an example of genuine political engineering exercise, consider an analogy between the physical world of technologists and the ruled society in democracy. Compare the problem of ‘working out’ the ideal area of a road-roller for resurfacing a highway of a given area most efficiently with the problem of ‘computing’ the size of House of Commons (number of elected representatives) required to democratically govern the given size of British population with optimum efficiency. The developed software, ‘political machinery’ solves these problems, taking input parameters like, population to be governed, per capita income, the kind of economy, environmental favorability, corruption level and statistical figures of previous successes or failures of earlier governments. The alternative analysis-synthesis approach, as is done in reverse engineering, would be performed by the program - number of Members of Parliament being the numeric output! Perhaps the coiner of the term, Political Machinery was a machine designer! I wait when parliamentarians and policy-makers are replaced by engineer-turned-designers.

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