depoliticize decision-making


UPDATE: On the day we published this article, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott lifted Texas’ mask mandate – declaring the state 100% open for business. Health experts warned it was too soon.

Texas Was Warned a Decade Ago Its Grid Was Unready for Cold reads the headline in Bloomberg Green in what is becoming a pattern of blame-gaming after a public disaster.

Didn’t Bill Gates warn us of a pandemic as far back as 2015? And he’s already warning us that the next pandemic might be 10 times worse.

What is it about our public decision-making that fails to serve us, the public?

Here’s a model for decision-making which should be self-explanatory:

This is the sort of rational decision-making process we teach about in business school. But there’s a problem. As far back as 2013, Bill Gates warned us: “The malaria vaccine in humanist terms is the biggest need. But it gets virtually no funding. But if you are working on male baldness or other things you get an order of magnitude more research funding because of the voice in the marketplace than something like malaria.”

As a result, governments and philanthropic organizations have to step in to offset this “flaw in the pure capitalistic approach”. This is the raison d’être for the Gates Foundation.

What he was saying is that our decision-making process in a society is flawed. Why? Because, put bluntly, capitalism doesn’t care about society or the planet.

James Baldwin‘s observation that “reality” depends on our point of view applies here — the lens of our vision blurs reality and corrupts our rational decision-making process. Decisions made through the lens of an ideology like capitalism, or religion, or identity, lead to injustice, even death.

Worse still, is when decisions are made by an autocratic leader. Here’s why:

autocratic leadership … lends itself to poor decision-making. When a decision is complex and important, it pays to consult and listen to people with relevant expertise. Yet autocratic leaders tend to make unilateral decisions.

Governments around the world are becoming more ideological and authoritarian in their decision-making. So we have to ask, what can be done to depoliticize decision-making?

Stay tuned.