Thursday, November 19, 2015

Whither democracy?

Romania has a new technocratic government. With politicians either corrupt or assumed to be, there is a logic to that, and the idea of having experts running the various ministries makes a lot of sense (Raed Arafat must be about the longest serving effective actor in successive governments, for precisely this reason).

However, I can't help wondering about that whole democracy thing.  When we elect politicians to high office, we do so based on the policies they espouse, not on their competence.  Obviously hiring the competent has its advantages, but it's not like there is one single approach to education, say, such that hiring an educator to the education ministry is not a political act.

I'm troubled by this, and suspect that there will be a point when people will notice that Iohannis / Ciolan have pretty much made a massively anti-democratic set of decisions, despite the fact that I trust this government to run the country more than any we've had since I've lived here.  If it works, is that enough? 


Alex Usher said...

Agree with the sentiment, but where cabinet is concerned, isn't it always like this? The Education minister is never an elected deputy, usually a university rector or head of Senate (Andronescu, Pricopie, Cimpeanu, etc). My understanding is that's true of Finance as well - not clear about other ministries. Isn't the real difference that it's the PM who's not a deputy this time?

Andy said...

Is it? I'm now not sure. I think that usually the ministers are mostly elected. Though I'm sure you're right about education since you've had more experience with them than I. (Having said that though, that does raise the question about whether someone in HE is necessarily the right person to run the school system)

Alex Usher said...

It's almost certainly not the right person. It's as if the entire K-12 system is an after-thought. The new guy (Adrian Curaj) is not a university rector but he has been head of the funding agency (UEFISCDI) for the last five years or so. Definitely a wonk. And has never been in Parliament.

(Actually, now that i think about it, Andronescu was a deputy the first two times she was minister, but had gone back to Politehnica by the time her third term came around).