A campaign theme?
David Brooks’ column today in the New York Times discusses the Barack Obama’s and John McCain’s positions on the bloated Farm Bill in the context of Mancur Olson’s seminal work on concentrated benefits and diffuse costs:
In 1965, Mancur Olson wrote a classic book called “The Logic of Collective Action,” which pointed out that large, amorphous groups are often less powerful politically than small, organized ones. He followed it up with “The Rise and Decline of Nations.” In that book, Olson observed that as the number of small, organized factions in a society grows, the political culture becomes more divisive, the economy becomes more rigid and the nation loses vitality.
Brooks argues that it is a theme that McCain should take in his Presidential campaign:
In fact, in this issue, McCain may have found a theme to unify his so far scattershot campaign.
Of course, it’s a theme that relates to just about every government program, not just the Farm Bill. It indeed would be interesting to have that as part of the Presidential debates.
(Thanks to Julie Walsh for the tip.)