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‘Some People Believe That Government Officials Must Carry Out The Will Of The People They Serve. Others Believe That Officials Should Base Their Decisions On Their Own Judgment


‘Some people believe that government officials must carry out the will of the people they serve. Others believe that officials should base their decisions on their own judgment

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.’

A government certain should be entitled to make certain decisions based on their own judgments due to the reason that in many circumstances it is not possible to consult the public opinion. However, those decisions should also be made to maximize the interests of its people. One disturbing fact is that many political powers are intertwined with special-interest group and influenced by large contributors. The public need to put the government constantly under scrutiny in order to avoid that a government abuse its power to serve the special interests group rather than people.

A government needs to be entitled to the power to make decision based on its own judgment in the place of the people as a whole. Endowing this power to a government is crucial to its normal function since in many cases, many crucial decisions need to be made either without any delay or without any information leak. In those situations, it is not possible to consult all people to know their will. For example, during a war, politicians and generals need to take all responsibilities to make their own decisions about the military movements based on their knowledge and information. Ordinary people might not possess the sufficient knowledge to judge wisely. Even if they do, it is not realistic to consult people’s will since it takes too much time and risk information leak. In the financial arena, before any massive purchase of capitals or monetary easing, a government needs to keep it secret in order to avoid being a victim of a speculation. If a government consults its people before launching actions, the players in the capital market will soon know the government's intent and try to gain money through speculation. Therefore, in many circumstances, a government has to carry out its own decision based on its own judgment.

Moreover, the public will, in many cases focuses too much on short-term interest, while a good government need also integrate a nation’s long term interests into its policies. In order to realize those long term interests, sometimes, some tough decisions need to be made. Admittedly, the public sometimes also notice the necessity of abandoning short-term interests in order to gain a sustainable development. And yet, it is much more difficult for all society’s members to stick to this consensus on launching reforms which might involve temporary loss than let a government lead people to realize it. For example, now many European countries are mired in debt crises. Many governments launched unpopular austerity measures which in long term, could help ensure financial stability and reestablish investor’s confidence. However, such measures bringing widespread recession and high unemployment rate are certainly unpopular. If government just followed what most people want and abandoned those unpopular measures, in the long run, the whole country would face deeper and more devastating disasters. Some critics might point out that here a government is running against people's interest. Could a government be allowed to do that? In my opinion, I would like to argue that letting the people to be addicted to certain short-term solutions might really be against people's interest as a whole.

However, emphasizing that a government could operate on its own will still bring concomitant dangers. One disturbing reality is that many political parties are influenced by the special-interest groups and big donators. Allowing the ruling party to carry its own will might lead to a situation in which government serves to those power brokers rather than the public. Consider the situation in China where the whole economy excessively depends on overinvestment which generated real-estate bubbles. Many scholars have warned government of the hidden danger and some government officials had tried to put brake on the runaway property investments. Even those measures only brought a mild downturn which is necessary to avoid an economy collapse, looming as bad investments piled up. Howls of objections have come from property developers as well as many officials whose interests are intertwined. In order to avoid that a government decision is hijacked by those special-interest group, the public need to be allowed to scrutinize the policies of a government even thought it is allowed to make its own decisions based on its judgment..

Moreover, in other cases, consulting the will of the public could also help policymakers to avoid unnecessary mistakes. Sometimes, our civil servant might launch certain projects, aiming at improve people's lives or improve their own images. However those policymakers failed to consider contain aspects which might impact people’s welfare. For example, Chinese authorities face a mounting pattern of protest against pollutions, and in particular, against industrial plants that locals can single out during planning stage or in early days of construction. This year, the plans for the discharge plant, which was to be part of a paper manufacturing plant, in Qi Dong, had been abandoned due to wide public protest. Both the public and investors which had to suffer huge loss were angry. It might be true that at first local government just hoped to build more factories, boost industries and reduce unemployment rate. However, if before making those decisions, the public had been consulted; those protests might have been avoided.

To sum up, although the government is entitled to rule based on its own judgment, such power is not absolute either. In order to avoid that power is misused or is hijacked by certain groups; people must always put the decisions of a government under scrutiny.

Submitted by: qcao

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