Actual politics is a matter of visionary people; however, practical management is a matter of technique. In the same way as in a business there is a certain distance between corporate strategy and everyday management, there has been always a distance between real politics and public management.
Totalitarian governments do not require political discussions, and then, they are driven finally by a group of technocrats. When there is not a need of politics, the government acts only following technical criteria.
Politics is a social function related to solve the conflicts that the simple technical management cannot provide, in the same way as strategy is the business function related to the change of the business. The aim of politics is to drive changes into the system. When a system is found as definitive, there is not a need of politics.
Politics usually dies due to its own success. When a political system becomes stable, technocrats monopolize the government reducing the activity of the politicians to makeup operations that tend to make the system more complex but less resilient.
In the US, the founding fathers had an important role in a certain time of great changes. Nowadays, no president can be compared with them. The reason is easy. Great politicians arise in difficult times providing solutions that the system cannot provide by itself. Although war has not been eliminated from our world, most of the decisions made related to it are totally technified. There is a clearer definition about what is a proportional response to any hostile thread, and even an armed conflict could be managed by technocrats.
The success of China in the last decades can be explained in this way. China abandoned its political ideology accepting market economy due to the proposals of technocrats when the system was stabilized. Technical management usually searches for an increase of efficiency without the prejudices of political philosophy. Nowadays they are suffering a great crisis at the financial markets. This is an example showing that technocratic governments cannot provide all the solutions. Technical solutions in political affairs are related to the preservation of the system and the search for its efficiency, however, without a change in the system the effort required to provide an improvement of efficiency is exponential instead of lineal. It is necessary a greater effort to get the same improvement every time.
Occidental countries preserve a way of governance where politics has a more preponderant role than in China. However, political function is providing less value in the last decades due to the stabilization of the way of governance. Perhaps real politics has been more active in Europe than in the US due to aim of more political unification.
Politics is a matter of a strategic vision and the search for a strategy and the tactics to implement that vision. A vision of a united Europe has produced a very active political function in the old continent in the last decades. However, this process was stopped with the fail in the approval of a European constitution in some important countries, and when the political vision is not shared by the people, political function gets diminished.
Our time is a time without a valid political vision to accomplish the challenges of the society. People perceive that political systems are not working properly in order to let the society to advance. This is the result of the exponential law of efficiency increase. Technocrats are imposing an increasing effort to the people in order to improve the efficiency of the system while political function provides less value every day because they have not a political vision of the future. The lack of a political vision is a hotbed for populism.
Populism is a form of antipolitics. It is the assumption of political function cannot provide value and then the required thing is “to make that the system works for the people”. This is a very odd concept. Populists think we need to turn the political system into a totalitarian way of governance in order that people can take advantage of it, when any totalitarian way of governance puts the people to work for the system instead of the system to work for the people.
Politics needs to be neither eliminated nor regenerated. Politics needs visionary people who can imagine a better political system as the founding fathers did in the US. Real politics is a matter of the long-term strategy and a plan of policies for the following four years that drive the society to comply with that long-term strategy.
However, what is the vision of politicians for the long-term? What is the vision of the future USA that its politicians offer to the American people? If the can only offer the same USA, they will put the government in the hands of a technocracy and the capability to increase the system efficiency by technocrats can be very limited. What is the vision of Europe than European politicians offer their citizens? Today, there is not a clear common vision about a more united Europe or a more separated one.
When politics has nothing to offer, we need a change of politicians instead of people saying that the system must change. The system must be changing always because that is the role of politics. When the system does not change is a political problem instead of a problem of the system. We need great visionary politicians instead of politicians without a strategic vision. We need people who can imagine and plan a better future instead of people criticizing the current situation. We need true leaders instead of simply managers. We need that politics is driven by visionary strategists and the administration by good technocrats that can implement the political vision, instead of a government driven by technocrats without vision and an administration driven by bad politicians without the required technical knowledge to implement the required changes.