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FROM: George Eldon What NEED

FROM: George Eldon

What NEED does this meet?
Bringing a measure of political empowerement to the man on the Clapham omnibus...

The idea germinated when I considered that many people don't bother to vote, never mind take an interest in politics generally and on the other hand many web sites allow you to compare gas, electricity suppliers and save ten bob a year by switching. Others allow you to compare current accounts, ISA's and other financial products etc which is good news as far as I'm concerned.

However we have close to no say in how the other 30-40% of our income - aka tax - is spent (or raised for that matter).

What is the APPROACH?
Every year the Government of the day produces a budget. Various web sites (BBC et al) produce a 'Be your own Chancellor' "game" that allows you to alter around twenty or so tax / spend variables. The web site then calculates the income / tax impact on various groups (e.g. two working parents with two children, single parent).

My approach is to development this idea further by...

1) Providing the game all year round. 2) Allowing people to save their 'games' 3) Allowing people to drill down to the 'nth' level of detail if they want to (i.e. the number and levels of variables should reflect the real world or at least the variables that economic institutions and the Government actually use in their models). 4) Importing actual economic data and calculating how the results of your game are affected.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
If sufficient interest develops then it could conceivably have a snowball effect and become - to coin a phrase - 'the ultimate poll' that political parties start to consider.

What is the COMPETITION?
This isn't something that I suggest mysosciety.org take on by themselves. There are sufficient academic / economic institutes out there that could provide understanding of economic modelling and resources. No doubt some of these institutes already have similar projects on the go, but I don't think anything big is on the web - if you know otherwise, pease let me know.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
The budget would be quite hefty I'm afraid, both in the development and operational phases. Also sufficient funds to pay subscriptions for the actual economic data.

The logistics would require a hefty development team and an even heftier economic modelling team from economic / academic institutes.

November 2, 2003 in Money, Political | Permalink


This is a good idea, I am not a programmer and as such couldn't say how much effort it would take to take this off the ground, as an political economist I think the idea has potential. Perhaps one of the leading poll groups (MORI etc.) would be interested in this, taking it on in a partnership.

Posted by: Chris Shaw at Mar 10, 2004 4:37:24 PM