Semisovereign People, The

Title: Semisovereign People
Author(s): E. E. Schattschneider
Publisher: Dryden Press
Pages: 143
Date: 1975

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He who picks the battlefield wins the battle

This book redefines politics as the art of selecting battlefields. There are a thousand things individuals can worry about, and the success of politics is distilling the worries down to the precious few, preferrably those in which your side has the advantage. Politics is not so much about alignments of interest groups, as it is about being able for a political party to be able to define the terms of the battle (e.g., soak-the-rich, size of the deficit, abortion).

This is important for our funding approach to World Class R&D in that we attribute deficiencies in today's funding approaches to a lack of skin-in-the-game by the middleman, and to a lack of adequate measures of productivity. Much of today's investment dollar is wasted, in that it is used to fuel rampant speculation, to the detriment of those few firms dedicated to increasing productivity. So we define the battlefield for World Class R&D as one of making sure the middleman (funding agency+ management and owners) shares in the success and failures of their investments, and they are compensated only based on increasing productivity within those investments (as independently assessed).

Savvy individuals will attempt to define the worries for our investors in a manner that redounds to their own benefit. Voting constructs+ are integral to protecting the long-term financial integrity of the funding agency. The Semisovereign People reminds us to focus on the battlefields. All the preparation in the world will be for naught if the political battlefield shifts away from our strongholds.