A TV program by NOVA called, “Mind Over Money”, is advertised as asking the question, “Can markets be rational when humans are not?” That’s an excellent question. But I think an even more important question is, “Can governments be rational when humans are not?” It’s possible the fate of humanity hangs on the answer to the latter question.
The odd thing is that for thousands of years some people have argued humans should be governed by small elite groups because the majority of humans are irrational. However, there is little or no historical evidence to suggest that when humans have been governed by small elite groups those groups were any less irrational than the masses of humanity they governed. Every elite in history has believed that it was intellectually superior to those it governed. And every elite in history has then gone on to demonstrate that it is just as irrational as the masses — that all its talk of being more rational than the masses was self-delusion, egotism, and hot air. There is no escaping human nature. Not even being an elite exempts you from it.
Our species is almost never perfectly rational. Nevertheless, we have proven ourselves capable of building comparatively rational systems — most notably the sciences. And we have built those systems despite the fact that those of us who have built them are not entirely rational. So, is it also possible that we will some day learn how to build a rational government?