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Voice, exit and managed decline

Voice, exit and managed decline

The Ümlaut discusses choices individuals have when they have grievances. While this article uses countries and businesses as a model, many instances come to mind in church as well as the marketplace:

…. When individuals within organizations have grievances, they typically face a choice between voice and exit. One does not try to set up an appointment with the CEO of Starbucks if one believes that their coffee is overroasted (a friend of mine holds that view), one simply takes one’s business elsewhere. Conversely, few people would seek a divorce because their spouse can’t make bisque—in a marriage, voice is generally a more sensible way of resolving problems. In short, the choice between the use of voice and exit will likely depend on factors like transaction costs, the severity of collective action problems that are involved, asset specificity, and so on.

Governments sit awkwardly between these polar extremes, as people use both voice and exit in different contexts. Public choice economics suggests that the traditional exercise of voice in a democratic society—i.e., once in four or five years, at the ballot box—is pretty much useless. In many ways, exit can get people what they want much more effectively.

Parents move to a better school district or send their children to private schools; similarly, high-skilled workers and investors move to jurisdictions with friendlier tax or regulatory regimes, such as Dubai or Singapore. Clearly, exit has become much easier than it once was. Capital is more mobile (p.5), and new technologies and cheap travel make it easier for people to move countries or continents without jeopardizing their social ties and friendships.

The Slate article which the Ümlaut takes on is here.


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Melissa Holloway

Uh . . Maybe this an example of the Holy Spirit speaking to the Episcopal Church, but the link I get sent to is something like -If You Send Your Kid to a Private School You Are a Bad Person.

I am allowing myself to be smug about pointing this out because I do in fact send my kids to a public school.

[The sentence linking to Slate has been edited to clarify the Umlaut is critiquing Slate. – ed.]

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