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Making Sense of the Games Politicians Play - Businessweek


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"Hohmann’s Buy a Feature changed everything. The rules require specific cuts: “close libraries one hour earlier,” rather than “cut library budgets by 5 percent.” This keeps players from passing the hard choices down to the library and requires them to confront the impact of their decisions. Each group has up to 10 players, who have to agree unanimously to cut a service or raise revenue. By design, most services are too expensive for a single player to pay for alone. That discourages posturing. A citizen can’t just make a viewpoint known; he has to persuade others to adopt it. “It forced participants to confront realities,” says Harkness. “It’s a lot different than standing up and saying, ‘You should do this or that.’”

This is all starting to feel like one giant Settlers of Catan game.

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