Post by Jon Roland.

A political or management system can be characterized by the kind of people it elevates to positions of authority. A number of terms have been proposed by cynics, such as plutocracy, rule by the rich, kleptocracy, rule by thieves, or kakistocracy, rule by the worst. But from this writer’s experience with the most influential legislators, bureaucrats, judges, and corporate executives, the finding is that what attribute is most important to the success of most of them is the ability to sell and make connections with other people. In Greek a salesman is a πωλητής, or poletes. This suggests a word, poletecracy.

In a few cases technical skills help enable someone to rise to power, but most people in high positions are not experts in anything but campaigning and dealmaking. Most are politicians (πολιτικοί) first and foremost. If they acquire any expertise, it is usually after being on a job for a while, not while they are climbing. Their personal assets are favors earned and paid, and being able to have other influential people take their phone calls.
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