A theory that is not mine but seems to fit reality – or, at least, my picture of reality – very well. Imagine government as a ship. In a democracy, the ship is controlled by the people: in a dictatorship, by the autocrats. But, over time, special interests develop. These special interests are like barnacles. As they attach themselves to the hull of the ship, they make the ship more sluggish, less responsive.What is best for the people in general, is held hostage by the special interests.
So, in the United States, we have the NRA dictating gun policy. We have the delay of the repair of the Bay Bridge for over ten years even though everybody knows the bridge is not safe. We have every special interest known to man, from the Sierra Club to General Motors, holding up the construction of a high speed train between San Francisco and Los Angeles. We have no highway through San Francisco. But in Shanghai, where there has not been much time, under the present government, to have the barnacles build up; there is a great subway system and a great road system. It is easy to get around the entire city. There are high speed trains to other parts of China, a hyper-high speed train to the airport, and, count them, two ring roads (an inner and outer) around the city.