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Poli tics is a messy and “least worst” sort of activity, but it is increasingly judged against the exacting standards set by modern consumerism. When making decisions through markets, individuals choose what suits them, given their private budget constraints. Politics, by contrast, is irreducibly collective and complex, with constraints imposed from outside. It is seldom an experience of “self-actualisation,” or of getting what you want. If you don’t like something in a shop, you go elsewhere (“exit”), but in politics the only way to get something is to make your views known (“voice”), which carries higher costs and may still…

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