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Their insulation from the impact of their policies — along with the many public officials who are insulated — creates a ‘two-tier’ country. Skin-In-The-Game, a concept most effectively articulated by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (one of the few people who predicted the 2008 financial crisis), was once a staple of leadership. As much as ancient rulers are derided as living lives of opulence amid brutal suffering around them, they also regularly paid the price for their policies. Kings would often lead their people into war at the head of their armies, meaning they could be killed if they ordered an ill-advised attack, or would perish if their forces were defeated and their territory seized. The most successful institutions often try to replicate the concept in the modern era, with many companies providing performance incentives, and skilled leaders recognizing that they should forgo their bonuses and benefits when their employees and companies are struggling. Unfortunately, that idea of skin-in-the-game doesn’t seem to exist in our political system.

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