Governments, and still more so individual ministers within them, are not only relatively short-lived (an international ministerial conference held at two-year intervals usually results in only about 30% of the ministers present at the last one also being present at the next) but are also necessarily too preoccupied with the problems of today, or at the very best of tomorrow, to have much capability in the realm of very long term thinking. Senior officials for their part are too busy serving ministers and carrying on the day-to-day business of government. In fact it is quite idle and quite unreasonable to expect that governments will initiate the process of definition of the functions or of extensive reform of existing intergovernmental institutions which they support. They have neither the time at a high enough level for such a complex task, nor the inclination, nor the detachment necessary for so immensely complicated and controversial a labour.
One of the most difficult problems for democracies is to reconcile the national need for big, long-term investment projects with the objections of those who have to live near them. As technology marches forward, the dilemma of where to put highways, industrial plants, nuclear power stations, airports and the like becomes more and more difficult, because present images of leadership are centred on satisfying the immediate needs of as many people as possible. Degenerate democracy, as this governing philosophy could be named, is a perverted form of the concept that the creativity of all the people is relevant in the governing process. The right to representation without the principle of accountability to the world, results in government that is representative only of individual wants.