In September 2013 Germany will elect their new parliament, the Bundestag. On this occasion, the German Psychological Association (BDP) dedicated the current issue of their member's magazine report psychologie (7/8, 2013) to the question of political apathy. Unfortunately all articles aimed at how to motivate eligible voters to actively participate in politics.

The one question that ensues from the fact of political apathy was painfully missing:

All past and present political systems seem to suffer from avarice and power abuse on the part of the governing, and resignation and stupid egoism on the part of the governed. Greed and unselfishness are of course personality traits that a political system cannot change. But social circumstances promote or inhibit the activation of personality traits. Therefore, the most important question is:
Is there psychological research into which (aspects of a) political system would increase an active concern for the greater good?


closed as too broad by Christian Hummeluhr, AliceD, user7759, Krysta, Artem Kaznatcheev May 12 '15 at 16:10

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Re: close because primarily opinion based. How is a request for psychological research opinion based? $\endgroup$ – user3116 Aug 18 '13 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ Not a close vote from me, but I wonder what are some examples of "aspects of a political system" that you had in mind. For example, there are formal and informal aspects of the political system. And are you more concerned with the governing or the governed? Are you talking about individual level effects or society-level effects? What kind of psychological evidence did you have in mind as opposed to argument that would be more suited on say politics.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – Jeromy Anglim Aug 18 '13 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ A possible research 'road block' for this kind of study is the bias that may creep into any academic article - it would be interesting to find any unbiased sources. Also, how could that bias be defined? Incidently, Australia will also be going to the polls next month. $\endgroup$ – user3554 Aug 19 '13 at 10:08
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    $\begingroup$ Your comment that "I am concerned with how to discourage avarice and selfish greed" suggests to me that you may be looking for policy interventions against corruption, or for incentivizing prosocial behavior, or maybe both, but this was not clear (to me) from the question itself as it is written, or from any previous comment. $\endgroup$ – Christian Hummeluhr Mar 23 '15 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ If I could cast a non-binding vote then I would vote that this question is too broad. The whole fields of moral and political philosophy have struggled with this question for over 2 millennia; how do you define "the greater good", how do you define "political system", are all highly non-trivial questions. However, some variant of this question would be very interesting, if you were a bit more precise on your parameters. $\endgroup$ – Artem Kaznatcheev Apr 10 '15 at 16:29