n. The tendency for bureaucracies and organizations to accumulate new powers, rules, and similar elements of control, while also resisting the removal of existing elements of control.
The EU has adopted the ratchet principle in which it is virtually impossible to reverse the centralisation of power.
Mr Cameron also talks about undoing the acquis communautaire — the ratchet principle confirmed in the Maastricht Treaty — which commits EU nations to all previous and future centralising measures, thus ruling out the repatriation of national powers he says he seeks.
The use of current performance as a partial basis for setting future targets is an almost universal feature of economic planning. This "ratchet principle," as it is sometimes called, creates a dynamic incentive problem for the enterprise.