Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More On Bureaucrat Incentives

I've blogged before about how, in the absence of a profit motive, the bureaucrat becomes enamored of statistics. Ultimately, in search of statistics which to justify their existence, they destroy the very meaning of whatever it was they were to do in the first place. Thus libraries become entertainment centers, public schools become prisons, and so on and so forth.

It just registered with me that employment, especially that peculiar bit of mid to upper level management is another statistic! These are the 'professional' career-track type of jobs; the sort that industrious people have to work around in order to make things work. Perhaps the best their unfortunate underlings can hope for is that they'll just politely do nothing. However, for the big wigs in the bureaucrat world, this class of employee can be touted. Clearly this department of such and such is doing very important things- look how many professionals are in it's employ. Also, I am sure it is not lost on a single one of this class of people that they serve at the whim of the big wig!

Just to expand a little, lest someone go away thinking this profit motive stuff is a bit selfish- the particular effect of the profit motive I am talking about here is that motivation to sell to the customer exactly what he wants, sometimes improving it, but never, for example, being so uncouth as to promise a man oranges but send him home with apples. Especially among those places governments seem happy to co-opt- libraries, school, museums, and the like- in the absence of any clear buyer we end up with a muddled and brackish product, having less and less meaning to those who once actually patronized these places.

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