The "warming glow" of bureaucracy
I was appalled to hear the results of the study by Waikato University's Professor John Gibson which confirmed speculation that those working in the government bureaucracy are paid on average twenty percent more than those working for private industry, and for the most part are happier -- happier, he says, because of the "warm glow" they garner from their "public service," ie., "from a belief that their work is useful to society..."
This is appalling. Their work doesn't serve the public -- with few exceptions their job descriptions involve coming to work every morning to devise ways of getting the hell in the way of the public. Their work isn't useful to society; it's destructive of everything that is useful. This is the reason it
takes months of being pestered by pricks with clipboards to shift a kitchen window, that it's nigh-on illegal to criticise the ruling party, and that Equatorial Guinea has a higher per-capita income than we do.
It's not just that bureaucrats are parasitical on private industry, from whom the money is extracted to pay their inflated wages (wages that are bidding away good people from genuinely productive work), but in everything they do they're they're positively destructive of productivity and innovation -- putting their intelligence and skills to work every day to obstruct productive people going about their private business. This is the only tangible product of every "public servants'" day.
Thank goodness, at least, that bureaucrats don't work long hours. If that keeps them happy, then more power to them. But if there's a genuinely "warm glow" to be felt in "public service," then as Jeff Scialabba points out, it's the warm glow of self-immolation.
Frankly, the only "warm glow" that I'd like them to feel is the heat that would come from the huge conflagration all their paperwork and regulations would make if it was set to the torch, as it should be. Urgently.
UPDATE: Paul Walker summarises the research and asks the question, "Why are government salaries so high? I'm sure its got little to do with productivity." As you'd expect, he also has a few answers.