Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Working for the government…

[HT Kelly McNulty Valenzuela]


  1. Unrealistic.

    Private or open plan offices - never cubicles.

  2. I'm a crown official and also a small govt, free market classical liberal (hence my reading and enjoyment of your libertarian blog) and I can tell you that your picture is a worthless caricature and a total joke. Oh, and I do subscribe to public choice theory but always remind people that it can't be applied too cynically - it's main benefit is to highlight the fallacy of a public interest theory of state.

  3. Frankly, I wish it were true. While some bureaucrats are fine people doing decent work (truly, some of my best friends are bureaucrats), I'd much rather most of them slept all day rather than waking up to do us over!

  4. Me again, that's a fair point and there is indeed a lot of cringeworthy political correctness within the bureaucracy but I've never found that these caricatures are useful because most of the officials with whom I work do put in a lot of effort. Admittedly, I've worked in local government too and I do think the quality of planners and analysts are worse there than central govt. Two main issues for me are the 1) collectivism (in terms of thinking about races, groups etc, thereby ignoring that preferences are subjective and that only individuals act), and 2) the frequent failure to admit that knowledge is dispersed and too often unaccessable to the state. Cheers.

  5. Hi You Again: Fair points both.

    Tell me, since you'd likely be in the target market for such a thing, what you'd think of such a series as described below being held here in Wellington?

    "Last year the Ayn Rand Center began a series of briefings for staffers in the US House of Representatives, with the objective of introducing Ayn Rand’s ideas to these young staffers, and learning if the staffers were interested in learning about the fundamental ideas underlying government policy. ARC then held ten monthly briefings, which began in February and averaged 38 staffers at each briefing. The briefings were so encouraging that this year we are expanding the program to two briefings per month—one for the U.S. House, and one for the U.S. Senate."

    Semi -serious question: How many do you think there might be in Wellington?!

  6. If only this were accurate. They'd be a lot less damaging for the rest of us.

    @ anonymous crown official: In my experience there is a portion of you that do productive useful work, and perhaps you're one of them. But a greater number *think* they're doing productive work, but are actually either shackling the rest of us or - or supporting a system that sends pieces of paper back and forth between bureaucrats and achieves nothing productive. Busy they may be, productive they are not.

    To be fair you see the same thing in private companies too, especially big corporates or where head office tries to manage from a distance - but not to the degree you see in the public sector.

    The reason is not necessarily the quality of the staff, but that a private company can only get away with this behaviour for so long. Survival in business ultimately depends on limiting and marginalising the bureaucratic element. By contrast, in the public sector, it's often productive work that is marginalised.


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