Thursday, 7 August 2008

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.

  • More on the story here and here, and audio here from John Gibson on Radio NZ this morning.

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.


  1. We need to destroy the mindset that says it's ok for bureaucrats to meddle in our private lives, the mindset that meekly accepts their "right" to impose more and more rules and regulations on what were once (relatively) free citizens.
    So, to the warmth of that burning paperwork I'd add the warmth of a few of the bastards burning with it. As an example to those who feel the urge to interfere in the lives of others.

  2. Since coming to power in 1999, Helen Clark has - to paraphrase the American Declaration of Independence - erected a multitude of new offices (public servant numbers up 40%), and sent forth swarms of officers to harrass the private sector and eat out its substance, in order to fund this army of useless parasites.

  3. Waikato University staff member - bureaucrats - RNZ.

    A public servant discussing public servants with public servants.

    Objectivism, anyone?

  4. "We need to destroy the mindset that says it's ok for bureaucrats to meddle in our private lives, "

    So very true KG but how do we destroy that mindset? That mindset seems to be growing in this country rather than reducing, witness the outcry about Nationals tax cuts "But what are they going to cut?"New laws and regulations by the day, and where's the outcry?

    Those who beleive in liberty don't seem to be having much success in getting the word out.

    Big nanny state government seems to be what NZ'ers want, because they can't imagine (or are maybe scared of) any alternative.

  5. I don't know what the answer is to that, SM.
    And it's not just Enzedders, is it? Australians have become increasingly dependent on the State and more tolerant of bureaucrats interfering in their lives, as well.
    Same for Americans and Brits, which leads me to think that the leftist indoctrination centres--aka schools--have done their job well.
    I'm really struck by the reaction of young people when I say something like "it's none of the government's damn business"..
    total incomprehension.
    They simply can't conceive of a world where something isn't Nanny's business. And oddly, they're often the ones with a contempt for authority.
    Frightening. And very disheartening.

  6. Aye, but all is not lost KG. At least the former Soviet bloc is on their way to recovery. Remember, it is not the freedom of a country that is most important, but the rate at which it is "freeing" up. While the pioneers of liberalism, the english world, are heading toward authotarianism, Arabia, Eastern Europe, and Asia are making progress.


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