market vs. government - humanist @ roua.org :

market vs. government

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

One guy, Newt Gingrich, said, at an event:

Now there’s a hotel in California under injunction by a California state judge for trying to fire thirteen people with false documents, on the grounds that false documents is not a firing offense in California. One of them is a person who is the 43rd person to have the same social security number. Take the difference in efficiency and effectiveness between your automatic teller machine card, which you trust enough to open up your bank account across international borders, and the fact that the federal government couldn’t figure out not just that number 2, 3, 4 and 5 were – they haven’t figured out that number 43 exists. Which is why I’ve said that when we inevitably go to a worker identity card with biometrics and probably a thumbprint and retinal scan, that it has to be outsourced to Visa, MasterCard or American Express. There is no possibility that the federal bureaucracy could do this.

A long quote, right, but it's worth, because it displays one of the most important fallacies the "market" guys are waving around: government is inefficient therefore put that activity into private hands. How did he figure it out that there is no possibility that the federal bureaucracy could do this? He talks about an example of inefficiency, which means either there's a glitch in the government's recording of social security numbers, or a corrupted govt. official who "maintains" the glitch. Either case, the dry logical consequence is to track the glitch and fix it, but in Gingrich's and other marketeers faulty logic, you have to outsource it to Visa, UPS, etc.

The fundamental issue these guys will never grasp (because most of the time is in their own interest, or they didn't manage to read those few necessary books) is that the govt. officer is responsible to you, as a citizen taxpayer, by definition, while any private company employee is only responsible to his boss; and his boss cares only about his pocket: if it doesn't fit his profit calculations, he can let you die without blinking.

The fact that some governments are inefficient only calls to monitor them better and to check if the government's employees are paid the equivalent of what the market suggests it's the best price. If this second condition is not achieved, your govt. officer will try to do something else to compensate for that: will get corrupt. Moreover, a government's job, by definition, is far more intricate than a private company specializing in a certain activity. In this case, the US govt. has to manage the needs of about 350.000.000 people to the aim of keeping everybody happy. No private company can do that, because no private company will ever take the job of keeping everybody happy: happiness is not profit, you know.

So my conclusion after this reading is: if you feel your government is inefficient, modify it; if you feel it's hard to modify then, actually, it's you who are inefficient in tuning your government to your own (community) needs. Stop suggesting moronic solutions like whining or outsourcing. Stop mixing cattle and fruits: government and private companies.

P.S. A friend of mine is a Gymnasium professor of English, she's paid by the State for a month of teaching exactly what two guys living in the same area take in 3 days for painting the walls of 25msq in an apartment. That's because somebody in Romania thinks like Mr. Gingrich: why not outsource the English teaching to VISA? I invite Mr. Gingrich to dress himself in a VISA suit and come teach in my friend's stead for the same money, hopefully he'll understand finally what he's taking about. And hopefully he'll grasp what a tragedy his kind of "model" was, is and will be for 95% of the population on this globe.

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