Showing posts with label Bureaucracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bureaucracy. Show all posts

January 3, 2021

It's 9/11 Every Day in The U.S.


For the last 4 weeks now, we've had about 3,000 deaths a day from Coronavirus in the U.S., this number is eerily similar to the number of fatalities in the horrific terrorist attack on this country on 9/11.

Moreover, we have reached over 350,000 dead in less than a year, with the projection by April 1 to be 567,000 dead or another 217,000 gone in just the next 3 months!

Despite numerous pharmaceutical companies coming up with a Covid vaccine, the distribution here is being botched every day. 

In December, we vaccinated less than 1% of the U.S. population with a first dose, despite having been promised that 20 million people would be vaccinated, while another country like Israel has vaccinated 12% of their population.

So while we are experiencing the equivalent in terms of deaths of another 9/11 just about every day now, our government and their partners are pathetically slow in reacting to save lives!

  • The Federal government is punting to the state governments.
  • The State governments are punting to the local governments.
  • And the local governments are not sure what they are doing and there is inconsistency and conflicting, confusing guidelines in the system currently.

Recently, I contacted my local authorities and received a form email back that basically told me they still know virtually nothing:

"We are currently focused on the registration of vaccination sites, the distribution and administration of vaccines in Phase 1, storage and handling, and overall communications, including ensuring patient follow-up and second dose reminders. We expect additional updates on increased vaccine production in early 2021 from our federal partners. As we learn more from the federal government, we will adjust..."

I am appalled to see so many sick people and families and friends affected and people needlessly dying every minute of every day. 

I am wondering why there is not more of an uproar and outrage from the people (even as a new more contagious variant is spreading) or is a 9/11 every day now an acceptable casualty count?

I can virtually guarantee you that if/when this is done, there are going to be how many lawsuits, investigations, and commissions looking into how this got so mishandled and resulted in so much suffering and loss of life. 

(Credit Photo: Pixabay)


Share/Save/Bookmark

December 30, 2020

Destruction Site


If there's a construction site, then there can certainly be a destruction site. 

Most of the time, it seems like more destruction than construction really going on. 

It's amazing how a construction job on one corner can take more than a whole year, when they built the entire U.S. highway system in not such a long time. 

Now-a-days, money just goes down the sinkhole with the littlest jobs taking seemingly forever and the costs spiraling out of control. 

Hello, is anyone out there managing this stuff?  

Oh right, it's all funny money anyway.  

Let's just keep printing some more.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


Share/Save/Bookmark

December 28, 2020

Vaccine: Too Little Too Late


So just about everyone I know now has Covid going all around them. 

Heard from 2  people in the last 2 days, and yet a 3rd person that died miserably from it this past week. 

Aside from almost 120,000 currently hospitalized, including 20,000 in the ICU, this thing is spinning rapidly out of control!

I am now convinced that by the time they get the vaccine out (and it's going awfully slowly so far), it will be too little too late and almost everyone will already have had Covid. 

Incredible how many billions of dollars have been spent on the vaccine research, manufacturing, and now on the distribution, and frankly it will have been another great big wasted boondoggle.

Vaccinate away...despite the valiant efforts by many, it's basically a throwaway for this round of the virus, and it all points to our woeful state of unpreparedness to begin with! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Pixabay)


Share/Save/Bookmark

February 25, 2020

Corruptocrats

I heard this new term that I thought was worth sharing:
Corruptocrats

Refers to corrupt politicians. 

Couldn't believe it's actually in the dictionary. 

Not all of them are, obviously. 

Could it be a whole "political party" too? lol

If only everyone was pure of heart and intention. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal, and note that no disrespect intended to anyone)
Share/Save/Bookmark

November 12, 2019

Spider Man D.C.

This so reminded me of...
Spider Man, Spider Man, Does Whatever A Spider Can.

Veterans Day must be a great day to get your windows washed. 

Or to spin a web of intricate proportions in D.C. politics. 

Either way aside from the windows, what of significance is actually getting resolved in our partisan capital?

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

May 9, 2017

The FBI Chief Goes Kerplunk

Who would've thunk it...the FBI chief goes kerplunk. 

James Comey--only 37% through his tenure as Director--is fired for the (mis)handling of the Hillary Clinton email fiasco. 

But Hillary never even saw justice.  

The politics in Washington is forever an ironic cliffhanger. 

The democrats who were supposedly aggrieved by Comey in the election are now screaming foul for his dismissal

And the republicans who supposedly benefited by Comey closing and opening of the case against Clinton are signing praises for his release.

Nothing is ever as it seems. 

Aliens could be falling from the sky and it would still be a political event. 

Washington conspiracy and counter-conspiracy theories...but the work of the people does it ever get done?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy  Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 26, 2017

BIG Difference Between Private and Public Sectors

So I thought this was very telling today about the difference between the public and private sectors...

I was teaching a class and gave the students a challenging scenario and problem and asked how they would solve it.

The class was a mix of leaders and managers from the public and private sectors--this time weighted mostly on the commercial side. 

Typically, the students from the government usually provide answers in terms of lengthy analysis processes, negotiations, vetting and getting buy-in and approvals through many layers of bureaucracy and red tape, as well as getting people to understand the what's in it for me (WIIFM) value proposition.

However, this time, one the students from the private sector said bluntly, the following:


We can either do it the easy way or the hard way!

So I asked, "What do you mean the easy and hard ways?"

And he answered:


The easy way is that we can try at first to appeal to people, but if that doesn't work then the hard way is we just do what needs get done.

Again with great interest and curiosity, I inquire, "And how do you that?"

This time someone else answers, and says:


We do "rip and replace"--we pull up the truck in the middle of the night and we rip out the things we don't like and replace it with what we do, period.

Then I ask innocently again, "So what happens the next morning?"

And the 2nd person answers again, and says:


Who cares, the job is done!

This reminded me a little of the old images of the mob gangster pulling up in the shadows of the night to someone's door that wasn't cooperating and applying the baseball bat to the knees!

Yes, it's a very different and extreme way of getting what you want and when you want it, done. 

Quite a BIG difference between the private and public sector approach to getting thing done!

One one hand, we have the speed and execution of the marketplace versus the more lengthly thoughtfulness and inherent compromises of government and politics. 

What's it gonna be--some bureaucracy, seemingly endless red tape, and horse-trading or the good ol' baseball bat to the knees? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

November 24, 2016

Appreciating Employees @ Holiday Time

So before the holidays, like Thanksgiving, many nice organizations try to do a little something for their employees and let them go home a little early.

It’s a small something that let’s people know they are appreciated, and on top of it, they get to “beat the traffic.”

I heard from someone that one organization was stopping this long time practice, saying that only the very head(s) of the chain of command, could do this for the people…but they didn’t.

Sort of “penny wise and dollar foolish” to take away that little spot-on giving to one’s staff. 

It’s goodwill, appreciation, and kindness that is especially appropriate before the holidays for hardworking and good people. 

One manager told me how their people especially looked forward to this little gesture, and often came to asking about it with such joy.

So the manager told me that they just said before holiday times, “I’m not looking what time you leave today.”

To me that sounded like genuine leadership, where people are not just treated as “human resources,” but instead “human capital”—something to invest in and not just something to use `willy nilly. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

September 27, 2016

Left or Right?

This sign from yesterday reminded me of the debates last night. 

Arguments, attacks, and counterpunchs between the candidates (and the parties they represent).

But in the end, the sign is pointing us in the wrong direction anyway. 

While we keep hitting each other up for getting and maintaining the awesome scepter of American power, our competitors on the international stage are moving on with their personal and national agendas, and we are in seemingly perpetual gridlock. 

The big problems that we face are not going away, and declaring who is the winner of the showtime debates, daily rallies, and witty sound bites, may feel good from the standpoint of whether our candidate is winning or not, but frankly is not solving any of our problems either.

A good fight is spectacular to watch, but we can be our own worst enemies as we are lost in shallow policy and rhetoric debates amidst leadership confusion, indecision, and (un)popularity contests, and even the winner may take home nothing but the rights to hoist another upside down sign.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 23, 2016

Big Government Turnaround

So I took this photo of a handout being distributed at a major local university here in Washington, DC.

Sort of ironic for this sign that says:
"Big Government Sucks"

...to be handed out in the capital of the United States of America!

It would make sense that this negative notion of big government is connected to the low approval ratings of Congress (17%) and government services (64.4) provided.

People are seeing and sensing that big government is bad government when it is:

- Dictatorial, corrupt, and discriminatory. 

- Mired in fraud, waste, abuse, and coverups. 

- Self-serving for the politicians that are elected to serve the people. 

- When it is bureaucratic and ineffective. 

- When it is confused and without vision or plan for the country. 

- When it's indecisive, makes bad decisions, or can't successfully execute short- and long-term on it's mission. 

- When it is lacking in basic values of democracy, freedom, and human rights for all. 

At the same time, big government can be great government, when it is a beacon of light for its citizens and for the nations of the earth. 

- When it protects us from dictators, demagogues, terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, criminals, and all sorts of disasters.

- When it holds strong and cutting-edge the economy, prosperity, innovation, education, and competitive advantage of the nation. 

- When it safeguards and keeps sustainable the environment for future generations. 

- When it preserves and fortifies freedom, human rights, social equity, equality, and justice. 

- When it looks after the needy and less fortunate.

- When it lead the world in exploration, discovery, partnerships, and ultimately doing good for the people, the planet, and our future. 

Big government sucks when it goes wrong and then they start handing out these sad signs on our nation's premier college campuses. 

This is a big problem to turnaround?  

But with smart, committed, and moral leadership, it can be done! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 10, 2016

Superman Leadership

This guy's socks were very cool.

If you can say that socks make the man then perhaps this is it.

Superman that is!

No special shirt, underwear, or cape required--the socks communicate it all. 

For the man of steel or one in the making (if worn at workout time).  

Then again, I was trying to imagine someone actually having the guts or nuttiness to wear these to the office.  

If they would, it probably be with the following in mind: 

I can do anything helpful to get the job done--

1) Rolling out cutting-edge systems and business process improvements faster than a speeding bullet

2) Creating positive change more powerful than a locomotive

3) Able to leap with integrity over organizational obstacles, red tape, and naysayers in a single bound

It's a change consultant. It's a corner office bureaucrat.  It's a "superleader!"

Up up and away...it can be done (even without the socks). ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

May 31, 2016

Broken Mirror Reflections D.C.

So I took this photo of a smashed mirror hanging out of a corner trash can in downtown D.C.

Half is reflecting the garbage in the can and half is reflecting the buildings and trees outside. 

Such a metaphor for the society we live in these days. 

Where we are broken, and society is broken, and certainly lots of government is broken. 

And the shards of glass reflect on the both the garbage of what has piled up inside us and the system, but also the possibilities on the outside for development, growth, and change. 

The broken mirror with the sharp glass shards is dangerous, but perhaps by seeing the mess we are in, we can finally step up and do something to fix it. 

No more circling the wagons, infighting or deflecting from the issues; no more blaming the past or demonizing the opposition; no more excuses for stagnation, incompetence, or impotence; no more whitewashing and red tape; no more firefighting, shoddy quick fixes or waiting for another break/fix; no more whirlwind spin around the dazed and confused; no more sugar-coating, backpedaling, or dressing up or down the facts; no more playing politics or deceiving ourselves and others--is that even possible any longer?

Instead, we change to a model of acknowledging that which is broken and teaming together to fix it--doing something positive, and constructive for ourselves and the world--oh, fix it Dear Henry, please fix it.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

March 5, 2016

The Voter Psychology Behind A Trump

Over and over again the left AND the right try to get a knockout on Donald Trump. 

But what happens?

He's not knocked out.

He's not even knocked down.

To the contrary, he is still standing and seems to become stronger!

What is going on with this phenomenon?

Some would like to call it perhaps a psychosis of the masses

Other like to belittle those that like him by dissing their intellectual status and calling them stupid

Many even seem to go to every extreme to to make him out as crazy, fascist, bigoted, hateful, and a con man

Yet, for the most part it's doesn't seem to be working--people are still flocking to him

It's like the more they try to gang up on him, torment him, bash him, and zing him--and rather than buckle, he is still there standing and remains strong--perhaps, the more "proof" it is for people that he can and will stand up for America!

With dismal ratings for the President, Congress, and government overall, the outsider, the business man, the billionaire, the dealmaker, the one who isn't afraid to speak his mind and to say to the people the non-politically correct thing is coming across refreshing to many who are seeking change from the the last 7 years, 15 years, or further. 

With many seeing the current politics of the U.S. as leading from behind, appeasement, weak, divisive, and disengaged, it is not surprising to see bands across America yearning for something more. 

Is Donald Trump strong and anti-establishment or truly bad and dangerous?

This is for America to seek the truth on and wisely decide. 

What's riding on this?

Whether Trump OR another candidate to be determined --(someone/anyone) -- can potentially get things positively and constructively done in our large and complex political machine that has in many ways become increasingly stymied by bureaucracy, obstructionism, defeatism, game-playing, selfishness, pork barrel politics, (corruption,) sequestration, government closures, and political fighting across the aisle/behind the aisle/and in the aisle.

Let's hope for America and the world's sake the voters get it right.

But keep bashing Trump and you are keeping his message of superior strength and hope very much alive. ;-)

(Note: This is not an endorsement for any candidate or political party)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

December 19, 2015

Politics Has Us Lost

So we've become a nation that only seems to be moving, but yet is heading nowhere fast.  

Shock and awe and "sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Think about it!

Where are we going?

- Are we growing, innovating, leading. 

- Are we spreading our ideals of freedom, human rights, and democracy.

- Are we a nation the defends those in need and is a refuge for those under duress.

- Are we a country that is safe and secure from threats external and internal. 

- Are we united and heading in a clear direction with a strategy and making incremental steps towards our goals.

- Where are we on critical programs for the future from genuinely protecting our environment with binding agreements to investments in our space program to discover, travel, and build our destiny beyond just here. 

- Do we have the love and respect of our friends and the fear of those that are against our way of life.

- Are the decisions that are being made bringing together those from across the political aisle and are they particularly fruitful in terms of making a real difference in people's lives or in our future.

- Why is the system so broken and we don't even hear any real ideas anymore about how to fix it.

- Why do we hear about Obamacare, trade deals, deals with Iran, deals over global warming, deals over Syria, budget deals, yet don't see or feel any tangible differences in our lives--or feel any passion from those making the decisions.

- Where is the grand vision to really put a man on Mars, solve poverty, or cure cancer.

- Why is Russia grabbing what they want with Crimea, planning a permanent station on the moon, and creating air and naval bases in Syria and we can't even train some rebels to fight.

- Why are we afraid to call radical Islamic terrorism what it is and to fight them over there before they come over here.

- Why do we bounce back and forth unable to overcome basic problems like with our flailing education system first centralizing federally with "No Child Left Behind" and then decentralizing to the States with "Every Student Succeeds."

- Why do we reign in the budget one year with Sequestration only to expand the budget with unpaid tax cuts the next.

- Why do we call for a strong military and then cut their budget and undercut their mandate to get their job done. 

- Why do we stress the importance of cybersecurity, but then lose the security clearances and personnel information of the entire federal, intelligence, and military workforce.

- Why do we let in terrorists and criminals to our country and are then surprised when they commit violent acts against our people. 

- Why do we hurt allies and embrace enemies.

- Why do we stymie debate and opposition disrespecting others, calling them horrible names, threatening them, and working to destroy them instead of embracing healthy debate and compromise. 

- Why do we claim transparency, but then hide behind obscurity. 

This could be the list that never ends, which goes on and on my friends, some rationale people started asking common sense questions, not knowing how broken this system was, and they'll just keep questioning it forever just because...it makes no sense. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 16, 2015

Victorian Penny Car



I took these photos in Classic Motors of Washington, D.C. 

This car is made of Victorian Pennies from the U.K. 

The pennies are special (1837-1901) with an intricate design of British Queen Victoria. 

This car is one of only 9 in the entire world. 

The sign in the back window says, "This vehicle is not for sale."

It's got to be some job to get all those old pennies on this car. 

I remember when we were kids my sister had this long green plastic container for collecting pennies.  

Pennies already back in those days were worthless, and it was just a hobby to throw them in and see how many we could collect. 

After some years, the thing was so heavy, I could use it for my exercise routine.

So why do we still make stupid pennies...for classic collector vehicles?  

Old habits die hard, and the government is a big bureaucratic ship that doesn't turn on a penny or dime or whatever--I think that's the real reason we still do so many nonsensical things. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 4, 2015

Losing Deadly Control

So today we hear that there was a horrible mistake in which at least 52 sites (in 18 states here and 3 other countries) were inadvertently sent LIVE anthrax!!!

This after a prior incident in December where ebola had been mishandled and a technician potentially exposed. 

Again last August, they announced that a lab had accidentally cross-contaminated benign bird flu virus with a deadly strain of it. 

And there are at least five other major mishaps just since 2009 including more with anthrax and bird flu as well as with Brucella and botulism--these involved everything from using improper sterilization and handling techniques to inadvertent shipments of deadly live germs. 

Also in July, the CDC discovered six vials of LIVE smallpox in an unused storage room at the NIH.

This is reminiscent of similar gaffes by the military with an inadvertent shipment in 2007 by the Air Force of six nuclear warheads while the crew was unaware that they were even carrying it.

And here we go again (a doozy this time), information was disclosed in 2013 that we nearly nuked ourselves (specifically North Carolina) with 2 hydrogen bombs (260 times more powerful than that exploded on Hiroshima) in 1961. 

Yes, mistakes happen, but for weapons of mass destructions that we are talking about here, there are layers of safeguards that are supposed to be strictly in place. 

After each incident, it seems that some official acknowledges the mistakes made, says sorry, and claims things are going to be cleaned up now. 

But if the same or similar mistakes are made over and over again, then what are we really to believe, especially when millions of lives are at stake?

We have too much faith in the large bureaucratic system called government that despite how well it could be run, very often it isn't and is prone to large and dangerous errors and miscalculations.

With all due respect for our experts in these areas, we need to spend a lot more time and effort to ensure the safety of our most dangerous stockpiles--be it of nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological origin. 

We can't afford any more mistakes--or the next one could be more than just a simple (not) embarrassment.

What good is all the preparation to win against our enemies, if we are our own worst enemy or we have meet the enemy and it is us! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 16, 2015

Where Did I Put That Action Memo?

Lots of people desks seem to look like this.

(Not me though...compulsive neat freak and learned from IBM's "clean desk policy" early on in my career.)


In analyzing our fight against Islamic jihadists and terrorists, Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal writes: 


"In all the photos published of al Qaeda, Islamic State or any other terror groups, have you ever seen them sitting at desks?"


Henninger points out the root of "Bureaucracy" is the French word "Bureau," which mean desk.


Hence, we in the West are stuck behind our desks, while the terrorists are actively working to destroy our freedom and way of life--smashing down doors and wielding AK47s and suicide vests!


We've got to stop hiding behind our piled-high desks, analysis-paralysis position papers, endless meetings, and political bickering, and actually do something concrete, meaningful, and strong--to not only deter, but destroy the enemy!


Fear of making a decision or nonsense claims that your still searching for that action memo is something that should get you uprooted from your messy desk with a boot up your a*s!


Wake up, wake up, wake up--enough ho hum, we need some leadership that is bold, patriotic, and heroic to protect what we value so dear.


Don't you think it's time to win this war for real?


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Shawn de Raaf)

Share/Save/Bookmark

June 11, 2014

Govgeddon Is Not An Option

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about how the Federal government is falling to attract young people. 

"Employees under the age of 30 hit an eight-year low of 7% in 2013...[while back in 1975, more than 20% of the federal workforce was under 30."

Conversely, 45% of the federal workforce is older than 50.

Moreover by September 2016, a quarter of the all federal employees will be eligible to retire--that's the retirement wave we've been hearing about for years, but never seems to really come (because of the economy). 

Without "a pipeline of young talent, the government risks falling behind in an increasingly digital world."

It's not the older people can't learn the technology, but rather they aren't digital natives as those born in the later part of the 20th century.

To see just a glimpse of the digital divide, you need to go no further than when many of these folks snicker at us for even just sending emails--something so uncouth to the younger crowd.

With years of salary freezes, no awards, benefit cuts especially for new hires, and shutdowns, the federal government which used to be "an employee of choice," is "now an employee of last resort."

Further, "the reputation for bureaucracy and hierarchy is driving away many workers." People want to be productive and get things done, not spin their wheels. 

Yet, the government offers so many exciting jobs performing critical missions in everything from national security, diplomacy, law enforcement, and so much more, it is ironic that we cannot attract young people, who are often the most idealist. 

Diversity in the federal workforce means that people under 30 are not a rarity!

Everyone--no matter what age, sex, race, religion, and so on--provides an important contribution, so that the sum of the parts is greater than whole. 

We need people to clearly feel the honor in public service, to see the importance of the missions performed, and to be treated like valued workers and not political pawns in partisan showdowns and Washington shutdowns. 

Let's actively recruit with an attractive smorgasbord of enhanced salary and benefits, especially in critical fields like cyber security, information technology, biotechnology, aerospace engineering, and more.

It's time for the federal government to become attractive for young (and older) workers again, and not apologetic for providing important jobs in service of the nation. 

The federal government needs to compete for the best and brightest and not resign itself to second-tier, ever. 

Our young people are an important pipeline for fresh ideas and cutting-edge skills, and we need them to prevent a govgeddon where we can't perform or compete with the skills and diversity of workforce that we must have. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 5, 2014

Archaic Federal Hiring Practices

So the Federal government has some archaic hiring practices.

Some common critiques of the system:

- While gone are the dreaded KSAs (knowledge, Skills, and ability essays), in it's place are what many could consider meaningless multiple choice questions that enable applicants to game the system and answer what they think or know is the right answer just to get the highest points. 

- Also, there is always the potential (however infrequently) that there is a favorite candidate of someone or someone who knows someone, but knowing doesn't necessarily mean best qualified, but rather well-networked or connected. 

To be fair, there are protections in the hiring system to include an oath of truthfulness on the application as well as security clearances which are used to help ensure accuracy. Additionally, there are the Merit System Principles that prohibit favoritism and nepotism of any sort.

However, when it comes to hiring, what you can't really do in the government is just plain and simple see and recognize talent and bring someone on board. 

Anyway, this came to mind today, when we ran again into this amazing lady at Starbucks. She works there right out of college. 

She's a barista and has the most amazing customer service skills I've seen in 25 years of professional experience. 

She remembers us every time we come in and recalls what we talked about on our last visit. She regularly asks about things like my kids talking their SATs, visiting colleges, and more. 

But she doesn't just do this with me, but with all her customers.  

She has a big welcoming hello, and smile for all of them, and doesn't just take their orders, but engages them as human beings. 

I tell you this young lady would be terrific as a customer service representative in my IT shop or any other...and if I were in the private sector or had my own company, yes, I'd conduct a more thorough interview and background on her, but then I'd probably shake hands on the spot and offer her a job. 

I can see her interacting with my customers, capturing their requirements, problem-solving, as well as routine troubleshooting through engagement with the customer and the subject matter experts.  

Why?

Because she is a natural with people and intuitively understands how to work with them, engage, and establish trust and good service ethos. 

However, if she applied on USAJOBS in the current system of hiring, I think she'd never make "the cert" (the list of qualified applicants that gets referred to the hiring manager), because she's currently working in a coffee shop. 

Something is wrong that we can't easily bring in young or old, talented people from the private sector or out of school, and grow them into federal service, even if they don't have the perfect checklist answers. 

Unfortunately, this is a problem in many bureaucratic-driven organizations, where if it's not checklist-driven, then it's usually not at all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 2, 2013

Virtual Government--Yes or Nonsense

The Atlantic (2 June 2013) asks why do we even need a government these days--why not just have a virtual one--where you just "buy" the government you want, the size, the capabilities, and you tailor it for your needs?

The author sees government as menu-driven, like a videogame, by a "rotating dial," where you choose whatever government suites you best. 


In this world of virtual government, people are seen turning to private sector alternatives to get capabilities, customer service, and prices that are better than the government's--in some cases, this may actually work, like with private insurance. 


However, this article goes beyond this notion to where government is not tied to the physical boundaries of the real world, but rather to virtual jurisdictions, citizenship, and even values held or abrogated. 


While I agree that raising the bar on government is a good thing--expect more for less--and partnering with the private sector can make government more efficient, the idea of wholesale shopping government around is quite ludicrous: 



- Will we hire mercenaries instead of having an armed forces?

- Will we rely solely on CEOs to conduct our diplomacy?


- Will justice be doled out by vigilantes? 


- Will private inspectors alone regulate food, drug, and the financial system?


While compared to an iPad wheel for making service selections, Government is not the same as a library of songs or movies that one scrolls through to pick and choose what one likes and dislikes. 


Like the old joke about the difference between family and friends...you can choose your friends, but you can't just choose your family!


While government can provide services virtually, it cannot be a government entirely sliced up by choice--where you opt-in for what you like and opt-out for what you don't--if that were the case, we would all selfishly take and never contribute to the greater good. 


For example, "Hey, I like social entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, but I don't particularly care for contributing to space exploration or research and development for certain diseases that I may not be genetically predisposed to."


There is a civic commons where we must share--the prime example is a fire department. If I choose not to contribute, then the fire department still has to come to put out the fire or else it can spread to others. 


In the end, we are not just a collective of individuals, but a nation bound together by core values and beliefs, and shared interests and investments in the future--and where by sharing the risks and burdens, we fall or rise together.  


Like anything that you are seriously apart of--family, religion, organizations, and work--we take the good and work on the bad, rather than just immaturely throwing it all or in innumerable parts away. 


Yes, government should only do functions that are inherently governmental, and we should avail ourselves of all the talent and expertise in the private sector for the rest, but no, we should not wholly think that we can replace government with loose and shifting ties on the Internet and purely profit-driven private sector players. 


If Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda serving as modern virtual governments are the best examples of what can be accomplished, then we should all be running (not walking) to good 'ol Democracy of the U.S. of A.


Virtual government as a way to provision services as well as competition and augmentation by the private sector is great, but becoming a stateless state will not solve the large and complex problems we must face, not alone, but together.


Even though bureaucratic waste and abuse is bad, the system of debate, negotiation, checks and balances, basic human rights, and voting is good, and we should not just throw out the precious baby with the dirty bathwater. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)



Share/Save/Bookmark