Saturday, August 10, 2013

Big Government


Ever since our government led our country to victory in WW2, we've tended to believe that pretty much any challenge can be similarly overcome. Hey, we got our act together and put a man on the moon, didn't we?

Lately, we seem to be having problems with this approach. Many reasons are offered by our politicians and media. I'm sure you have your favorite. But none deal with the role of motivation throughout all areas of government.

An example of how problems arise when motivation is ignored can be found in our interventions in other countries (particularly in the Middle East and Africa). We don't seem to understand that in many countries democracy is seen as a threat to their power structures, cultures, and social order.

Similarly, we expect our politicians, government agencies and employees to act in our interests when their motivations pull them elsewhere. It's not that they deliberately act against us, but that their culture and motivations concentrate their minds on other objectives.

An example: In the recent trial of Whitey Bulger, and in his biography written by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy, we see the complicity of the FBI acting almost as a co-conspirator in murders and other crimes. The agents involved were not acting alone as rogue agents.  And the in-fighting among various crime fighting bureaucracies is enough to make a taxpayer nauseous.

This is not the first time the FBI has been involved in scandals and egregious incompetence. Think back to J. Edgar Hoover, his secret files, blackmail, and concentration on favorable publicity.  9/11 might not have happened if it were not for the combined negligence of the FBI, CIA, and FAA. The intelligence community seems to be particularly disposed to turf fighting, and politicians try to cope by reallocating 'missions', personnel, and budgets. But other agencies are right in there, ever expanding--watch the TSA. The sheer size of government (the number of agencies, departments, employees) overwhelms attempts at managing for results, especially by politicians whose hearts and minds are concentrated elsewhere.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, "The rich are not like you and me." And neither are the folks working in, and for, government--particularly in DC. Their culture, their role models, their aspirations, the way they socialize are all different. Out in the hinterlands, folks seek reward by producing something that's worth more than it cost, but it's not for them to judge--customers do that. Now, that's a check and balance.

One way to make a major dent in the problems, of which we see only a few examples above, is to change the motivation of our elected representatives--get them to see themselves as working for us. As it is, we can't even get their attention. By now, you know that reform will not come from within; no matter how many emails you send, or who you vote for. And remember Einstein--Insanity: Keep trying the same solutions, expecting a different result.
STRIKE, is now available in paperback. You can obtain it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble (use title and my full name). Or, from me $12.00 post paid.

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