Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Big Government or Smart Goverment

It's an expertise problem. Drop the 'big government' distraction for a moment and consider the amount of training and background required to evaluate the technical details in a seemingly simple response plan that BP would be required to file by regulation. The way government run and regulated industries work, there have to be not simply GS employees (civil servants, job for life, hiring favoring social engineering goals as well as on the job performance), but real technical experts in the field who maintain their expertise given a changing industry even if their job is to read reports and sign off on them.

And before we run down the 'lazy gov workers' rabbit trails, how many of you can still do your ninth grade children's algebra assignments? Compare NASA in the days when Marshall had the complete fabrication facilities for a Saturn vs the manage-at-a-distance style now where as much of the thought work, testing and assembly is outsourced to contractors. Once expertise is lost, it is very expensive to get it back and as a result, the average government civil servant becomes expert at the process, knowing which forms have to filed, which signatures have to be obtained, bottom line costs and their own performance bonuses given objectives handed down by political processes, not technical adaptations to changes in the technology or the market.

The problem of the 'big gov' topic is it doesn't actually address the problem of 'smart government', 'trained government' and innovative government. You will never be able to regulate a complex technical industry listening to politicians instead of scientists and engineers when it comes time to make the decisions about technical risks. Physics and chemistry don't recognize the supremacy of money.

Quit playing football with your environment for the sake of bragging rights. That is how the BPs of the world shuck you for gumbo and feed you your own entrails. Demand smarter government instead of the uptown klan.

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