Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Blood-letting is not medicine

Yes, so basically I have been wondering what lies behind the strange budget-cutting decisions which are going on at the moment. For example my organisation - which ceases to be this week - generated roughly five pounds of revenue for every pound spent on it. The main way it did this was negotiating purchase deals, and providing centralised advice to increase efficiency of spend and deployment (we had no statutory power to enforce any of this, it was just cost effective to participate). Anyway - boring to those not involved, but basically a machine to turn pounds into fivers.

Could it have been improved? Hell yes. With some tinkering it could have been made into a machine to turn pounds into tenners, no bother. The achievements were off-set by some terrible decisions and wasteful activities. It needed reform.

However abolishing it literally can not save money. It's got to be a net loss. It's just stopping putting pound coins into the replicator. My particular job - providing advice to the SoS and other Ministers on technical issues - is hard to quantify in terms of revenue. It's hard to quantify what benefit I brought. However, I was pretty inexpensive for what I did. I think I was a bargain.

For a long time I wondered whether this destruction of revenue (and un-costable benefit) was deliberate sabotage, or ignorance. Of course the two are not clearly distinct. To make important decisions in ignorance is a kind of chaotic sabotage. And a second question is, what would the motive for such sabotage be? And motive and belief are hard to define - people are layered, and may hold a particular motive in their conscious mind, while other motives are real but unexamined. People may at one level believe that destruction will clear the ground for growth, and at another level, may be acting from unexamined anger (or whatever).

A third explanation, which in all this pondering I hadn't considered strongly enough, is that the Government has a model which says that what stimulates private business is good (an arguable position) and that people who run businesses instinctively understand what macro-policies will support their businesses. I think this second bit is definitely false. Business men don't have expertise in translating their needs into wider policies. Looking after their interests is not just giving them what they want all the time.

ETA - to make it clear I don't actually think any private businesses wanted us to be abolished, and many complained when it happened, but they are still responsible for an overall attitude that public spend inevitably results in a subtraction rather than an addition of revenue.
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