Book Reviews

What is Government Good at?

The author, a professor of Universite de Moncton (New Brunswick) has authored numerous books on governments- how decisions are made, offices created, structured, and managed.

The narrative explains in great detail how, and at what level decisions are made, passed up and down the command chain, and funded.

He ahs written several reports on governments, for different governments, recommenced changes, and analysed existing structures, some of which were accepted and implemented, but many were not.

He maintains that once an office is created, before anything is accomplished the director or manager tries to hire more help than necessary, and requests more funds.

Then, an office that the “new” one is supposed to replace is never really closed fully, thus enlarging government payroll endlessly, until a new party is elected. If the deficit at the time is very large, the new government lays off thousands of public servants, but shortly after, many of the “positions” somehow manage to re-appear in another guise or turn to consulting positions thus “fattening” bureaucracy.

Large organizations, as all managers know, tend to accumulate “fat”, and a useless level of clerical help that does nothing more than accumulate data and create reports that no one really reads or used.

According to the author, decisions made by the bureaucracy are rarely, if ever, questioned by governing politicians.

This is a valuable book for every politician at every level of government.

Unfortunately, bureaucrats always make sure that they thrive.

Rarely, is a public servant is fired for incompetence or poor performance. One who was caught watching porn, and spending more than 50 per cent of his paid work time was fired, but appealed and was reinstated, at the insistence to the appeal board.

This is how governments function.

Highly recommended.

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