Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Banks got too big to fail, and government is too bloated to diet

Each political party says public expenditure must be reduced, but nobody knows how or where to start. 

 Government is the biggest business in the UK. It employs more than half the workforce. Add in sub-contractors, businesses and organisations dependent on grants, subsidies and other public funds, and you have a huge part of the economy. None have any desire to be down-sized. The situation has gone way past the tipping point for serious government downsizing to happen. There are too many people 'on benefits'. Government is self-protective, and more interested in self preservation and enlargement than efficiency.
      Take agriculture -  government administration today is a significant proportion of the total expense needed to do the job of growing crops and raising livestock. We have a few front line staff driving tractors and combines being inspected, administered, measured, monitored by an army of people - not so different to the Health Service. Each of these inspectors is there for a good reason, and have been added piecemeal in response to legislation.
      The interesting question is - is this the fate other large organisations? Do supermarkets have an increasing army of back office staff - people checking that the people doing the work are doing it correctly? An army to supervise the suppliers, to deal with compliance in all its guises? 

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