Monday, June 2, 2008

Governmental Diversity

Just a little pause here to help myself keep on the purpose of this site. Try to nail down my reason for doing this blogging and political thing. I want to talk of one aspect of smaller or more efficient government. I’ve come up with the term “Diversify” to express the idea of decentralized bureaucracy and bringing it back down to the local level.

While the label is mine the thoughts come from different sources, and weren’t mine originally by any means. I just think they make sense, so I put my spin on them. Newt Gingrich and David Cameron are the obvious examples I have drawn from. Diversifying bureaucracy from a top down to a bottom up organization is my goal. Newt Gingrich in his book “Real Change” consistently calls for use of models based on entrepreneurial systems that have proven track records of success. His words, programs that work vs. programs that don’t. There are examples that deal with changing the bureaucracy from within such as Giuliani’s success in New York changing the police system to lower the crime rate, which made New York into the safest large city to live in. Giuliani did that by measuring at the precinct level the effects of policy and changing the policy to fit the local conditions. Other examples diversified the bureaucracy into private hands. The idea that 2 weeks after Katrina Fed Ex was on the ground shipping packages and The US Post Office put an embargo on shipping newspapers magazines ect for 6 months.

All of these examples of successfully turning systems into ones that work and succeed, were made possible through getting them back in touch with the customer’s (Citizen’s) wants and needs and continually tailoring that policy to the satisfaction of those needs. A policy’s success needs to be measured by the effects is has on the people it is supposed to help, not the affect it has on the bureaucracy. Using those measurements also will point the way for any alterations needed to the policy. Not as we do now by making a policy then trying to adjust the people to it. As companies get bigger and more bureaucratic they tend to focus more on the company, and less on the customer. Government Bureaucracy does the same thing only quicker as they are further removed at the start from the customer (Citizen) and their needs. A corollary to that is the need to be flexible to accommodate the needs of the customer (citizen). That in government means local control. In a top down system there is no local control. Newt also talks a lot about how to measure success (Metrics) and the need to measure that with a factual consistent Metric if your goal is to succeed, also the need to be able to change the policy (again easier at the local diversified level) to be able to learn and build upon your mistakes and success‘. He thinks that government bureaucracy measures things in relation to the success of maintaining and enlarging itself and not the actual success of achieving it’s stated goals. Has the welfare program for example, been more and more successful in helping people get off of welfare in the last 50 years, or successful in increasing the size of the welfare bureaucracy itself?

In education for example, a need to breakdown the centralization of every aspect seems necessary. The basic concept that one failure in a centralized bureaucracy effects all the students must be understood. Also once that mistake is enacted it becomes very hard to alter it. Why not have thousands of individual efforts to build a better mouse trap. Charter schools fit that bill. Sure there will be some mistakes,. If we allow the free movement between schools, the individuals who are directly affected will be able to affect the change by simply moving to a better school. The point is that now, when there are mistakes under the current system those mistake become very near impossible to change. Similar to compound interest, the damage from the mistake compounds as if it had a life of it’s own. The Detroit Public Schools is a prime example of mistakes made which seem uncorrectable. Akindele Akinyemi is someone trying to set up an alternative to the system in Detroit. Look through his site and you will get a sense of the struggle it is. And the huge effort he is making.
The absurdity of the near impossibility to change what is obviously a failed system is glaringly apparent to at least 75% of the people, maybe more, people are crying for a change. As one of the people I too feel frustrated. Newt’s book comes up with some solutions. Maybe some are good. People see the need for change. They keep voting to throw the bums out no matter which party. The majority of voters will appreciate change if it is coherent and honest. I hope the Republicans are the ones who can learn to give that option to the voters.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

No comments: