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Your Money In Their HandsWe have been very vocal and honest about our thoughts related to politicians and bureaucrats. In the past (Politicians And Bureaucrats Job Security Through Misery), we have also mentioned how there is a balance of power between those two groups. Although politicians have the upper hand (they are the bosses), bureaucrats are the sleeping monster; once awaken it can topple governments through share union power. Both groups are in it for the power, the privilege and, let's be honest, the salaries. Government employees have it easy. They don't work too hard, they don't have to actually produce anything nor do they have to please any person. Furthermore, for as long as they are not totally, completely and utterly incompetent, they have a job for life. What is not to like!?

Bureaucrats are not stupid people. They want what they want and they want it now. The problem is that in many places in the world, how fast and how much they get is still a subjective issue. Bureaucracies works on paperwork and there just isn't enough of it to provide job security and wage maintenance. You must remember that in the bureaucratic land, those who hold the regulations hold the power. It is for this reason (and others) that bureaucrats love paperwork. Because it enables them get and keep more than they would otherwise be able to do. Once a method or process or rule is enshrine into paperwork, it is almost impossible to get rid of it; and bureaucrats know this. Give them sufficient rules and they will control their jobs. This is precisely what's going on in Angola.

An interesting article from the newspaper Jornal de Angola titled "Specialists demand regulated wages".

During the 21-23 of this month, directors, department head and secretaries from central, provincial and local governments met during a meeting organized by the National Human Resources Department of Local Government. This meeting (held in Angola, the capital - all expenses paid) was set-up to discuss the implementation of new laws destined to attract, recruit and retain staff in municipal governments through subsidies and other incentives.

Specifically, bureaucrats want a system of performance evaluation based on results and targets set by local governments for the implementation of policies.

They were also informed about the operation of the Integrated Resource Management of Local Government, draft reorganization of the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Territorial Administration, policy proposals for national human resource in health and provincial development plans (we are not making this stuff up).

The vice governor Carvalho, stated that the country's development is inextricably linked to the development of human resources and that the government has a privileged place in the National Plan to train new staff. It closed with the slogan "Continous training of human resources is efficiency and productivity"

Allow us to translate.

A government division decided to flex their muscles to get more rules in place to safeguard and improve their power and salaries. In order to do so, they invited a large number of people to a three-day "meeting" (all expenses paid, of course) in the capital.

In this meeting people presented a bunch of useless information that the politicians wanted to trickle down (organizations and re-organizations and such) but, more importantly, the discussion gyrated around what to do to get more regulations in. Basically the kind of "good" regulations; those that ensure job security for life at an above-average level of wages for all people like "us" (i.e. bureaucrats).

As such, iron-clad rules were demanded so that politicians may not, under any circumstance, have any power in these matters. The trick is simple; the rules state that job performance is to be evaluated against results and targets set by bureaucrats based on policies that the politician-of-the-week wishes to implement. In other words, bureaucrats will now determine the performance of other bureaucrats. They want politicians completely out of the loop.

The trick is, of course, that politicians do not get to set targets nor they get to set how these targets are implemented. In other words, there is enough room and subjectivity so that anything may be possible, regardless of the result. Spin city.

Politicians in turn, offered some bribes in the form of free vacations… sorry… free training and further hiring of new personnel. The former is easy to understand, but the latter requires a brief explanation.

In a government bureaucracy it is impossible to climb the corporate ladder because there is no way to measure performance (governments cannot do any meaningful economic calculation - see Communists Can't Count). The only way to do so is to increase subordinates. The larger the number of subordinates, the more important the people in charge of them is. The more important, the higher the salary and the larger the number of perks. At the same time, more bureaucrats mean that the Union will yield even more power. Furthermore, bureaucrats at the top support those at the bottom because those at the bottom make them important by their share number. Presto! Spirit de corps! This is the reason why "hiring" is a sweetener; because it implies bigger salaries and perks.

To add insult to injury, bureaucrats in Angola will now be part of a National Program destined to increase the education of teachers (the National Plan for Teacher Training). All thanks to the suckers who pay the taxes.

Let's remind ourselves of the truth. Bureaucrats do not produce any good or service; they only consume goods and services. Bureaucrats are not only useless (this would imply a zero-sum game) but wasteful. They consume our taxes; they consume our time, they consume rights and they consume our business.

The concept that the "country's development is inextricably linked to the development of human resources" (i.e. bureaucrats) is a large insult. To state that a country's progress depends upon a group of people that only consume and do not create anything, is downright deadly offensive. Should this have been muttered a few hundred years back, this would necessitate a minimum of a pistol duel at twenty paces.

Bureaucrats are the same world over. This bunch happens to be in Angola. It does not matter. Take any bureaucrat anywhere in the world and you will see the same rules at work. There is no difference and there is no escape.

All they always say is give me, give me, and give me.

To that, we always reply: OK, but what's in it for me?

What are you giving me for your salary and perks? What good or service you are providing me that I truly need; something that was not dreamed about by another bureaucrat while reading a newspaper in the toilet?

And the answer is: nothing! Absolutely nothing!

Ergo, that's exactly what they deserve: nothing!

Quid pro quo. There is no free lunch. This is the only rule that we recognize.

And that's it. We have reached the end of this article. Today. Tomorrow it will be another day and another choice, for this one is yours to keep and decide. Believe or pay, your choice.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.


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