Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tirade on Bureaucracy

Written by Carol Lawton

The institution of government and the services rendered must be based upon a bureaucratic system. Bureaucracy in and of itself is by far the most efficient system for development and the delivery of goods and services as each segment, level, control element must be specialized to perform the task assigned. This specialization requires knowledge, skills, intellect and education. This education is for all hence the citizens must be educated to function properly in a modern bureaucratic government.

By its nature bureaucracy builds social hierarchy which some may term as a class structure. With class structures the base is always wide as the requirement to move up requires work. It is also the system with the highest capacity to create wealth based on intangibles as well as physical capital. A tradition of work also calls work ethics would be drilled into the young hence they develop this mindset which we do not have in Jamaica . Status is never guaranteed in a bureaucratic system as it is based upon objective goals hence a person is not guaranteed a stay because of traditional association such has family, friend or political association. Pure talent is the requirement as defined by the skills and education for the job.

As each division of the bureaucracy does its work assigned to its optimal operational design, they become subsystem of a larger organization, for brevity we will call it government. Note that what is stated is operational design and not planned or engineered design as political science is a discipline of hypotheses hence the best laid out plans may not work the way they are planned. Constant review and oversight is needed to keep the system in tact.

Jamaica inherited well defined institutions that historically were not for the native population but the principles behind them were sound principle to build a prosperous nation. Our fore parents fought for the rights to be the engineers of these institutions in order for their children to be enfranchised in it and prosper. What went wrong after independence may have many answers but I believe that a euphoric approach to right all wrongs at the expense of institutional stability is a cause. New plans, new ways, new models, new isms and not the reform of the system was the norm. It created special categories in unions, political parties, and the general population but did not improve the institutional laws and rules running the systems.

The bureaucratic system reverted back to the traditional model system which is tribal in nature. Hence the tribalism of the country and its politics to control these institution and systems which can deliver social mobility and wealth. Civil servants felt their positions are guaranteed, workers hinge themselves on the social laws such as the Redundancy Act backed by political unions which made survival of the worker more important than business which support the worker who support the union. The egg before the chicken, personal the chicken comes first. The general population was given the scraps as the spoils via work, food, housing and education while a new elite received contracts by association. Freeness became the goal and hustling to position to receive this freeness therefore hard working, education, and applying sound decision making technique took a back seat. Everything in the here and now. A system of conflict within itself will always explode from within given time as the disenfranchised are no longer involved and seek a new system. The other alternative we have seen in the 1980’s election when external forces pushing in and native forces pushing out can have dire consequences. A present example of a traditional model being affected by external forces is Iraq . The Americans made a simple mistake in that they did not understand the social traditional organization which governs traditional society. Sad to say, these traditional organizational models are that of Asia, Africa and Latin America .

The social tool of education to operate in the system becomes a privilege once again of the new middleclass. A conversation happen where a head of an agricultural agency could not understand education as the development of a person but only as a means to drive a big SUV and anyone who had the ability and education without this symbol was not a success. The social development by the institutional systems via the traditional model is replaced by material illusions of success. Norman Manley lost his property in the chase for this so call Jamaica hence to use this person definition would mean that he was not successful as he gain no economic objective from it.

Jamaica is now a country where educations by the males are of little value, brute force is the rule of the day both by citizens and the state. Opportunities can only be gain because of “association”, a BIG MAN must run things, alternative systems and economy are more efficient than that inherited bureaucracy. Over 40 years has past on this island, I have seen 34. From the stand point of my generation I would conclude that governing was not the reason for independence. If it was archaic laws which do not apply to the present would be updated, systems would be efficient, opportunity would be from the social and economic activities of the citizens and not the possible contracts and policies of the state, civil servants would not be seen as a special class, education and work would still be gauge for success not instant material gains through begging ( remittances, international loans ect) and crime. We have reduce our country and the legacy given to violent materialistic beggars on a rock in the sea. Without a return to the bureaucratic model from the traditional tribal model the development of Jamaica will never return as advancement will not be based upon work but on the spoils of the systems. Hence poor institutions, a malfunctioning internal control systems, an apathy for education over instant materialism and a Haitirization of the country.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A brief tirade on insurgency and government

Written by Carol Lawton Jr.

In the timeline of history one thing holds true in regards to governments, liberation movements and paramilitary groups and that is they wrestling for power within the state. These struggles between the factions may be covert, overt or collaborative. But the end result is always the same as the formal structure now has to deal with the dynamics which will always lead to social unrest.

In the development of dictatorships it is the state failure to control and maintain society because of the compromise given to the factions. Democracy is a scaring concept if the parties involve are not willing to safe guard it. Theocracy in of itself cannot be avoided as in any society one religion will be dominant but with this dominance it must allow allows to seek the own enlightenment in the belief of a higher being. Socialism is an artificial state because of the availability of limit resources yet unlimited wants and the difference in talents and ability between people. Capitalism in its pure state is by far the best but pure capitalism without safeguards to protect the weakest of society will lead to corruption and social unrest hence no system is superior.

What is striking is balance is needed between them all. The strong arm of the state while give the citizen the choice to choose which opportunity to purse to build wealth while protecting the weakest to allow them to have access to the capital that they need to survive. Such a system is the ideal but where to the system begin or end.

To have seen democracies where there is none. Socialism in Capitalism is a paradox. The ism of government is illusion as good governance is about making decisions based upon the need of the state. Hence to allow covert or overt groups to develop system above the platform of government will lead to strife and the eventual take over of government. In war torn region, it is the warlord who governs not the state, in inner city fiefdom it is the don through the collection of gains from transaction (unofficial tax), in war, the military rules the ground, and then the terrorists who rule by fear due to their ability to strike.

The state of government can only exist in peace. Hence peace is the objective of all government in the end regardless of the form. So when a state foster insurgency groups or terrorists with agenda against another state they have entered into a formal war under the veil that they are in the country unknown. Functionaries of the state will always have access to the information hence it will always up the chain of command and the objective is the survival of the state and information is key. So when a country like Lebanon allows for Hezbollah to organize, finance, set support social systems and military logistics system it should not be surprise that if it can not destroy its enemy, it will turn against its host like a parasite as it has already undermined the state in that an entity can wage war against sovereign nation and undermine the state ability to protect its borders and deploy diplomatic policy that leads to peace. Woe be unto a state that believe that it can exist in peace while pseudo governments exist within.