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.


Brian L. Dennis said...

What do you mean when you say that Jamaica's Institution reverted back to a tribal model?

Where did this tribal model come from?

Don't you think that the IMF was responsible for what happened to the people

Anonymous said...

The tribal model is the orginal model of all organizations. It existed from the begining of time with the father being the head of the clan. It is not based upon ability but upon who you know or who you are related to. Simply put the son of the chief will more than likely become the chief as Prince Charles will become our head of State when his mother dies.

No the IMF is not responsible. We chose to mismanage our affairs and as a Bank there are terms. We could have chosen not to go the way of the IMF but we did. To blame them is to drop accountability and responsibility.