Sunday, March 22, 2009

How accountable is government?

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One of the blatant contradictions that arises with government is their utter lack of public accountability. Private citizens and business people are required to act with a great deal of prudence in the way they conduct themselves, yet government officers ('bureaucrats') can act with impunity. Under the worst possible conditions they are likely to just lose their jobs. Many of them with just resign before that occurs so they can keep their generous lifetime pension.

We all know that there are laws which require the government to act in a certain way. The problem is that there are no substantive consequences if the government does not act the right way. The public organisations that execute or are enforce the laws are mostly not accountable for their actions. This means that the government is treated differently from companies or private individuals. The implication is that the government faces little deterrence other than bad publicity for non-compliance or poor execution. The reason is that voters have come to expect ineptitude from both sides of politics. Why? Because competition is GOOD right? Oh except for politicians. In politics there is no law preventing parties from forming cozy duopolies. Have you ever noticed that there is a cozy duopoly in every democratic country. Have you ever wondered why that exists? Let's extrapolate a little. Have you ever wondered why politicians are so inept and unethical?
Let's consider NZ - which is a pretty typical Western democracy. Probably freer than most. It was only from 2002 that public organisations were able to be prosecuted for a limited range of offences under the Crown Organisations (Criminal Liability) Act 2002. However, the application of this Act is currently limited only to offences under the Building Act 2004 and the Health and Safety and Employment Act 1992. What is more poignant here is that fact that taxpayers are going to pay any damages. I frankly don't know of any scam that beats that! Why should anyone be free of accountability?
Don't expect the media to do anything about this disparity in political values.
Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?