Pot calls kettle black, pan needed

The Swedish bureaucracy watchdogs, Ombudsman for Justice (Justitieombudsmannen, JO) and Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern, JK) have been actively criticising various authorities in the country for unduly long processing times. For a good reason.

At the same time, it has turned out that JO is unable to measure its own processing times and the JK's processing times have doubled over the past five years.

So, the bureaucracies in the country are slow and arrogant, and therefore these two bureaucracies have been set up to monitor them. Now that the monitoring bureaucracies have become slow and arrogant, what to do? Obviously, set up a new bureaucracy to monitor these two!

I am quite convinced that the Finnish authorities (Justice Chancellor  / Oikeuskansleri, Parliamentary Ombudsman for Justice / Eduskunnan oikeusasiamies) face similar challenges: insufficient resources, more things to do than they can achieve. And they crave for more resources so that they could do good things.

Of course, everywhere the laws of nature are the same: bureaucracies can only expand and get more responsibilities; they very seldom scope down on their own, because every organization wishes to prove how useful and important it is.

In the private sector, companies run out of money, and when owners do not get any dividends, they'll order changes in leadership until something happens. The companies then start to really think what they actually have to do and what not. That leads to rationalization. Not always pleasant, but unavoidable and, in the big picture, extremely useful.

But the public sector does not run out of money, because it can always rise taxes (until it meets the Laffer curve). If the voters disagree, the public organizations can always drop the bottom layer of the bureaucracy: if budget cuts threaten police leadership, you take out the cops from the beat. If cuts threaten hospital bureaucracy, you reduce nurses and doctors until the budget is in balance. The voters soon learn.

Therefore, I think it is an extremely good thing that the Greek and Irish governments are defaulting. It just might make people think. Of course, there's no guarantee that anyone wakes up, but there's a chance.

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