March 3, 2009

Public Service Announcement

The concept of an academy for public service is solid, but the public sector needs more than manpower - it desperately needs brainpower, and top brainpower at that. We need judges and patent officers who grok current technologies, and qualified IT specialists who will apply that technology to reforming paper-form bureaucracy. We need urban planners who understand green design principles, and legislators who will update our building and zoning codes to accept those principles. We need ministers and advisors with expertise in addressing environmental and economic issues. We need math teachers who know math. We need education advisors who believe in the value of music, of art, of physical education. The list is endless.

Bottom line: the public sector is bloated and rife with nepotism, so much so that the very people who could reform it avoid it like the plague. After all, why spend years banging your head against red tape when Company X will put your skills to use immediately and pay you more for the privilege?

I'm going to make a controversial assertion: we need "braintrust conscription." We need to force our world's most knowledgeable and respected experts to spend two years using their skills in the service of the public good. We need to force our most experienced workers to become teachers. Conversely, we need to force our public servants to hold relevant qualifications.

I'm slowly becoming convinced that this is the only way to address our current problems. Our political circles are awash in so-called "leaders" - alpha-male types who git 'er done like blind (American) football players, conniving backroom puppetmasters, and a smattering of determined yet relatively impotent do-gooders. Enough. It's high time to bring meritocracy to politics. Iff the Public Service Academy can do that, I'm all for it.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if it would be possible to make politics a real meritocracy? I don't think it can happen whilst it's democratic. At least here in the States, it's fairly evident that the voting public has no idea which people are best qualified to represent them, nor even (in general) what the opinions are of the people whom they are voting for. We can always go for Plato's philosopher kings.