Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Efficiency of governance

Edward Harrison at nakedcapitalism points to Slovenia going the Greek route. Slovenia, it seems, needs to cut budgetary spending and undertake pension reforms. At the slightest of such references, the right-wingers jump into the fray stating "we need a smaller government". Now you know how I hate when government modifies its promises on healthcare and pension for the old. In this case, smaller government refers to government expenditure in line with the government revenues.

Often that is reduced to lesser people employed by the government. It means less police, less hospital staff, less departments to control something-that-should-not-be-controlled, etc. In other words, smaller government often boils down to lesser governance. But it need not be if we have higher productivity of government staff.

We need to improve the efficiency of governance. A lot of duties of government have been clarified in the constitution. One, I believe, is left behind. In the constitution, it must be made clear that government must strive to lower the cost of governance. It must increase the the deliverables (governance) and reduce the burden on the tax payer (cost of governance). We have seen companies reduce cost, why can't the government? There is a distinct lack of focus on government productivity. It is time to introduce such metrics and track them over time.

I think before we talk of smaller government, let us talk of efficient government. Let us talk of increasing governance and increasing efficiency of government.