Wednesday, July 30, 2003
The “Road to Nowhere”- The Delusion of the Burgeoning Public Sector
Since the election of the Labour government in 1997, the UK has experienced a decline in the levels of employment in the private sector and a massive increase in the levels of employment in the public sector. Apparently, over 40% of those employed in the UK now work in the public sector.
At first glance this may not seem to be too troubling, jobs lost in the private sector being replaced by state sector jobs; the latter deemed by many to be worthy, and necessary, for the social well being of the country. Indeed Keynes expounded the view that it was better to employ a man digging a hole, rather than to let him idle away his time.
However, this rise of the state sector gives rise to serious concerns about the future economic prosperity of the UK:
The jobs being created in the state sector are not “front line” jobs such as; nurses, doctors or teachers. They are newly invented bureaucratic creations; risk officers, empowerment managers etc. None of these positions actually “adds value” to the quality of life in the UK.
A private sector job, more than likely, adds economic value by directly or indirectly producing a product or service that earns money from abroad. State sector jobs, more than likely, do not. In essence we are merely passing money between ourselves, like an enclosed game of “pass the parcel”.
The quality of the state sector, despite having billions of pounds thrown at it, has not in the opinion of any front end users improved “one jot”. Ask any parent if they feel that the quality of teaching, and the level of resources available at their child’s school has improved.
The state, unlike the private sector which is not shielded from economic reality, is inherently wasteful. A report issued in the last few days highlighted the fact that the state sector wastes £70BN a year; that is the equivalent of over 10p in the rate of income tax! On a personal level I can attest to this waste; on applying for a senior position recently in the state I was sent by post an information pack exceeding 200 pages, no private sector employer would ever dream of being so wasteful.
It is a matter of great concern to me and should be to the citizens of the UK that the Chancellor, despite being an intelligent individual, appears to be possessed by the old socialist disease of political dogma; namely:
“State good, private bad”.
This disease is clearly deadening his ability to see that the current path that the UK is taking, in building up the state at the expense of the private sector, is in fact the “road to nowhere”.