Your essay avoids a very serious problem that dooms government service to forever be as it is or worse: Self-interest, or in general, the Social Dilemma.
Do you not actively pursue your own self-interest most of the time (I would say all the time)? Can you expect a government "servant" to do otherwise? Pursuing self-interest is labeled by social scientists and economist alike as acting _rational_. Do you want anyone, including yourself, to act _irrational_?
"Each government worker should do his best in spite of this for two reasons."
That will happen if the government worker is rewarded for doing his best. Otherwise it will not. Rewards determine action.
So, maybe we ought to be working on getting the rewards the way we want them!
"If he does not do his best to accomplish worthwhile goals, he is wasting his time."
I can't believe you said that! If "worthwhile goals" means "self-satisfaction" then it has some meaning, otherwise it is just pure pap, IMHO.
Answer from Duane
Leon is right, of course, that "worthwhile goals" is an undefined term and I did use it to mean "self-satisfaction". Actually I think rewards in any bureaucracy will always be awarded by the bureaucracy for advancing the "real" goals of the bureaucracy rather than the stated or "public" goals. The real goals will almost always be to maintain and increase and perpetuate the bureaucracy.
However, at least for some people, this will not provide "self- satisfaction" but actually accomplishing something considered by the employee to be worthwhile in the world outside the bureaucracy by the employee can be a reward. In other words, some employees are naive enough to actually believe the public relations output of the bureaucracy and really would like to make a difference in addressing the "public" goals of that bureaucracy.
Last revised April 9, 1997.
Go to Top Menu..
..of Duane & Eva's Old Kentucky Home Page
Please send comments.
All contents copyright (C) 1997, Duane Bristow. All rights reserved.