TED Conversations

David Hamilton


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I don't believe government is an efficient tool for solving problems. I want my representatives to believe it can be, then prove it.

I think most politicians, worldwide, across parties and systems of government, are so caught up in the sport of it all... That in essence, they forget their primary responsibility, to efficiently manage, and use the resources of government.

People on both sides of issues in any country, will often talk about how their side wants to solve problems but the other side gets in the way... but I'm actually not talking about problems, or issues, I'm talking about governance, as management of the bureaucracy. People aren’t just elected to shrink or expand government, or sign policy, they are also elected as managers, or appointers of management, and most of them do a terrible job.

Having spent over a decade in the part time employ of the federal government, I can tell you, who you elect, makes a difference on the ground… Sometimes. People who truly believe that government can be used to efficiently solve problems, take the management part of their job seriously. People who do not believe in governments ability to solve problems, do not take this responsibility seriously.

I worked under appointees, that were across the spectrum, from ultra right, to ultra left. In general, the difference is simple, one group wants you to buy stuff, one wants you to hire people, they’re both stupid.
There is one group of people, however, on both sides of the spectrum, that the bureaucracy must constantly fear. People who believe government cannot do good. Why? Is it just fear of firings or layoffs? NO! The exact opposite.

People who do not believe that government can solve problems, appoint their friends to high paying government positions. They give huge government contracts to incompetent agencies intentionally, and they never fire anyone… Why? They believe, that‘s what everyone is doing.

Keynesians, on the left, meanwhile, are just as bad, because they believe it doesn’t matter how you spend, just spend. That doesn't get problems solved.



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    Jun 29 2012: Hi David.
    I found your opinion very interesting.
    I'm from Mexico, and right now we are about to vote for our new president, and as you said, on side says they want to solve the problems, but the other side only gets in the way.
    Elections in Mexico this time had been a very critical situation for our country, It looked more like a sympathy contest.
    And the main problem is that people are becoming fanatics of one or other candidate. And they don't see the real person who is behind the image they tray to project.
    Because of all that I've been thinking a lot about the government and it's figures. And I came with the conclusion that we, the very own people from one country or another are the responsible for the course of our nations. We can not be waiting for one single person to correct all the problems that millions provoke.
    If we really want that the situation across the world to change, we must start in our own homes. Education is the answer, I am a strong believer of this statement. With education, we can transmit all the values that appears to be lost or forgotten, and that can help us to create better persons, resulting in better administrators and a better government.

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