Thursday, 23 April 2015

Managerialism eats itself

The big corporates are big and successful because they never try to get things 100% right. Amazon, Ebay and the like are happy to hit their 'sweet spot' - simple, problem free, low cost transactions where nothing goes wrong - and not to waste money solving the problem transactions. Hence if something goes wrong you can't contact them except through call-centre hell and if the problem transaction has lost or cost less than £20 a fair number of us will rather write it off than try to fix it. The point is, their sweet spot is somewhere around 90% and upwards.

What they're doing is passing the transactional costs of customer service back to the customer; customers need to spend their own time solving their own problems through automated systems. Of course there are always subversives such as yours truly - who write a proper postal letter to the company secretary with only a return address (i.e. no phone number or email address). Your chances of getting the Cockroach Letter today are remote.*

When State bureaucracies reformed by Managerialism try to adopt the same tools as the big corporates one critical factor is missing - the need to retain satisfied customers. The State doesn't really care. We have known for years of course - but the Guardianistas are just waking up to the fact that it's hurting them, too:-

"The right has some semblance of critique: bureaucracy is the enemy of free enterprise, it is about jobsworth pen-pushers who work for the government, restricting the release of honest red-blooded capitalism. Perhaps in response to this, the left has assumed that defending (or being silent about) the smothering prevalence of bureaucracy is all about defending the state. Well, it’s certainly one of the best things about being rich that one is spared having to spend too much time dealing with the council or the government in general – the worst bureaucratic offenders."   

The problem is that the left sees bureaucracy as a benign force - a damper on political change and enthusiasms, an enforcer of a comfortable mediocrity, the triumph of group decisions over maverick entrepreneurship, low risk and high continuity. Perhaps up until the 1960s this was even partly true. But combine Managerialism with Bureaucracy and what you get is a nightmare Kafkaesque prison of 'no can do'.  

* In response to a guest's complaint about sighting a cockroach, a famous hotel wrote back "..never in the history of this hotel has this happened before, and we have immediately mobilised skilled operatives to investigate the sighting. Rest assured that your complaint is being actioned with the utmost priority at the very highest level and all the hotel's resources will be exhausted in ensuring we continue to maintain the superlative standards of hygiene and service for which we are so well known." The problem was that a post-it note was stuck to the back of the letter instructing "send this guy the Cockroach Letter".


Weekend Yachtsman said...

You're a bit unfair on Amazon.

One can actually send them an email and get a genuine reply from (apparently) a real person who has actually read what you wrote. It happened to me recently in the case of a delivery which the driver left in the dustbin as a "safe" place. Took us a while to find it...

Anonymous said...

Unaccountable, unaccountability and all based on lies, deceit and preposterous mythological threats, big bureaucracy because it answers to no one: will bring the nation to its knees. It already goes on apace.

Man made warming is a myth, man made CO² is not, at a puny ±400ppm cannot be the driver of world Temperature and of much but lies from political operators. Good grief, "save the world" provides so many free lunches and deceitful politicians ammunition for persuading the political elite and fuck the proles - man made it certainly had to be.

The UN, the Internationalist political elite including our fuckwit claque in LiblavCon and their useful idiots; Green NGO's, EU bureaucrats, right down to local councils, man made warming is an industry and 'sustainability' is the totally meaningless buzz word.
A propaganda blitz is happening right this moment across the world's media. Obama wants a world emissions limitation binding statute made real - in December in Paris. Ahem, did I say fuckwit authoritarians who know fuck all about aught but control and power - then Obama would be one of those.

"Ah yeah but so what?" I hear you muse.

Well actually, just down the road in a cluster of smallish towns run by a big left wing dominated council - at a cost of £750m we have a brand new 'recycling centre' dedicated to collecting all that stuff, domestic appliances and the waste of household which we are told does not go to landfill and MUST be recycled blah, blah, blah. Aye they tell us, "this is sustainable" - until the prices of industrial plastic containers drops below £300/tonne thanks to a falling oil prices, whereas recycling old plastic costs more like £500/tonne say.....
Let me tell you another, landfill directives ex Brussels and the fact that HMG doing the dirty work of Brussels for reasons only known to them [control].... taxes local councils to dump waste in landfill, thereby costing us, we, you the taxpayer and all sold to the consumer/taxpayer under the mythical notion of "sustainability" - but actually is just another 'green tax'.

£750 million, let me put that another way three quarters of a billion. Moreover, who the heck granted a piss-potical town council grandly named "METROPOLITAN" leave to BORROW that amount of capital - set against proposed ratepayers ability to pay back this enormous sum....huh?
We can only guess but another salient fact - nobody but nobody asked the local rate payers about the "sustainability" of taking on such a daft loan - and local businesses, which will eventually be indemnified for this great white concrete and glass Elephant.

Then, consider this recycling boondoggle - a grievous mistake multiplied many times across the country - sold as "sustainability and therein as tackling warming to saving the polar bears" - it was to be a green jobs boon [out of your taxes] and all it is - an uncosted but arbitrary green yoke for us all to bear and done in our name but never was our permission sought.

Unaccountability, numpty bureaucrats with too WAY, WAY much power and political myths, is going to fuck this nation - you and me.

A double whammy, as world prices for recycled commodities drop through the floor - you know where it all ends up.........

Over to landfill.

G. Tingey said...

Actually, big corporations can be just as bad (& sometimes worse than) guvmint.
A bureaucracy is still just that, whether state or "private".

Fucking grow up.
The planet is warmer than it ought to be, once the Milankovitch cycles & solar output are accounted for.
Where, then is the extra heat coming from if NOT from us?
Please note, however, the the "efforts" of governements are a scam - it's a tax-raising exercise.
The first-stage of dealing with GW is simple - nuclear power, yesterday.
The second is a slow, but sure move to more efficient, less polluting technologies, which, fortunately seems to be happening already, though probably not quickly enough (yet)
I also agree with your critique of local council(s) - but that is the bureaucracy problem, actually.

Budgie said...

Great post, Raedwald. Managerialism is rife in the NHS (sorry, "our NHS") of course, as well as most areas of the state. I have been trying to interest people in the horrors of managerialism (and crony capitalism), but it is like soap in a bath - you just can't get hold of it. Sorry about banging the drum for UKIP (actually why should I be sorry?) but only UKIP seems to be aware of these problems, even if only vaguely.

Budgie said...

G Tingey said: "The planet is warmer than it ought to be ..." And what global temperature "ought" it be, then? There has been no justification by the climatologists/activists that today's temperature (or last century's, or whenever) is "normal". So your assertion that the "planet" is warmer than it "should" be is groundless.

G Tingey said: "Where, then is the extra heat coming from if NOT from us?" See above. Certainly there is no runaway catastrophic global warming caused only by man made CO2 (CAGW), which is the justification used by politicians and scientactivists to create the international bureaucracy which spends £billions of our taxes on "tackling" "carbon" (and feathering their own nest).

Anonymous said...

I don't get the Amazon point either.

I've had a book left in the rain by the postman and a laptop that had its initialisation setup interrupted in error both replaced within a day and before they were returned.

When something goes wrong after the first month it is harder to find out what to do. Eventually the only option was to phone. This was answered within three rings by a lady with an American accident. I said what was wrong, gave the order number and she asked if I wanted a replacement, a substitute or a refund and when I said the first she said "It's on its way!".

Try querying your tax code with HMRC!

F***W*T TW****R said...

surely you mean accent Anon 10:25? ;-)

Nick Drew said...

Yup, the left is instinctively favourable towards, if not infatutaed with, bureaucrats (and travellers) - even though they should be anathema, by their own lights

having an uncustomary spare moment I will regale you with another cockroach story

I was once having dinner in the interval at Glyndebourne with a table of (English) people I'd never met before (- well, except for Mrs D)

I happened to mention (can't for the life of me remember why, but it must have been germane) a first-hand cockroach incident in a Manhattan hotel

when one of our number burst into genuine outrage, and said that it was quite impossible for me to have encountered a cockroach in a Manhattan hotel, the standards of cleanliness there were such that this would never happen - he wasn't be sarcastic, he went very red in the face and spluttered a lot

his wife told us to ignore him, but he wouldn't let it drop

since it is to be doubted the gentleman owned every hotel on the island, I have never been able to explain this incident

so there you have it

Sceptical Steve said...

My ex-wife worked as a housekeeper at the Sofitel in the centre of Paris as part of her French degree course in the mid 1980s. She explained to me that the Sofitel had an established protocol for dealing with cockroach sightings by a customer. The housekeeper would be wheeled in to express outrage and indignation at the suggestion that a cockroach could have been present in such a prestigious hotel. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, all the staff took the existence of cockroaches as a normal part of their working lives.