Monday, 6 December 2010

Efficiency vs cutbacks

Really efficiency is desirable. Anything we pay for we want to be efficient, so that we get the most benefit possible for each £1 we pay. Where we work, though, it's different. We have to keep our jobs and while we will agree that we should be efficient, if efficient means doing the same with fewer people, we're not so keen as we may be one of those looking for a new job.

The current public sector cutbacks are clearly an attempt to force public sector bodies to look for efficiency savings, hence for instance plans to share services with neighbouring boroughs, but all the while there are people thinking "be efficient, but keep me on", separating efficiency gains (doing the same for less) from cuts in services (doing less to save money) is going to be an issue.

In a culture where we think it is OK for people to be in any old paid employment, irrespective of whether it is socially constructive, and even if it is socially destructive, we will never get true efficiency. True efficiency can only come from focussing human effort on those things that technology cannot do and more to the point directing that human effort so that skills are matched to the work that needs doing. How can this happen with people grimly holding on to jobs for survival purposes?

Unless everybody can have free access to the necessities of life without being bonded to an employer, we will never free up creativity and motivation.

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