Bloated Equality

bloatedEqualitySince I already passed out on last week’s writing challenge, I have to write something this time. And it feels a lot easier. The last challenge was really tough. I made a few attempts, but couldn’t keep me going. That was really strange. I feel better now. The actual challenge’s title: “State of the State”, is promising and after a night, sleeping over the topic, some ideas worth pursuing have emerged.

I’m quite opinionated political wise. I don’t think my government is particularly good at anything at all and that no one need it much, anyway. Bloated. That’s the word best describing it. It all started somewhat well with really good ideas and a purpose. It is such a thing with good ideas. As long as they are lean and shiny and new everything goes quite well. But then there are some special situations here and some unfair treatment there and soon someone has the idea, that you must define it very clear and succinct, covering as many cases as possible. With all those details, subtleties, not-to-hurt feelings and lobbies to gratify the original purpose gets soon lost, and most are blindly following some arbitrary rules and regulations.

As long as there are some real humans doing the work as it must be done, it all holds together, somewhat, but it is far from being steerable from above or from anywhere else. I guess that’s the crux with every social system of considerable size. This pattern is visible in all bigger business organizations, as well, especially the old ones.

But, heh? It has been working this way since … Ever. In case one could do something about it, would it really be necessary? Those systems are going and going and eventually collapse or are flexible enough to adapt. Everything changes, transitions from yesterday to tomorrow. There is nothing wrong with that. But you have to embrace change to stay profitable and survive in the long run. The book: “eXtreme Programming eXplained” by Kent Beck wears “Embrace Change” as its subtitle and initiated a deep change in the way software projects are managed.

A similar change in the way how governments are managed is long overdue. “Lean Government”, would be catchy phrase. I’m just a layman in this regard and don’t mind to present any solution. Just some ideas.

There is a root problem (maybe more): the concept of equality. It is misleading, at best. Those that have less, do interpret it as: “When we are equal, we should own the equal amount of things.”  Those that have more, monetary or ability wise, don’t want to be treated the same way as those others. The professor stands in front of the students, because she has special knowledge the students lack. No one would question this.

I guess everyone wants to be someone special in some regard. Be it, very special in creating buildings, helping others, cooking meals, programming web-apps or publishing nonsense.

Yes, everyone deserves equal treatment by the law. But even that’s not universally true, when you take, for example, the person’s age into account. A kid shouldn’t be allowed to sign contracts. Agreed? The age. That’s a good example. In the US you are allowed to drive by 16 and drink alcohol by 21. In Germany you are allowed to drink by 16 and drive by 18. Well I think our teenagers are quite equal to America’s.

We have young adults totally irresponsible regarding alcohol by the age of 25 and some kill themselves due to high speed driving at the age of 28. Luckily they survived that long. Others drink and drive responsibly at the age of 18. They are different, treat them different. Individually assess the effect of drinking alcohol on them, their family background and take science into account: there are some genes favoring alcohol abuse (just wild speculation and hearsay.) If they have them, don’t allow them to ever get drunk. Luckily you have to get a license to be allowed to drive. But why the fixed age? Assess their state of mental development, ask teachers, friends and family to decide if they are mature enough.

Similar to equality, but better suited seems the term: fairness. Everyone has a different background, different abilities and different preferences. The government should be designed to be able to promote and support individuals on an individual level, so that it enables them to contribute to the common welfare, in their own special way. That seems fair.

Well, there lurks a second root problem: the shiny world of stars, starlets and wannabees presented by the media. Especially young adults are blinded by the fame and richness of athletes, actors, singers and self-presenters. They take it seriously, not as it is: pure entertainment.

I stop here. It feels like a never ending story, no silver bullets in sight, …

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