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(MIT)   Turns out Congress and the executive branch are "entrepreneurs of the highest order: presented with 1 problem, they manage to create 5 more. They have demonstrated that government is not only not the answer, it is the anti-answer"   (miter.mit.edu) divider line 97
    More: Obvious, executive branches, navel-gazing, music streaming, Grindr, invisible hand, ongoing wars, Untouchables, American South  
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1558 clicks; posted to Politics » on 07 Jun 2013 at 1:26 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-07 12:33:52 PM
Your blog is making a sucking sound.
 
2013-06-07 12:43:52 PM
The article needs more em dashes. I am confident that the author's points would resonate far more clearly if he could only work a few more of them into the opening paragraphs.
 
2013-06-07 12:49:53 PM
This crap started with Reagan.  First you foul up a government program with legislative stupidity, and then you say "Look!  See!  The government is all farked up!"
 
2013-06-07 12:51:12 PM
Yes, why aren't entrepreneurs solving poverty, famine, and climate change?  I mean, those are things that capitalism has always cared so much about.  Why just 90 years ago, thanks the generosity of big trusts, there wasn't a single hungry person, everyone had their own gold plated bathtub, and the air around factories was as clean as the air at Walden Pond.  When did entrepreneurs stop taking care of the less fortunate and focus on making products and providing services that offered a return on their money?
 
2013-06-07 12:54:17 PM
Exactly. Time to shut down the police and the military.
 
2013-06-07 12:57:10 PM
Neal Stephenson and J. Fredrick George put it all together fairly well in The Cobweb. Folks in bureaucracies don't like to solve problems, but manage them. If you solve a problem, then the issue goes away, and the funding goes away too. Funding, and how that money is thrown around, is what is power in these bureaucracies, and essentially the peen that they wave around to compare to one another. You fix a problem, and the issue goes away, as does the money that goes with it, and that is something that no one in any agency really wants to see happen. Instead, it's better to manage it, to keep things from boiling over, and then they can point to the fact that it isn't as much of an issue as it was in the past, as success.

For those who haven't read Stephenson's older work, he and J. Fredrick George had two novels that were about the intrinsic use of power and the somewhat monolithic nature of politics. The Cobweb and Interface bear little resemblance to Stephenson's other work, but they are a nice peek at the nature of how the government works at the bureaucratic level, and the nuts and bolts of campaigns.
 
2013-06-07 12:57:44 PM
How refreshing, someone complaining that government can't do anything and is the problem
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-06-07 01:24:50 PM

hubiestubert: Neal Stephenson and J. Fredrick George put it all together fairly well in The Cobweb. Folks in bureaucracies don't like to solve problems, but manage them. If you solve a problem, then the issue goes away, and the funding goes away too. Funding, and how that money is thrown around, is what is power in these bureaucracies, and essentially the peen that they wave around to compare to one another. You fix a problem, and the issue goes away, as does the money that goes with it, and that is something that no one in any agency really wants to see happen. Instead, it's better to manage it, to keep things from boiling over, and then they can point to the fact that it isn't as much of an issue as it was in the past, as success.


Bureaucrats don't solve problem because they don't make policy, they just carry out policy made by politicians.

It's not like a social worker could really eliminate the problem of poverty in any final way.
 
2013-06-07 01:30:52 PM
I propose we Shut. Down. Everything.
 
2013-06-07 01:31:55 PM
It's rare for me to say this, but...your blog sucks.  TL;DR.  If you're going to post an editorial equal length to some academic papers, at least provide an abstract.
 
2013-06-07 01:33:13 PM

vpb: Bureaucrats don't solve problem because they don't make policy, they just carry out policy made by politicians.

It's not like a social worker could really eliminate the problem of poverty in any final way.


But Congresscritters are judged by the amount of leverage and funding that they control. So long as that is the case, we're not going to see a lot of problems solved. The War on Drugs is a prime example. Same with violent crime. We have lobbies who like the prison industry, and it IS an industry at this point, and threatening the funding of that industry means that folks can argue jobs and loss of income to Congress, as opposed to measures that will actually reduce the prison populations.

It is about managing problems. Washington and our Congresses at the state level really dislike to do much that will actually make problems disappear. There is no percentage in that...
 
2013-06-07 01:33:27 PM
This is a new and exciting tack, using a smattering of social justice language to encourage injustice. The article's entire points are:

1) Gummint bad, capitalism good.
2) The "exotic underclass" is somehow privileged because they get the pity and attention of charity.
3) There's an "unexotic underclass" of poor whites with unsullied buttholes just waiting to be exploited.

I read that whole thing and almost puked.
 
2013-06-07 01:35:01 PM
I will not use no double negatives.
 
2013-06-07 01:37:31 PM
"The startup scene today, and by 'scene' I'm sweeping a fairly catholic brush over a large swath of people - observers, critics, investors, entrepreneurs, 'want'repreneurs, academics, techies, and the like - seems to be riven into two camps."

Ah, the old "sweeping brushes over swaths" trick.
 
2013-06-07 01:37:38 PM
government is not only not the answer, it is the anti-answer

So we just need Barack Hussein Obama to say his name backwards and he goes back to the 5th dimension?
 
2013-06-07 01:39:13 PM

hubiestubert: Neal Stephenson and J. Fredrick George put it all together fairly well in The Cobweb


You know how I know that argument was formulated by a libertarian? It sounds convincing on the surface but there's absolutely no real-world examples of it ever happening.

Seriously, point me to a scandal where a bureaucracy was found to be deliberately avoiding solving a problem in favor of managing it - I wager there's damn few, if any examples of that ever happening.   No, what bureaucrats hate most is risk. They aren't gonna take a chance on getting fired and losing that nice fat pension just to keep some extra funding.They might not work particularly hard at solving problems, but that's because the sort of people who become mid-level government bureaucrats aren't exactly go-getters. No need to invent conspiracies to explain it.
 
2013-06-07 01:40:49 PM

Gunther: You know how I know that argument was formulated by a libertarian? It sounds convincing on the surface but there's absolutely no real-world examples of it ever happening.

Seriously, point me to a scandal where a bureaucracy was found to be deliberately avoiding solving a problem in favor of managing it - I wager there's damn few, if any examples of that ever happening.


Actually, if you've ever worked in corporate America, it happens all the damned time. It's just an omnipresent feature of corporate business, less so of government.
 
2013-06-07 01:40:51 PM

Pocket Ninja: The article needs more em dashes. I am confident that the author's points would resonate far more clearly if he could only work a few more of them into the opening paragraphs.


This one is my favorite:
Big Problems - capital B, capital P

It makes me think that he's writing for an audience that he expects to be capable of reading but incapable of identifying the case of the letters they are reading.
 
2013-06-07 01:44:05 PM

Nina_Hartley's_Ass: "The startup scene today, and by 'scene' I'm sweeping a fairly catholic brush over a large swath of people - observers, critics, investors, entrepreneurs, 'want'repreneurs, academics, techies, and the like - seems to be riven into two camps."

Ah, the old "sweeping brushes over swaths" trick.


At least it wasn't a heathen brush of some kind.
 
2013-06-07 01:45:06 PM
The problem I wish someone would work on is douchebags in government and media who try to tell everyone what their problems are and what they should do about them, usually involving handing over a lot of money, a lot of freedom, or both.
 
2013-06-07 01:47:38 PM
Gosh if there were only some way for the people to control who they send to government...
 
2013-06-07 01:48:49 PM

Peter von Nostrand: How refreshing, someone complaining that government can't do anything and is the problem


Oh, it's better then that.

A blog biatching that the government can't do anything.  A blog that's hosted on....  Mit.edu.  A state university.  A government run institution.
 
2013-06-07 01:48:55 PM

Gunther: hubiestubert: Neal Stephenson and J. Fredrick George put it all together fairly well in The Cobweb

You know how I know that argument was formulated by a libertarian? It sounds convincing on the surface but there's absolutely no real-world examples of it ever happening.

Seriously, point me to a scandal where a bureaucracy was found to be deliberately avoiding solving a problem in favor of managing it - I wager there's damn few, if any examples of that ever happening.   No, what bureaucrats hate most is risk. They aren't gonna take a chance on getting fired and losing that nice fat pension just to keep some extra funding.They might not work particularly hard at solving problems, but that's because the sort of people who become mid-level government bureaucrats aren't exactly go-getters. No need to invent conspiracies to explain it.


Not solving problems doesn't have to be a conscious decision. As Upton Sinclair put it, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
 
2013-06-07 01:51:25 PM
'The government can't do anything right. Now put Republicans in charge so we can prove it.'
 
2013-06-07 01:51:44 PM

Satanic_Hamster: A blog biatching that the government can't do anything. A blog that's hosted on.... Mit.edu. A state university. A government run institution.


Nope.
 
2013-06-07 01:52:58 PM

hubiestubert: Neal Stephenson and J. Fredrick George put it all together fairly well in The Cobweb. Folks in bureaucracies don't like to solve problems, but manage them. If you solve a problem, then the issue goes away, and the funding goes away too. Funding, and how that money is thrown around, is what is power in these bureaucracies, and essentially the peen that they wave around to compare to one another. You fix a problem, and the issue goes away, as does the money that goes with it, and that is something that no one in any agency really wants to see happen. Instead, it's better to manage it, to keep things from boiling over, and then they can point to the fact that it isn't as much of an issue as it was in the past, as success.

For those who haven't read Stephenson's older work, he and J. Fredrick George had two novels that were about the intrinsic use of power and the somewhat monolithic nature of politics. The Cobweb and Interface bear little resemblance to Stephenson's other work, but they are a nice peek at the nature of how the government works at the bureaucratic level, and the nuts and bolts of campaigns.


This is why we still have widespread smallpox and polio.
 
2013-06-07 01:53:38 PM
REMEMBER, KIDS!

The Government is....

ALWAYS INCOMPETENT

ALWAYS MALEVOLENT



ALWAYS YOUR MORTAL ENEMY
 
2013-06-07 01:54:27 PM
How many here are old enough to remember the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Technology_Assessment

The OTA Used to advise congress on policy positions from all sorts of technological points of view.

It was closed by Newt Gingrich, as a precursor to the introduction of the use of "partisan" think tank white papers that are now used by Congress for policy advise.

More than anything else, empirical facts and evidence stopped being a part of Government policy by choice. And We can thank Newt Gingrich and the Republican revolution of 1986 directly for most all complaints that government doesn't work.

When government policy disdains and avoids empirical real world evidence and instead deploys policy rooted in ideological desire, this grid lock we have today is precisely what's expected.
 
2013-06-07 01:54:53 PM
To your left are single mothers, 80% of whom, according to the US Census,  are poor or hovering on the nasty edges of working poverty.  They are struggling to raise their kids in a country that seems to conspire against  any semblance of proper rearing: a lack of flexibility in the workplace; a lack of free or affordable after-school programs;  an abysmal public education system where a testing-mad, criminally-deficient curriculum is taught during a too-short school day; an inescapable lurid wallpaper of sex and violence that covers every surface of  society;  a cultural disregard for intelligence, empathy and respect;  a cultural imperative to look hot, spend money and own the latest "it"-device (or should I say i-device) no matter what it costs, no matter how little money Mum may have.

And all of these problems will be magically solved if only the damned 'ole government would just get out of the way, right? Christ Almighty...
 
2013-06-07 01:55:39 PM

jjorsett: Gunther: hubiestubert: Neal Stephenson and J. Fredrick George put it all together fairly well in The Cobweb

You know how I know that argument was formulated by a libertarian? It sounds convincing on the surface but there's absolutely no real-world examples of it ever happening.

Seriously, point me to a scandal where a bureaucracy was found to be deliberately avoiding solving a problem in favor of managing it - I wager there's damn few, if any examples of that ever happening.   No, what bureaucrats hate most is risk. They aren't gonna take a chance on getting fired and losing that nice fat pension just to keep some extra funding.They might not work particularly hard at solving problems, but that's because the sort of people who become mid-level government bureaucrats aren't exactly go-getters. No need to invent conspiracies to explain it.

Not solving problems doesn't have to be a conscious decision. As Upton Sinclair put it, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."


Oh, well if Upton Sinclair said it, I guess it is beyond reproach and shame on us for not accepting it as fact.
Quoting people is one of my biggest pet peeves, especially long dead people.  One of the ones I see around here a lot is the "Those that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security..." by Ben Franklin.  First, it's almost always misquoted, and second, the dude's been dead 200 years!  What makes him qualified to pass judgement on today's society?
 
2013-06-07 01:56:04 PM

jayhawk88: To your left are single mothers, 80% of whom, according to the US Census,  are poor or hovering on the nasty edges of working poverty.  They are struggling to raise their kids in a country that seems to conspire against  any semblance of proper rearing: a lack of flexibility in the workplace; a lack of free or affordable after-school programs;  an abysmal public education system where a testing-mad, criminally-deficient curriculum is taught during a too-short school day; an inescapable lurid wallpaper of sex and violence that covers every surface of  society;  a cultural disregard for intelligence, empathy and respect;  a cultural imperative to look hot, spend money and own the latest "it"-device (or should I say i-device) no matter what it costs, no matter how little money Mum may have.

And all of these problems will be magically solved if only the damned 'ole government would just get out of the way, right? Christ Almighty...


Only if you get government out of the way, so big corporate hierarchies can get in the way. Don't even think the words "union" or "co-op", or you'll kill the magic.
 
2013-06-07 01:56:15 PM
article was too long. can i just get coffee with the author for an hour, instead?
 
2013-06-07 01:56:45 PM

Satanic_Hamster: Peter von Nostrand: How refreshing, someone complaining that government can't do anything and is the problem

Oh, it's better then that.

A blog biatching that the government can't do anything.  A blog that's hosted on....  Mit.edu.  A state university.  A government run institution.


Uh, they do take plenty of government money, but just because it has "Massachusetts" in its name doesn't mean it's run by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
 
2013-06-07 01:56:58 PM
The opposite of PROgress is CONgress! Both sides are bad - so you gotta vote on what really matters to you and your family: faith, taxation, and you're right to protection from criminals.
 
2013-06-07 01:57:18 PM

jayhawk88: To your left are single mothers, 80% of whom, according to the US Census,  are poor or hovering on the nasty edges of working poverty.  They are struggling to raise their kids in a country that seems to conspire against  any semblance of proper rearing: a lack of flexibility in the workplace; a lack of free or affordable after-school programs;  an abysmal public education system where a testing-mad, criminally-deficient curriculum is taught during a too-short school day; an inescapable lurid wallpaper of sex and violence that covers every surface of  society;  a cultural disregard for intelligence, empathy and respect;  a cultural imperative to look hot, spend money and own the latest "it"-device (or should I say i-device) no matter what it costs, no matter how little money Mum may have.

And all of these problems will be magically solved if only the damned 'ole government would just get out of the way, right? Christ Almighty...


Exactly. Farking. This.   THANK you.
 
2013-06-07 01:57:54 PM

jjorsett: The problem I wish someone would work on is douchebags in government and media who try to tell everyone what their problems are and what they should do about them, usually involving handing over a lot of money, a lot of freedom, or both.


Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
 
2013-06-07 01:58:59 PM

hubiestubert: Neal Stephenson and J. Fredrick George put it all together fairly well in The Cobweb. Folks in bureaucracies don't like to solve problems, but manage them. If you solve a problem, then the issue goes away, and the funding goes away too. Funding, and how that money is thrown around, is what is power in these bureaucracies, and essentially the peen that they wave around to compare to one another.


That's a stupid farking statement, and I usually like Neal Stephenson.

As recent events have proved, you can't solve most problems government tackles, as people are habitually greedy and stupid.  The EPA can never "solve" pollution, the FDA can never "solve" food purity and building codes can't "solve" unsafe construction.
 
d23 [TotalFark]
2013-06-07 01:59:54 PM
So the definitive answer is, of course, to shut the government down and let the corporations take over.  There must have been no reason for the government to be formed in the first place.

Except for those that "big guys taking all the little guy's shiat" business, but since we're the big guys now who gives a fark about that.
 
2013-06-07 02:00:10 PM

Marcus Aurelius: This crap started with Reagan.  First you foul up a government program with legislative stupidity, and then you say "Look!  See!  The government is all farked up!"


The logic of it is particularly absurd.

1) Government creates problems
2) But it doesn't create problems everywhere - lots of places have perfectly reasonable governments
3) So it must be american government that creates problems
4) Which is odd because it's also simultaneously the greatest system of government ever divised
 
2013-06-07 02:00:55 PM

Satanic_Hamster: Peter von Nostrand: How refreshing, someone complaining that government can't do anything and is the problem

Oh, it's better then that.

A blog biatching that the government can't do anything.  A blog that's hosted on....  Mit.edu.  A state university.  A government run institution.


Oh yeah, full retard FTW
 
d23 [TotalFark]
2013-06-07 02:02:08 PM

Tigger: Marcus Aurelius: This crap started with Reagan.  First you foul up a government program with legislative stupidity, and then you say "Look!  See!  The government is all farked up!"

The logic of it is particularly absurd.

1) Government creates problems
2) But it doesn't create problems everywhere - lots of places have perfectly reasonable governments
3) So it must be american government that creates problems
4) Which is odd because it's also simultaneously the greatest system of government ever divised


and it (5) the government is mostly being directed through lobbyists and big-money donations, who is really to blame for the bad government?
 
2013-06-07 02:02:23 PM

Gulper Eel: jjorsett: The problem I wish someone would work on is douchebags in government and media who try to tell everyone what their problems are and what they should do about them, usually involving handing over a lot of money, a lot of freedom, or both.

Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.


This is exactly why purchasing items in a store has never and will never work. After all, the small green pieces of paper I hand the cashier don't want ribeye steaks. I do. How ridiculous of me to think that moving around small green pieces of paper that don't want steak could possibly result in me acquiring steak! Ridiculous!
 
2013-06-07 02:03:14 PM

Tigger: Marcus Aurelius: This crap started with Reagan.  First you foul up a government program with legislative stupidity, and then you say "Look!  See!  The government is all farked up!"

The logic of it is particularly absurd.

1) Government creates problems
2) But it doesn't create problems everywhere - lots of places have perfectly reasonable governments
3) So it must be american government that creates problems
4) Which is odd because it's also simultaneously the greatest system of government ever divised


The answer to #2 is either "all gummint is bad, you just don't KNOW" (from people who aren't anarchists and as soon as you're not looking they'll be sucking off the cops and lining up for their Social Security checks) or "it doesn't work here because Americans are uniquely terrible at everything and corrupt and evil and stupid and furthermore we're the greatest country in the world".
 
2013-06-07 02:04:26 PM

thurstonxhowell: Gulper Eel: jjorsett: The problem I wish someone would work on is douchebags in government and media who try to tell everyone what their problems are and what they should do about them, usually involving handing over a lot of money, a lot of freedom, or both.

Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

This is exactly why purchasing items in a store has never and will never work. After all, the small green pieces of paper I hand the cashier don't want ribeye steaks. I do. How ridiculous of me to think that moving around small green pieces of paper that don't want steak could possibly result in me acquiring steak! Ridiculous!


Wooosh of the highest order. This guy does not know where his towel is at.
 
2013-06-07 02:06:29 PM

LasersHurt: thurstonxhowell: Gulper Eel: jjorsett: The problem I wish someone would work on is douchebags in government and media who try to tell everyone what their problems are and what they should do about them, usually involving handing over a lot of money, a lot of freedom, or both.

Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

This is exactly why purchasing items in a store has never and will never work. After all, the small green pieces of paper I hand the cashier don't want ribeye steaks. I do. How ridiculous of me to think that moving around small green pieces of paper that don't want steak could possibly result in me acquiring steak! Ridiculous!

Wooosh of the highest order. This guy does not know where his towel is at.


I know where the quote is from. It works well when you leave it there. Here, not so much.
 
2013-06-07 02:07:35 PM

Arkanaut: Uh, they do take plenty of government money, but just because it has "Massachusetts" in its name doesn't mean it's run by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


shiat, you're right, it's a private university.  Thought it was state run.
 
2013-06-07 02:08:30 PM

A Dark Evil Omen: Tigger: Marcus Aurelius: This crap started with Reagan.  First you foul up a government program with legislative stupidity, and then you say "Look!  See!  The government is all farked up!"

The logic of it is particularly absurd.

1) Government creates problems
2) But it doesn't create problems everywhere - lots of places have perfectly reasonable governments
3) So it must be american government that creates problems
4) Which is odd because it's also simultaneously the greatest system of government ever divised

The answer to #2 is either "all gummint is bad, you just don't KNOW" (from people who aren't anarchists and as soon as you're not looking they'll be sucking off the cops and lining up for their Social Security checks) or "it doesn't work here because Americans are uniquely terrible at everything and corrupt and evil and stupid and furthermore we're the greatest country in the world".


I do find amusing the conviction with which some will preach at you, from the steps of the Capitol building, that Government is the problem while completely ignoring the roads, bridges, and organized, standardized signage that allowed them speedy and safe transit, not to mention their ability to spout, reliably free from government persecution, their misguided hate and vitriol.
 
2013-06-07 02:08:36 PM

thurstonxhowell: LasersHurt: thurstonxhowell: Gulper Eel: jjorsett: The problem I wish someone would work on is douchebags in government and media who try to tell everyone what their problems are and what they should do about them, usually involving handing over a lot of money, a lot of freedom, or both.

Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

This is exactly why purchasing items in a store has never and will never work. After all, the small green pieces of paper I hand the cashier don't want ribeye steaks. I do. How ridiculous of me to think that moving around small green pieces of paper that don't want steak could possibly result in me acquiring steak! Ridiculous!

Wooosh of the highest order. This guy does not know where his towel is at.

I know where the quote is from. It works well when you leave it there. Here, not so much.


Oh you.
 
2013-06-07 02:15:11 PM

jjorsett: involving handing over a lot of money, a lot of freedom


Known to the rest of us as paying taxes and obeying laws.
 
2013-06-07 02:17:11 PM

Tomahawk513: A Dark Evil Omen: Tigger: Marcus Aurelius: This crap started with Reagan.  First you foul up a government program with legislative stupidity, and then you say "Look!  See!  The government is all farked up!"

The logic of it is particularly absurd.

1) Government creates problems
2) But it doesn't create problems everywhere - lots of places have perfectly reasonable governments
3) So it must be american government that creates problems
4) Which is odd because it's also simultaneously the greatest system of government ever divised

The answer to #2 is either "all gummint is bad, you just don't KNOW" (from people who aren't anarchists and as soon as you're not looking they'll be sucking off the cops and lining up for their Social Security checks) or "it doesn't work here because Americans are uniquely terrible at everything and corrupt and evil and stupid and furthermore we're the greatest country in the world".

I do find amusing the conviction with which some will preach at you, from the steps of the Capitol building, that Government is the problem while completely ignoring the roads, bridges, and organized, standardized signage that allowed them speedy and safe transit, not to mention their ability to spout, reliably free from government persecution, their misguided hate and vitriol.


We have the greastest system of government ever divised that is the source of all our country's problems and must be stopped at all costs.

When you're comfortable with that sort of doublethink the resulting gibberish doesn't even register.
 
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