Which is the Biggest Pollutant?

Advancing technology has brought with it lots of nifty toys and tools but nothing comes for free. The trade-off is some of the worst environmental pollution in human history.

Likewise, the highly structured and organised system of government that helps our lives to run so smoothly and easily (bless the wheelie bins) has brought with it huge levels of bureaucracy. Death by 1000 lashes – of red tape.

Both environmental pollution and bureaucratic pollution have the same effect on their environments; they stifle diversity of species (or ideas), create a stagnant environment in which life struggles to thrive, and may cause mass proliferation of noxious micro-organisms (e.g. bacteria, algae).

Contemporary society is built on the twin scourges of pollution and bureaucracy but these need to be managed and controlled to ensure they don’t cannibalise the host. But this is a tricky balancing act. In order to eliminate pollution, we would need to forfeit much of our technology, and the complete elimination of bureaucracy could create societal chaos. Clearly these are not realistic options.

But allowing technology to proliferate unchecked will result in the destruction of our environment and ultimately life as we know it. And allowing bureaucracy to grow unchecked may cause the costs of operating society to grow so large that nobody can reasonably afford the benefits which bureaucrats are supposedly administering.

Experts say the environment could reach a point of no return within decades if we don’t act now. How long before bureaucracy becomes so unwieldy that it halts the progress of the very social functions it is meant to promote?

The trouble with bureaucratic systems is they are created by the same people who will benefit from their growth. So for public servants to advance their careers, they need a bigger public service and more bureaucracy to do so. And who has the power to make a public service bigger? Public servants! So the red tape proliferates, keeping the bureaucrats in occupied with ever-increasing amounts of potentially pointless activity designed to keep them in a job.

This is a problem that can be identified in all facets of society, from health care to national defence. The education sector is no exception. Where once the primary role of educational institutions was to educate, they are now knotted up like pretzels trying to fulfil endless accreditation, auditing, assessing, evaluation and reporting requirements which offer little benefit to students and kill many trees with their resultant paperwork.

So bureaucrats suckles freely on budgets that should be spent on improving the quality of teaching and learning. Such a system will inevitably skeletonise the very services the bureaucracy was created to advance.

By John Mason The Careers Guide www.thecareersguide.com

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