By: Mitja Iršič
Slovenia is currently shaken by two scandals, revealing the careless spending of taxpayers’ money in government administration. The first involves the purchase of unnecessary outdated laptops, which are now sitting in storage, awaiting retroactive justification by the government. The second concerns an overpriced dilapidated building on Litijska Street in Ljubljana, which could potentially undermine the government.
Every time, we witness stories of officials and bureaucrats not adhering to the principles of a good steward in managing public funds. And every time, we tend to believe it is the immoral, corrupt, and greedy official or bureaucrat to blame, rather than realising that it is an anomaly in the system’s governance, virtually built into its essence.
On an instinctive level, we all know that human beings tend to handle their own resources more carefully than someone else’s. By definition, government administrations are groups of people dealing with somebody else’s money. If they squander it, nothing personally harmful will happen to them, especially in countries of the Russian type, to which unfortunately, we belong, where immunity from mistakes and even intentional acts of harming public finances is almost guaranteed.
BY DEFINITION, GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATIONS ARE GROUPS OF PEOPLE DEALING WITH SOMEBODY ELSE’S MONEY.
The solution is not in better management of public funds. That is a mirage. The situation where people dealing with somebody else’s money control other people dealing with somebody else’s money is like the scorpion in the famous fable that always stings the frog, as it is in its nature. Politicians will always spend our money less cautiously than we would ourselves. This is the nature of the system. We will have to come to terms with this and vote for politicians who, instead of better managing an ever-expanding state, promise less state and more private enterprise initiative. Less central planning in the economy and more individual initiative. Fewer people dealing with somebody else’s money and more individuals risking their own money. By the nature of political ideologies, the right advocates for such a state. Therefore, do not fall for the worn-out clichés about the welfare state. Behind them, there are dozens of overpriced buildings, outdated laptops, and generously rewarding friendly non-governmental organisations. If you want less corruption, demand less state.