Alphabet of Classical liberalism 2: Stop the bureaucracy

Bureaucrats. Receipts, Statements. Forms. Paperwork. More Forms. Rubber Stamps. It has no end!? It can only be stopped!!

The Alphabet of Classical Liberalism was a successful small book focused on describing the basic principles of classical liberalism. It was first published by the F. A. Hayek Foundation Bratislava, Slovakia in 2001.

Now it comes in the form of animated videos prepared with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

The video introduces Adam (the namesake of the famous Adam Smith), a classical liberal and his worldview dealing with many of current problems.

Adam presents the problem of bureaucracy from the point of view of classical liberalism. He reveals how the problem of bureaucracy could be solved and why the solution proposed by classical liberalism makes sense.

Alphabet of Classical liberalism: Stop the bureaucracy

Hi, I’m Adam, and you’ve probably come across at least one of these before. And if not, believe me, at some point, you definitely will. What am I referring to? It’s called bureaucracy! You go to the municipal office — Bureaucracy. You go to the tax office — Bureaucracy. You want to get a job. Give us some certificates, references, and more forms. It’s obvious that Bureaucracy is everywhere, but can it be stopped at all?

As a Classical liberal, I know that something can be done about bureaucracy. What can be done? Classical liberalism points out that excessive bureaucracy is primarily associated with a large public sector. Yes, there is also bureaucracy in the private sector but instead, every entrepreneur is motivated to be efficient. Inefficiency is punishable. How? In the worst possible way! By losing customers.

Public administration audits are meant to reduce public sector bureaucracy. They review internal management processes, find out who is responsible for what, and are able to suggest more economical ways to do things. However, the fight against bureaucracy does not start with e-government or the fact that we will do everything over the internet or with a better economical organization of public administration. Neither does bureaucracy end with the dismissal of public officials.

What happens if the number of public employees decreases and the number of duties that the authorities must fulfill by law remains unchanged? The result can only be an overburdened employee officer who provides even worse services to the public than before.

And what happens when the administrative duties are moved online? Well, the result is not less bureaucracy — the bureaucracy has simply taken on a different form. I might not have to go to the office, but I still have to fill out forms and complete notifications. Thus, e-government is not in itself a way to reduce bureaucracy. However, it is at least an opportunity to simplify processes, streamline the functioning of public administration, and ultimately meet the needs of us — the citizens.

So how to effectively reduce bureaucracy?

Reducing bureaucracy should go hand in hand with an analysis of laws and regulations. And it is necessary to define what the public body should do and what is no longer needed. Adjusting the laws accordingly and reflect what the public administration system needs to know about us. Nothing more, nothing less.

Bureaucracy can only be reduced by streamlining the range of activities of the public administration system and its officials.

The specific obligation in the law must first be scrapped, and then the official in charge of the obligation can be dismissed. That’s how we will get rid of unnecessary paperwork or having to visit the public offices.

That’s all on this subject. Next time let’s talk about why communism failed. And, why it would always fail. There is no global conspiracy behind this theory or deception of people. You don’t believe it? You’ll see. See you again. Bye!

Matúš Pošvanc and František Chroustal

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