CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary

A Smarter Approach to Power - email sent 4/11/13

Mark Textor

Re: ‘How power is a house of horrors’, Financial Review, 4/11/13

Your article pointed (amongst other things) to the ‘zombification’ that can result when ‘campaign-honed, focused advice fed by non-government economist, think tanks and academics’ is replaced by bureaucratic advice.

However that ‘campaign-honed, focused advice’ will only ever deal with a fraction of the issues / constraints that governments actually have to deal with. And in recent years political frustration with having to come to grips with broader realities has often led attempt to bypass / ignore them. Some observations about the consequences are in Reversing Queensland's Institutional Decay.

The latter includes suggestions that it would be smart to recognise that there is a gap between the simplified rhetoric of political debate and the complexity of actual government – and that government can’t just be responsive to what amounts to academic / idealised theories. There is great value in vigorous political debate as a basis for determining which factions have majority public support. However presuming that the ideologies developed during such debates are an adequate basis for effective government is very damaging (eg consider the debacle that resulted in one case from ruthless implementation of ‘academic’ theories by those with essentially no practical experience).

John Craig