benicek: (Default)
Brilliant, solid non-partisan journalism in the current issue of Private Eye magazine. See the full article under the cut.

"The beauty of the revolving door is that it obviates the need for anything so grubby [as corruption]. In place of brown envelopes come quiet, even subconscious, thoughts in a minister's or mandarin's head. The revolving door removes all tension between the state and private sector with which it should deal objectively. Both sectors end up employing the same people and they think in the same way. No part of government now questions the market in public services such as health, for example. Perhaps even more than lobbying and hospitality, the revolving door creates the uniformity of thinking between gamekeeper and poacher, purchaser and provider or even regulator and the regulated, that invariably ends in disasters, up to and including the financial crisis"

I'm afraid this is the sort of complex social structural issue that any real radical left politics in Britain is going to have to address. It's corruption which transcends anything illegal, and which is now so culturally embedded that even its perpetrators often do not understand themselves as morally compromised. To say we want to save the NHS, create cost-efficient public transport, good-value defence procurement and so on is one thing, but to do so simply will not be in the long-term career interests of the very same ambitious and capable individuals (explicitly selected for these qualities) who will be charged with the task of bringing about these changes. If selfless devotion to 'the public good' is not expected or required (e.g. the Hippocratic oath) and, more importantly, not socially rewarded, then it's not going to happen. Raging at a 'parasite elite' may be an understandable left-wing reaction, but it doesn't alter that fact that this is the elite which mainstream society, which largely approves of all legal money-seeking behaviour, has itself created, holds up as a model and aspires to join. 

Full article scanned here..... )

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