The virtue of doing nothing

Interesting exchange from Andrew Bolt and Josh Frydenberg on cutting red tape:

ANDREW BOLT: Alright. Well, look, all this goes to a philosophy, right? Now, the former productivity commissioner - commission chairman, Gary Banks, said, you know, politicians who pass silly laws are just really doing something - they’re showing the public they’re doing something, getting a reward for it. I would hope that this government is looking at saying, Well sometimes, doing nothing is the best thing, and the public just have to get used to it.” What are you doing to show that you are a doing-nothing Government, so to speak, rather than always doing-something useless Government? JOSH FRYDENBERG: Look, you’re absolutely right, Andrew. The last government gave us 21,000 additional regulations. And would you believe that the carbon tax, the mining tax, the NBN, were never subject to a regulatory impact statement. We’ve said, Enough is enough with that.” So what we’ve done is put out a new handbook for the public servants, for the bureaucrats, which have said, Look at the options available to you. One of those options is no regulation.” ANDREW BOLT: Doing nothing. JOSH FRYDENBERG: Doing nothing. ANDREW BOLT: The virtue of doing nothing. JOSH FRYDENBERG: Exactly right. ANDREW BOLT: I’m very keen on the virtue of doing nothing. JOSH FRYDENBERG: And the other thing that we’ve done, is we’ve said we’re going to incentivise the public servants to cut red and green tape. So we’ve said to them, If you want a promotion, if you want a higher remuneration, you will be judged by your proven ability to cut red and green tape, not how much regulation you’ve introduced.”

This is interesting. There are few governments who value the virtue of doing nothing. They are talking about changing the incentives for public servants to do nothing which is important if this needs to be achieved. A lot of times, more laws, more regulations are not the solution. Reminds me of this Drucker quote:

There is nothing quite so useless, as doing with great efficiency, something that should not be done at all.”


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