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Post details: Governments will be Governments

Governments will be Governments

As I watched the evening news in my hometown in East Bohemia, I realized that no matter where in the world you are, the governments always display the same propensity for inefficiency and the same insatiable tendency to multiply. And whether you are in Peru, East Timor or in the Czech Republic, they always seem to attract the same kind of people: the kind that puts ambition over passion, the kind that can spend minutes in front of a mirror, rehearsing the most professional looking ways of sitting in front of the cameras, the kind that can produce elaborate, multiple component sentences which, despite being riddled with greek-based words, have about as much content and meaning as the transcript of Larry King's interview with Paris Hilton. But make no mistake, these people are not fools. They just figured that printing money is much easier than earning and managing it.

Unlike private companies whose personnel growth is continuously trimmed down by the forces of fierce competition, governments fatten up largely unchecked and the only exercise they get is an easy jog around the block every four years. But before you write them off as obsolete and half petrified structures that stand in the way of the true progress, consider these two simple facts.

fact 1: less and less people are needed for production of goods
fact 2: there are more and more people

Clearly, there is a contradiction here. On the one hand we procreate at rates that would easily warrant an emergency session of the Rabbits' Security Council, on the other hand, mostly through technological advances, we have less and less work for our fellow men. And what are all those extra hands going to do? Come on, services and health-care can absorb only so much. So here is to inefficient governments! Our knight on the shining white stallion, our miracle sponge that can suck up labor from a virtually unlimited amount of life forms, intelligent or otherwise. And to start with a concrete example of becoming inefficient, here is a suggestion for a set of new guidelines governing the simplest home improvement task - the replacement of a burnt out light bulb.


1. Download in duplicate all the necessary forms, instructions, manuals, evaluation questionnaires and coupons for anti-wrinkle cream; download some unnecessary forms as well (these do not have to be downloaded in duplicate)

2. Please check your Bulb Replacement Status carefully. If you are Married, Screwing Separately, you may need to file Form 56329128323B.

3. Set up the Committee for the Prevention of Unauthorized Repair, the Independent Council for Monitoring the Flow of Family Money, the Alcohol Induced Stupor Clarification Panel, the Alternating Current Regulatory Board and the Flippant Task Force staffed with fully licensed light switch operators.

4. If you have no job, no income and no aspirations, you may be qualified to use the LightBulbEZ procedure. If that is the case, just unscrew the old bulb and replace it with the new one. Otherwise, please continue.

5. Check the desired power output; consult your findings with the local standards, make sure the new light bulb complies with all the federal regulations, in particular with the alternative minimum wattage.

6. Place underneath the light bulb the smaller of the following: a collapsible support table or a construction crane with a horizontally extended jib.

7. Turn the electricity off and step on the table you placed underneath the light. Raise your hand so the bulb you are holding is suspended just beneath the base. Don't move.

8. Enlist 15 volunteers or interns who will grasp the edges of the table on which you stand, lift it so the bulb in your hand will slip into the socket. They will then slowly rotate the table with you on it until the light bulb rests tightly in its spiral.

9. From the orientation of the spin, infer whether the bulb had a right handed screw thread or a left handed one; write a 15 page report about your findings following the guidelines of the Equal Screwing Opportunity Subcommittee; send a copy of your manuscript to every agency that might need it; if in your opinion a given agency won't need it, send them also a translation of the report into French, Danish, Russian and Urdu.

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