Great piece in the NY Times recently by John Brooks.
Brooks comes up with a helpful formulation: Economy I & II
The former comprises private sector companies like Apple, Amazon, Toyota and GE.
These companies face withering competition every day.
As a result, they're wonderful at creating value, but not so good at creating jobs.
Economy II, by contrast, comprises government and quasi-government organizations like schools, universities and hospitals.
These organizations face comparatively little competition (or in the case of government agencies, none at all.)
As a result, they're wasteful and inefficient -- but good at creating 'jobs', of a sort.
Lean thinkers will argue that a job by definition is an activity that creates value for a customer.
Seen in this light, is a job in a suffocating bureaucracy that serves no one, truly a job?
I don't want to be misunderstood. Economy II is full of smart dedicated people who work hard and want to do the right thing.
They deserve what Deming called the 'pride of workman ship'.
They deserve to be involved in managing and designing their work. Given the opportunity, I've found they're very good at it.
The bigger problem is that Economy I organizations are no longer able to pay for Economy II.
As a result Economy II is bankrupting the state. Seen in this light, Greece is the proverbial canary in the coal mine.
Wither thou goest, go I.
Most western economies will hit the same wall before long.
What to do?
More next time.