Inefficiency is OK when it is unsystematic.
What I mean, is, imagine you are in a system and everything is in flux, pretty-much chaos – like the current state of the UK government.
Well, that is one thing.
It is explicable.
We are humans, we have neurology, personalities, self-interest, hormones, obsessions and all the rest; human all too human, type thing.
I can cope if someone bumps into my car because they are texting on their phone – they are being stupid, inattentive and irresponsible. You see, humans do these things; I will still be very angry, but, in the greater scheme of things it will make sense; round peg in round hole.
The other type of inefficiency is more insidious and there is a fine line between it and all the conspiracy theories that rock the youtube.
In its most overt form, you see people working to rule; this results in delays, congestion, disruption and ultimately collapse. Our society is based upon a flexible interpretation of the rules, with allowances made for the odd jay-walker or person breaking with social norms – perhaps, swearing in public or dropping litter; again, these are bad things but, we wouldn’t want people shot or incarcerated for these irresponsible acts.
Conspiracy theories are also used by powerful people to manipulate the innate human tendency towards fear, to worry that something might be wrong and take action that is mitigating or protecting; vote for the right-wing, say, this is an action that is based wholly in self-interest that is, fear.
Brexit – fear of immigrant hordes taking our jobs; a cynical trope, manipulated to incredible effect by some in authority.
No, no, my idea is far more insidious.
You ask for A, B or C, quite logical and straightforward and, for whatever reason it doesn’t happen; you excuse this as inherent systematic barriers, rules and regulations that affect everyone.
It is when you see that someone else, perhaps, calling A, B and C a different name, succeeds in their actions, that you begin to question.
When you want to recruit Jonas to an office job to support you and, for whatever reason Jonas doesn’t get the job; the advert, recruitment or workforce issues block the action.
Again, you accept that we are in a time of austerity, and, when the money is tight, resources are directed to where they are most needed.
What happens however, when you find that specific, meticulous, to-the-moment planning has happened and the world is transformed when you back is turned?
I’ll illustrate to make this more comprehensible.
Say, you walk through town and see shops here and there, in different stages of renovation, foreclosure or collapse – yes, the standard UK town high street in the current era.
Yet, between Monday and Tuesday one abandoned wreck is transformed into a gleaming, state of the art facility; I don’t know, maybe selling bagels.
You realise that in order for this bagel emporium to have appeared so suddenly there must have been planning, coordination and organisation; a different rule applies to this compared to all the other broken-down facilities you gave been walking past.
You see that the norm, the inefficiency that was accepted as just the way things are is actually an option, a choice and perhaps within the constraints of design, just as much as the new bagel shop. Let’s call it ‘Bagels R’ Us’.
I encountered this a few months ago after watching the Netflix short, ‘Bandersnatch’ – my son and I drove down to Birmingham to check-out the pop-up shop that appeared in the centre of town; It was the recreation of a 1980’s video-game newsagent of the type that I used to visit when a boy.
Just as with the decision-making TV show, there was amazing, meticulous planning.
It showed what we can do when we want to succeed and we share a common goal; in this case, recreating a sliver of 1983.
This is efficiency.
This might sound paranoid; I assure you it is not the case, it is a reality, that I will one day describe to you all. Just, not now.
So, sloppy, irresponsible, even, idiotic, I can accept, I see this as the human condition; like an apple falling from the tree. Engineered inefficiency, coordinated failure, that is another matter.