I always knew that this was true, true at least to my own prejudices, but someone's now gone and actually proven it. We're often told that bureaucracy in hte spending of public money is neccessary, and essential manner of protecting the taxpayers' funds. But it can be that the cost of the bureaucracy doing the protecting is higher than the value of the protection:
...we show that the $40,000 (Canadian) cost of preparation for a grant application and rejection by peer review in 2007 exceeded that of giving every qualified investigator a direct baseline discovery grant of $30,000 (average grant).
The bureaucracy used to filter the funds to those researchers deemed worth exceeds the costs of simply giving the money to all researchers that apply.
Which leads to an interesting game that can be played. What we see here is that the cost of administration is higher than the produce of that administration. We're not saying that "frontline services" need to be cut, not at all. We're purely stating that at times and in places the cost of selecting who gets the public money and how is so high that we can simply dole it out without doing any such selecting. We'll get, in fact, more front line servies (in this case research) for the same money. The only people who would lose are the administrators themselvesand we'll all weep a bitter tear for them now, won't we?
The game is of course to see which other similar bureaucracies we think we could abolish and get this benefit from. More services for the same money?
As a start I would propose the Regional Assemblies. Large numbers of the quangos (The Dairy marketing bods for example, the Arts Council maybe?). Much of the NHS oversight panels and management boards. The BERR.
Well, make your own lists, this really could be a game for all the family. Which parts of the bureaucracy would make us better off by their abolishment?