Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beyond Satire

This is a very thought provoking article about the benefits to society from the collapse of large
software projects:

I literally can't tell whether it's meant seriously or not. And obviously I am too lazy to check his facts in even the most cursory way.

The thesis is that the size of the Australian Tax Office is politically determined at about 1% of GDP,
and that the vast office productivity gains that have occurred since the 1960s have been entirely swallowed up by expanding regulation.

There's a lovely statistic about productivity in kilopages of tax regulations administered per unit GDP which shows that the ability of the tax office to administer regulation has gone through the roof while the number of people working there has stayed constant.

The article ties in quite nicely with my theory that the bewildering complexity of tax laws may be the result of an arms race between the Government and the population.

If we can also assume that computerization makes private accountants more productive, which is to say that more real citizens can use their services, then there will be more money flowing through the loopholes that accountants will find, hence more regulations and complexity to close the loopholes.

There is a monster here that feeds on itself, absorbing a reasonably fixed percentage of everybody's effort in activities that nobody enjoys.

I wonder if there is a way to tame it?

Or perhaps we should just marvel at the beauty of it all, as we do with lions and antelopes.

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