Let us take a look at the latest controversy in Dutchlandia: underpaid elementary school teachers. It is a repeat of the age-old story of democracy:
1. [insert government workers] are underpaid and overworked
2. politicians promise mountains of gold
3. politicians are elected
4. mountains are watered down to mole hills
5. [insert government workers] strike for a couple of days
6. little changes.
So are elementary school teachers underpaid? Yes, I believe they are, that they are treated like crap compared to the amount of work that is required of them. Yet I am reminded of the Moldbug quote: seems to me patient has died a while ago, yet here we are trying to arrange a liver transplant.
Elementary school, in its most basic essence, is a glorified day care center taking care for children aged 4 – 12. The education-part is vastly overrated. As if most kids learn anything from books. As if teachers are inspirational role models. Lol. “take care of my kid, deliver him back happy and don’t get caught up in any holiness spiral”, asks every father. Yeah so much for that. In our modern wave of holiness spiralling, education has become an uncontrollable monstrosity.
We need only to look at the festering bureaucracy. Most of the teachers’ time goes into administration. Every urinal visit, fart and burp of every child in the classroom has to be recorded. Today little Timmy pulled Jessica’s hair. Clearly this has to be reported to the teacher’s committee, Timmy’s parents, the school counselor and perhaps it is prudent to alert a psychologist? Bureaucracy is the time-killer.
Bureaucracy is also a fuck you to its employees. To elementary school teachers it basically says this: we do not trust you. We do not trust your ability to do your job. We want you to be self-conscious all the time, we want you to justify and doubt your decisions every single day, we want you to live in the ever present fear of social stigmatisation. We do not trust you.
The reason for this is that the purpose of bureaucracy is not efficiency (it is in fact exceedingly inefficient), it is compensating a lack of trust. Evolutionistx wrote a nice post related to this. She compares the American constitution (8000 words) with the Affordable Care Act (360.000 words) and attributes the explosion of words to the collapse of small, organic communities. I agree with this. Lifelong friends need only a few words to understand one another. Lifelong strangers demand a multi-thousand word contract be set-up so they can’t be screwed over. This exact same problem is what defines modern bureaucracy. Because there is no trust we demand excessive accountability.
But without trust there can be no flow, no amused mastery. Those who are best at their work are those who are shortest in their administration, exactly because they understand the superfluousness of said administration.
I mean, is 30.000 words of teacher reports on little Timmy’s restless behaviour in class actually helping Timmy? Yes, the teacher says, for the psychiatrist can use it to diagnose ADD and prescribe medicine. But in actuality it did not help, because the psychiatrist has no time to read 30.000 word reports and besides, he has his own 50.000 word report on little Timmy to write! And neither is the psychiatrist’s report helping Timmy in any way, for the document is merely a 50.000-word rationalisation on why the psychiatrist is correct in prescribing medication (spoiler: it is because Timmy can not sit still for 8 hours a day). We are not using the administration to help kids, we are using it to cover our ass, are forced to cover our ass.
Truth is, the best things we do often go untold. Implicit code generally works better than explicit code. Language is an imitation of reality, not the other way around. Once reports take precedence over reality it is a sure sign of decay, for people are no longer incentivised to do what is right, instead they are incentivised to make sure the report makes them look right.