20 November, 2007

Government screw ups

One of the more boring reasons why I don't like a DNA database is I don't trust the government not to screw it up. Geeklawyer seems to agree as does Charon.

Actually, this is a small aspect of a wider question that I have. One of the reasons I am suspicious of government intervention is that I don't trust the government to act in a better manner than any other group of people. I trust governments to run a country in the best way possible as much as I would trust a company (GB PLC?), the woman's institute or a bunch of debaters. I have heard many times words to the effect that 'multi-national/big companies can't be trusted as all they want to do is make a profit'. Assuming companies are solely profit motivated in the short run (which I don't), I still wonder why a company- whose stated aim is to get money from people- is less trustworthy than a bunch of people who self-selected themselves to run a country (no ego or power issues there!). All groups of people are, on average, equally prone to mistakes, selfishness and short-sightedness.

The irony is that governments would, certainly in the SR, appear to be less accountable than companies. We choose a government once every five years from a very small selection of people. We interact with companies every day of the week and can virtually always choose an alternative if we don't like the behaviour of one. Whatever your views on the war on Iraq, a huge number of people protested against it and nothing happened. At a similar time, Mars announced that Mars Bars would not be vegetarian. Within a week it had reversed this as people wrote and complained.


geeklawyer said...

oddly, the language of the emails from civil servants on this matter talked of "costs to the business" which I thought to be weird - and on point with your comments on businesses and trustworthiness.

I think it odd for government to be talking of itself as a 'business' with the needs to be minimising costs.

Liz Ford said...

Well, if the royal family can be 'the firm', maybe it set a trend?