Not content with pursuing macroeconomic policies designed to stifle economic recovery, our odious Chancellor has made clear that public sector "reform" is all about instilling "fear" in public sector workers at the microeconomic level (http://m.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jul/30/public-sector-jobs-oliver-letwin?cat=politics&type=article).
This idea - that we need the "stick" of fear to improve productivity in the public sector reveals both the ideology and class bias and prejudice behind Government policy.
First, it is clear that little Oliver really believes that there is something called the "discipline" of the market and that by creating fake "market" structures and imposing them upon public services, we shall have the benefit of this discipline.
(What is it about public schoolboys and "discipline" and why do the rest of us have to be part of it? At least Max Moseley tried to keep it all behind closed doors!)
It is possible to show, theoretically, that in certain precise circumstances (which could not exist in reality) perfectly competitive markets could produce "optimal resource allocation" where all "the factors of production" are applied most efficiently to meeting the demand from consumers. That insight provides no basis however, either in theory or practice, to conclude that an increase in managed competition in the delivery of public services will improve productivity (the measurement of which is in any case deeply problematic).
Little Oliver has a faith in the "discipline" of the market, but that's all it is - it has no basis beyond his warped belief system.
After all, Letwin's chums in banking were all part of a competitive "market" - and look how well that turned out in 2008!
The comparison with the bankers (and also with benefit claimants) shows the class prejudice underpinning Letwin's kindegarten economics.
On planet Letwin, public sector workers share with benefit claimants, a need for the "stick" of discipline, whether to shake us from our unproductive torpor in the workplace or to goad us into jobseeking. Those of us doing least well from this "market economy" must be threatened with worse in order to improve our performance. It's clearly the only language we "oiks" understand.
In the Board Rooms and on the trading floors however, better performance has to be incentivised with handsome bonuses and share options. To motivate gentlemen (and a few ladies) who share little Oliver's background, it is the "carrot" of reward which the market deploys, in its impersonal wisdom, to drive improvement.
After all, Oliver knows that he - and decent people like him - are motivated by being rewarded, whereas "oiks" obviously need a different approach.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange