Unnecessary people

I was kind of musing on the road to ruination we are all skipping merrily down the other day when it occurred to me that there are some well-defined classes of people whose activities are the major reason why things are a mess. And the next thought was: who could we do without, and who would we be better off if they were on Ark B?

My suggestions:

  • Marketers and public relations professionals.
  • Board members.
  • Education administrators (by which I mean the bureaucrats who make the make-work the rest of us have to administer).
  • Around 90% of health bureaucrats.
  • Political commentators and all journalists who interview other journalists, even on news broadcasts.
  • Sports commentators.
  • Sports administrators (hey, people will play and follow sport if it’s interesting enough).
  • Arts funding bodies (ditto).
  • IT policy makers.
  • Economists (the ones that do the academic kind of economics who end up running things for governments).
  • Social workers.
  • Counsellors. Pick a variety, it’s all the same.
  • Military strategists in times of peace.
  • Anyone who teaches any of the above.
  • Ministers and departments in national governments for:
    • Telecommunications (who can ride that tiger?)
    • Transport (ditto)
    • Sport (see above)
    • Tourism (if you’ve got it and it’s worth visiting, why do you need a government department?)
    • Ageing (you’re going to do it no matter what, and if they aren’t providing you health or welfare services, then the problem lies in the health and welfare departments)
    • Mental health (these departments are better thought of as departments opposed to the treatment and care of the mentally ill)
    • Social inclusion (whatnow?)
    • Any ministry which deals with issues that are unknown before about five years ago (they’re made up for political purposes in that case).

Eliminating these people [i.e., their professions; possibly not the individuals themselves. They could be retrained to do something useful, perhaps] would free up trillions of dollars, and make those who actually do the “coalface” work on which they all parasitise free to provide the actual services.

And next, let’s kill all the lawyers

32 thoughts on “Unnecessary people

  1. I somehow can’t help but being confused by the notion that it is the people (or the professions) that are the problem. Basically none of those listed above are doing something that is bad for society by necessity. It is only when all things come together in the immensely complex process of society that they don’t look good.

    We shouldn’t be dispensing with professions, we should be dispensing with the social processes that incentivize and select for non-optimal behaviour.


    1. Aren’t status and stigma part of the social process that selects for “non-optimal” (or antisocial/parasitic) behavior?

      My main complaint with this sort of list is that it is easy to write off as just snarkiness. For instance, I think that some marketers do worthwhile work (identifying the market value of a service and matching supply with demand), so to really stigmatize anti-social marketing, we need to distinguish it from pro-social marketing.


  2. I bet you could move to someplace where there are not a lot of those listed. Somalia and the Haitian refugee camps come to mind.


    1. Yes, I could. I could also hope to live in a society where people do what they need to do but not overburden social resources by make-work and bureaucracy for its own sake. Hoping for the latter does not imply a social anarchy or failure of civilisation, and it is a false dichotomy to suggest that it does. I’m not a libertarian, and that is not what I’m suggesting.


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