Screwupistan in action - satire on the inherent dysfunctionality of government

Screwupistan in action – satire on the inherent dysfunctionality of government

November 14, 2010
in Category: Uncategorized
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(an excerpt from the book “The Madhouse” by yours truly, available at

Naturally, when government fails in an area, the ones in charge call for more funds, essentially making failure the optimal business plan. The practical application of the broken window fallacy becomes both to identify functional things as broken, and make sure the work that’s supposedly aimed at restoring them, rather keeps them broken. Big government is to society what cancer is to the human body – it only devours functional tissue, it can’t solve anything or even support itself, but dependent on healthy tissue upon which it attaches itself like a parasite.

Another way to look at the process is this one: Let’s assume for a moment that government employees are altruistic and desire nothing more than to successfully do their jobs. In a hypothetical soon-to-be socialist utopia called Screwupistan, the government hires two people to take care of society’s problems. Let’s say they work with addiction treatment and that that is something that other people than the addicts themselves can treat. Government worker #1, named Joe, is a skilled person who succeeds at anything he takes upon himself, while worker #2, named Bill, is a failure at everything, never having managed to get anything right in his life. Society’s drug abusers are split evenly between the two to treat. Joe manages to get all his addicts to quit drugs during the first year he’s employed. The addicts assigned to Bill are all still on drugs by the end of the year on the other hand.

When Screwupistan plans the budget for the next year, they see that Joe doesn’t have a workload, there’s no need to keep him employed any longer, hence he’s fired. Bill on the other hand still has the same work burden on his shoulder, so the government keeps him. By the end of the second year, not a single person in his care has quit drugs either. Out in society, people that formerly saw staying off drugs as something you had to do for your own sake, or you’d risk ending up as a drug addict with a ruined life, now start to feel that they can do drugs when they feel like it since society will take care of them. Hence by the end of year #2, Screwupistan has gained new drug addicts requiring no less than four people in total employed in addiction treatment.

For year #3, the government keeps Bill employed, and also employs his equally clueless twin brother Robert. Like Bill, Robert fails at everything he does, making him perfect for a government position. The government also hires Lisa, who’s a good worker who can solve the tasks she’s presented with, and on top of that hires Jimmy, who witnessed what happened during year #1 of the government addiction treatment. It’s hard to say whether Jimmy can really solve problems, but this doesn’t matter, since he’s learned that in order to keep a government job, you have to fail at the task or you’ll lose the job. By the end of year #3, Lisa has managed to get her addicts off drugs, while the ones assigned to Bill, Robert and Jimmy are all still on them. Joe on the other hand is paying 90% taxes on his job in the private sector to pay for their services. For the next year, Lisa is fired while the extended family of Bill and Robert start to flock to government, using their relatives on the inside as a way in, and plenty of people who would earlier have worked in the private sector in jobs that required you to do them right, started migrating towards government jobs out of convenience. In the end, Screwupistan had nothing left but drug addicts and government workers tasked with treating them. Joe ultimately committed suicide when the government started demanding 99% of his income, and then Screwupistan collapsed.

This is a simplification of the actual process that takes place in government, when you assign it the task of solving problems. Hence, when looking at government as a solution for problems, you can view it in terms of the movie “The Matrix,” with the familiar red and blue pills there. The blue pill preserves the illusion under whose influence people in general are deceived about the state of the world, while the red pill wakes you up to reality. It’s apparent that government can’t solve anything, so what are you going to do about the ever-increasing problems of the Western world? If you take the red pill, you see reality but become depressed since you realize that the world as we know it is disintegrating. With the blue pill, you can tell yourself there’s a future in socialism. Ignorance is bliss?

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Daniel Hammarberg

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