domingo, 30 de agosto de 2015

Bureaucracy overdose

I heard once from a supposedly serious man that “the level of development of a country is directly proportional to its degree of bureaucracy. The more you can label property the more industrialized a society is”.
Bullshit all around! Procedures exist as diseases or taxes do, just to ruin our lives and make us miserable. For one thing they solve they complicate a dozen beyond reason.
One of my most hated is the MOT test. Every year I pass between one and two car inspections to prove my vehicles are in good shape, smoke-free and all that stuff. I don’t care about paying. I accept the formality as the lesser of evils because some people have a right to earn their living checking cars as well. What really annoys me is the process itself. All that “turn on right indicator; now the left; the warnings; back fog light...” I think someone invented that test and the velocity of execution just to make users appear as sheer stupids. A visionary worker anywhere throughout Spain realised it was easier to get the drivers out of the car and do most of the testing by themselves. Not all. We still need to put our foot in it for a while.
Second wonder: the income tax return. This one chases you for a working lifetime. I accept we must contribute to retirement pensions and to unemployment benefits, everybody must look after everybody, but there’s no need to readjust the balance. A well designed tax system would be even and fair, without needing further compensation for or against. The quantity of material and human resources saved would be vast. Moreover, the procedure is not easy for the average man or woman. Sometimes, or most of the times, professional aid is needed: a civil servant from the Treasury, the bank clerk, an expert in legal matters or else. In any case, any mistake in the process will be your fault and therefore you are to be fined, even if it was the civil servant who did the formality.
What about buying a house, lending money to a close relative, selling a car or any other not very difficult transanction? Be ready for the apocalypse. To a big deal of papers a lucrative percentage of taxes and commissions for gurus and experts will be added.
Bureaucracy is necessary. Our lives are built on private property and we can’t do without it. But things should –and possibly could– be hugely simplified. Everybody would be happier; everybody but bankers, lawyers, politicians, brokers, state agents and so on. Maybe too many interests to be erradicated all of a sudden.

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