I’ve been watching Boston Legal recently. In it there’s a character called Alan Shore who uses his passionate, mellifluous voice to devastating effect in courtroom closing arguments. In an episode I just watched he argues that the U.S. government should ‘hire the geniuses’, rather than public sector contractor cronies. It’s not actually his best closing (his ‘Free Religion’ one is amazing), but later, talking to his buddy Denny Crane, he says it a lot more succinctly:
Hire the geniuses, not the guy who’s got the best lobbyist, or the rich friend who’ll take you to his quail ranch and let you shoot ‘em. Hire the thinkers [...] Instead of every Tom, Dick and Brownie, let’s turn our visionaries loose.
He makes a damn good point. You would be flabbergasted at the amount of money that governments around the world spend on bloated public sector contracts. Imagine giving ‘The Steves’ (Jobs, Wozniak, Ballmer) just a tiny fraction of the $3.5 trillion that the U.S government spends each year.
Just recently news emerged that cops in Massachusetts will soon be equipped with souped-up iPhones capable of making positive identifications in the field. I mean… what the frak? Why are police only now being equipped with technology that has been in the hands of consumers for years?!
I wonder what the world would be like if our teachers, police and other civil servants had access to the same technology as bleeding-edge tech-savvy consumers. Surely it would be good to put advanced technology in the hands of those that spend their days trying to improve society.