Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Red Tape Galore

Apparently "If stacked up, the total amount of legislation passed since the start of the EU would be nearly as tall as Nelson’s column." (source: Open Europe bulletin: 19 February 2007).

Having read that, I was somehow overwhelmed by a sudden sense of impotent rage: how could one possibly deal with such a staggering amount of regulation is honestly beyond my comprehension.

But that's beside the point - what really enrages me is the reflection that:

  1. it is virtually impossible that ALL of that legislation is about matters that are relevant and, in some meaningful sense, "useful" - in other words, I expect a large part, possibly the majority, of it all to be about irrelevant or otherwise trivial matters.

  2. all that paper was produced at great expense by incredibly well-paid obscure bureacrats who were busy just creating work for other well-fed bureacrats (thus achieving Keynes' vision of "50% of the population digging holes and the other 50% filling them");

  3. hence, the waste of money that could have otherwise been put to some productive use must be staggering and, almost certainly, still ongoing - if anything, at accelerated speed.

Not to mention, the amount of wasted effort that that red tape causes to EU businesses, estimated, by the EU commissioner Gunter Verheugen himself, at more than €600bn a year.

Is it possible that nothing, ever, can be done about this?
How long will we stand such abuse by faceless, unelected, unaccountable paper-pushers who have no interest whatsoever in giving EU businesses, men and women, half a chance to compete against the rest of the world?

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