The Dead Horse Theory of Bureaucracy

Splatacrobat draws our attention to this gem:

The tribal wisdom of the Plains Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

However, in government more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

1.  Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.

5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead  horse.

8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance.

10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.

11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.

12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses,

and, of course…

13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

Magnificent – simply magnificent.

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37 Responses to The Dead Horse Theory of Bureaucracy

  1. Michael of Oberon

    Try the Collins class submarines and the F-35 as examples of this theory. You could add the idea that government “stimulus” will promote economic growth to that list as well.

  2. kevin

    Increase welfare payments to dead horses.

  3. Lem

    You forgot about hooking the dead horse up to a ventilator, in a state of the art facility with a nurse to patient ratio of 10:1, multiple highly trained medical experts arguing about the cure, and then pronouncing the dead horse on the mend by counting the cost of this stimulus programme in the GDP figures.

  4. Biota

    It’s not dead, just sleeping (aka the Dead Parrot), just wake it up. And if it refuses to wake up, improve your message until it gets it.

  5. S'

    There is the option the dead horse identifies as a donkey. Or as a person and gillian triggs and the HRC gets involved.

  6. john constantine

    Local councils will demand their fair share of the dead horse herd, so they can obtain taxpayer funding to house, service and expand opportunity for the dead horse demographic.

    Local councils would also employ welfare industry social engineers, to make sure that the dead horse herd could properly vote the right way for progressive totalitarianism, and check the postal vote forms for all the dead horses were filled out correctly.

    Anybody questioning the votes submitted by all the dead horses would be guilty of racism, and destroyed in a twitterstorm of a social media pile on.

  7. Lem

    Dead horses will be so valued, a lucrative futures trade will be established, allowing leveraged credit default swaps, tax deductible super investment, you name it, with dead horse asset prices rising to the moon to the delight of everyone, until the consequent bubble bursts right after the smart money exits. The “correction” will result in further monetary easing so that the dead horses can ride again. Giddy up!

  8. Bruce of Newcastle

    And:

    14. Ban live horses, to level the playing field and because equalidy.

  9. Lem

    Damn Bruce, you beat me to it.

    But prior to banning live horses, all investors in them will progressively taxed or inflated out of their investment, and denounced as enemies of the dead horse state.

  10. DrBeauGan

    Or redefining’dead’ to mean ‘alive’. Life equalidy now!

  11. Lem

    Owning a live horse will be a capital crime.

    Those who finance impoverished citizens to invest in dead horses will have their businesses protected from failure by the state.

    Those who advise said financiers will receive Nobel Prizes.

  12. Lem

    A scientific community will be nurtured to resolve the sticky problem that dead horses and live horses both emit carbon, eventually.

  13. John

    I can see it now,$$$$; a futures trade in dead horses. I have some money to spare, as well as a couple of live horses, whom do I contact to start the lucrative trade off?

  14. Lem

    JPM have expertise. Even better you don’t actually have to take delivery of the dead horse; these are paper dead horses. Easier to trade on the comex. The dead horses will be in a warehouse. Maybe.

    Live horses are only of interest when they become dead.

  15. Grigory M

    Put ’em out to pasture at Dead Horse Gap – down past Thredbo.

  16. Pickles

    It’s how we ought feel about the dead horse that matters.

  17. Grigory M

    What about:

    14. Flogging a dead horse.

  18. dalai lama

    Jokes aside, it is a sad indictment of our times that all of the above is true.

  19. jumpnmcar

    The horses death is a clear result of climate change.
    We have passed a tipping point !!
    Flannery issues a press statement ” All Horses Will be Dead by the End of This Century !! ”
    ABC covers this story till the next election, with polls asking what Abbott should do about it.

  20. Grigory M

    Jokes aside, it is a sad indictment of our times that all of the above is true.

    Alas – ’tis true, ’tis pity, ’tis pity ’tis, ’tis true. 😉

  21. Squirrel

    Very nice.

    Reminds me of the old one about the international essay writing competition – with essays to be on the theme of elephants:

    US entry – “the use of elephants in marketing”

    Indian entry – “the role of elephants in the British Raj”

    Australian entry – “the care and nurturing of elephants – Commonwealth or State responsibility?”

  22. S'

    Gillian triggs gives whoever killed the horse $350k in compensation.

  23. Toiling Mass

    Taking a step back, how did white heterosexual Australia kill the horse? Should we open the borders for more horses? And, at bottom, isn’t Abbott’s attitude to horses emblematic of the general bogan attitude to horses?

    Apart from the necessity of removing him as PM (which is a given) perhaps we need to educate people about horses. We may even need laws forcing people to be accepting of horses.

    Actually, I think that nice Mr Turnbull would be a far better leader in these days of equine uncerdaindy. I am sure that leather jacket he loves so much is made from cow. I realise there is a parallel (dead horses and dead cows) but…he is one of us.

  24. john of dandenong

    Love the previous humor, however, the cost to the taxpayer of failed government projects is far from humorous. The VicGov for the past 40 years have insisted, correctly in my book, that all IT-centric projects be managed according to a recognised methodology. Each methodology divides the project into sections with review processes (including ceasing the project at that stage) at the end of each section. To my knowledge the option to “cease” has never been invoked and to save face projects stagger on chewing up $$M. The initial IT-centric public transport ticketing system is a perfect example. At that time – a) fares collected = $105m; b) cost of fare collection = $95m; c) estimated cost of IT ticketing system = $50m; d) Return on Investment time = 5 years. IT costs blew out and then the VicGov went on to the totally useless multi-billion $$$ Myki systems. And this is only in one department!

  25. Shy Ted

    The horse committed suicide. It was gay. It couldn’t marry a horse of the same sex. Peter van Onselen demands answers.

  26. henry2

    I’m surprised that nobody picked up on the fact that if you harness a perfectly good live horse to it you can make like the dead one still works. Trouble is, you’re likely to end up with 2 dead horses.

  27. struth

    Men killed it.
    Rosie Batty about to do interview.

  28. custard

    Dead horse is best left on meat pies

  29. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Has nobody considered the effect of death on trans gender horses?

  30. JohnA

    15. Declare the word “equine” to be so PC that it cannot be uttered in polite company (aka leftist blogs, government circles or the media).

    It sounds too much like live horses complaining about unfair treatment.

  31. calli

    Off to the boucherie chevaline.

    As they say, “One man’s meat is another man’s poisson.” 😀

  32. egg_

    Handy for riding through dead wood(s)?

  33. johanna

    As an ancient bureaucrat, I didn’t comment on it then or now because it’s been around for quite a while (several years). The reference to native Americans seems a bit gratutious, as if even the dumbest people could get it.

    Not remotely new, and would have worked just as well without the racist implications.

  34. Menai Pete

    After a focussed conversation with your stakeholders around the parameters of the problem and extensive community consultation, rewrite your KPI’s to reflect a vision that incorporates world’s best practice for riding a dead horse into your mission statement.

  35. Jim

    Jokes aside, it is a sad indictment of our times that all of the above is true.

    True and probably written up in some “best practice for modern policy makers” manual.

  36. dupledge

    You all forgot the bleeding obvious solution. Outsource to overseas dead horses because they work cheaper and there are more of them. Simple economics 101 I would have thought.

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