Ok, so I installed a math plugin based on LaTeX so I can type equations. The added bonus is I'll get to teach myself how to use them.
The purpose of this is so I can make things look a bit neater. So onto efficiency.
I've been thinking about efficiency my entire life, always applying it to various tasks, like driving, working, walking, eating, exercise. The problem is, that there's so many ways to define it. The most common and general definition is
Where maximum output is defined as some maximum achievable quantity. The energy efficiency of an engine say could be
So naturally, I strive to be efficient in most things I do. When I spend money, I calculate the dollar per hour entertainment value for purchases, I evaluate the efficiency of my work output and spending.
So relating this to the main point, is that governments and oppositions always claim to be able to increase the efficiency of the public service and cut costs. Now I'm sure everyone has their own horror stories about how inefficient their visit to Centrelink or Medicare was, but on the whole, these organisations have been streamlined quite a lot. It's not usually the end of line workers that are terribly inefficient anyway. So how do we define efficiency for government spending?
Obviously, everyone wants their tax dollars to be spent well and not wasted, but where it gets interesting is that these people themselves are probably no more efficient than the government when it comes to spending. Take for example, a bottle of shampoo. Suppose it costs $10 and is a generous 1 litre volume. That gives a cost of 1 cent per mL. Now, most people have trouble getting the last few bits out of the shampoo bottle. There might be 10 or 20 mLs leftover that are just too difficult to extract, it's possible to do it but the time it takes is not worth it, so we accept some waste. The efficiency in this case is about 99.8% which is a high number. Food wastage is probably much lower, on every plate there might be 5% left, or if you get too full you can often leave about 10 to 50% of a meal. Sometimes it might be saved and eaten again later, but it could be thrown out. A mobile phone contract that includes some dollar value of free calls and messages, many people would not extract full value or efficiency out of that as well.
The point I'm trying to illustrate, is that people are inefficient, there's nothing wrong with that. It's just there's a lack of realisation that the government is made up from people too, so all these inefficiencies add up. So next time someone complains about government wastage, point out that they probably equally waste on the same scale food, shampoo, consumables etc.