02 May 2011

The Role of Economists in Government

I don't recall who said it, but it has been said that the role of economists in government is to stop bad ideas, and then to stop them again when they come back again. Evidently some local authorities in Southern Sudan need an economist, or at least someone minimally literate in markets.

From the Tribune
Johnson Sebit Aki, a staff officer at the traffic police in Wau, said the illegal commuter transport business in the town is well known to the traffic police but the major obstacle has been lack of support from the members of public in curbing the menace. 
Aki cited an incident which recently occurred in Wau town, where traffic police were alerted the passenger of a commuter bus where passengers were charged twice the acceptable fare. However, on arrival the passengers insulted the police officer.

"They asked our officers to stay away as the payment was a consensus reached between them and the conductor. From such reactions we also lose appetite to continue dealing with them," he said.
 and Gurtong;
RUMBEK, 28th April, 2011 [Gurtong] - Butchers operating in Rumbek township have been apprehended by security officers following their decision to increase the price of meat without due consultation with relevant authorities in Lakes State.
Also to be filed under "Reasons to be doubtful of the effectiveness of decentralised systems of government." 


Derrill Watson said...


People make consensual deals that involve a higher price than the authorities allow, both parties shoo away the police saying there's nothing wrong, and you think the problem is decentralized government rather than price setting in the first place? Should I assume there is more in the articles that makes your side clearer?

Lee said...

No its total speculation on my part, but I worry that the more layers of government you have, the more opportunity for things like this to go wrong..

Boredinpostconflict said...

.....like the state ministry of infrastructure trying to tax contractors.
Note: not labour, not finance.....infrastructure

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