Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bureau of Inefficiency

According to the London Free Press, board of control is expected to endorse a plan to create a new centralized regional economic development bureau incorporating and replacing the four existing agencies, London Economic Development Corp., TechAlliance, the Stiller Centre for Biotechnology and the Small Business Centre. The new agency is expected to reduce duplication, inefficiencies, blah, blah, blah… *yawn*

Reducing bureaucratic inefficiencies is an admirable if timid goal, but considering that these agencies trucked specifically in inefficiencies, centralizing those inefficiencies in one bureaucratic office to become more efficient seems rather whimsical. The role of economic development agencies, or agency, is to lure business investment to London, which allows that the investment climate in London is not so conducive to business that it will find its way here on its own competitive advantages. As an alternative, agencies or agency must PowerPoint or "sell" London on its more tangential benefits — e.g., lunches and junkets — and assist with the arrangement of exemptions, grants and risk-free loans. If the city were serious about inducing business investment and reducing inefficiencies, it would dispose altogether with its regulatory obstructions and burdens, and lower taxes. Except for those businesses dependent themselves on a cozy relationship with regulation, the inherent advantages of a frictionless market would attract far more investment than the inefficient and uncertain traffic in political favours and exemptions, and would cost Londoners altogether less than the $2.2 million they spend on economic development agencies, however many there are.

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