The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reports that the political leaders of the planet Golgafrincham tried to solve their intractable political difficulties by tricking the middle classes into believing the planet was doomed and an exodus of the entire population was the only escape. The leaders would leave in one starship; the workers in another; the lawyers, accountants, hairdressers etc in “Golgafrinchan Ark Fleet Ship B”. Of course, Fleet Ship B was persuaded to leave first and nobody else followed.
The story tickles me, not least because it is such a good example of treating the symptom not the cause. For if our leaders will create tax law of ever-increasing complexity (see James Bromley on the new SDLT difficulties) and keep fiddling with our planning system (Karen Phull writes on the Housing and Planning Bill) – and I won’t even mention Health & Safety (although Jo Ord does later on) – then we must not be surprised at the proliferation of professionals required to understand all this regulation. As economies become more sophisticated, it seems inescapable that there are more lawyers, consultants, agents and hairdressers.
Incidentally, the inhabitants of Golgafrinchan Ark Fleet Ship B finally found their promised land on pre-historic Earth. On arrival they immediately set to work holding meetings in which nothing was accomplished. We are all their descendants.
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