Is everything “just too damn complicated?”

January 14, 2009

The trouble with banking, a private equity chief told a hearing of MPs this week, is that it has just become “too damn complicated” and needs to get back to basics.Many readers might agree with those refreshingly candid words — and they might think too that it’s not just banking that has become tangled up in glue.”It used to be so easy — now it takes for ever,” we sigh in unison.Maybe the Internet is partly to blame. It was supposed to simplify things but, for many, it has made whole areas of life vastly more frustrating. “Simply click” may be meant as a breezy invitation to a stress-free transaction — but in reality it is often the gateway to Hell.Need help? — simply phone our 24/7 advisers in Asia. (But let’s not go there…)Could the apparent growth of office bureaucracy also be playing its part? Commentators have frequently bewailed the growing tide of fussy, box-ticking procedure and the swelling ranks of email-happy bureaucrats with grand-sounding titles. Got any of those?Do you find any particular areas of home or office life more complicated than they used to be?If so, simply click on that “post comment” link down there. Easy eh?


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Things are “too damn complicated” – because, increasingly in recent years, the only way to make a meaningful profit is by fraud or deception in transactions involving capital assets. The banks have been at it; the big corporations have been at it (aided by investment bankers); the auditors and accountants have been in on the game; the corporates have been jousting for monopoly positions with little care for productivity or sustainable business practices. Even the regular-Joes have been at it – speculating in property (BTL, for example) and using aggressive leverage from MEW or car finance or massive credit card limits… in order to drive an asset bubble to a dangerous and fundamentally unsustainable level.This diabolical situation has only been exacerbated by government… as it generates a crippling mass of ill-conceived, ill-thought-out, incomprehensible, divisive and preposterous legislation that has crippled the ability of ordinary people to make good decisions and to be economically productive. Every aspect of modern life has become tainted by ‘targets’ that have fed back into the system they supposedly measured. As a result, high academic grades are no indication of aptitude; high earnings are no indication of profitability; and social targets, even where met, are no indication of a fair and just society. Currency has been debased – either intentionally for Machiavellian political gain… or by way of gross incompetence. There are no quick fixes; there is no easy way out. All we need to ask is if each additional bit of tinkering makes the situation worse. In most cases, I’d argue, it does.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

I agree with Steve – he sums it up pretty well.

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive

It’s a sorry state of affairs when dealing with overseas bureaucracies or bureaucratic procedures at work takes up more time than actually doing the job.I’m afraid there are too many people in these companies who have cornered the outsourcing market that care less about cutomer relations and only about the bottom line.There are too many people more interested in empire building than doing their jobs.

Posted by Jenn Swithens | Report as abusive

As a GP/doctor it takes a lot longer to get the consent form signed for simple surgical procedures than the actual operation itself. There is a form the size of 2 A4 sheets, and once filled in it has to be stored somewhere. In the ‘good old days’ we simply asked if the patient wanted to go ahead and did it with no further fuss. In 25 years of using this simple system there were no problems.another thing is that doctors are now reluctant to carry any strong injectable pain relief after the Shipman affair. The paper work involved, the need to have third parties witness the use or disposal of any unused vials all helps to make it not worth while. the only people to suffer are the patients.

Posted by jon heatley | Report as abusive

Idle hands make mischief.Cut approx 30% of “managers” out of every organisation and you will see a massive reduction in beaurocratic nonsense and a corresponding increase in the productivity and job satisfaction of those who remain.It was done in a large company that I worked for in the early 90’s. Profits and the share price multiplied by 5 over the next 6 years. Then there was a change of management and the rot set in again as the little empire builders made a comeback. I’m glad that I sold all my shares long ago.What applies to private companies applies even more so togovernments. We need look no further to see the cause of the current disastrous situation.

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive