COB-14: advancing progress forward

OECD broadband rankings have become a leading indicator of progress in communications development. Broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants for the United Kingdom, France, Japan, the United States, and Germany are 21.6, 20.3, 20.2, 19.6, and 17.1 (Dec. 2006 figures). These statistics depend on reporting from a large number of bureaucrats in private telecommunications companies. For private sector statistical reporting, 90% accuracy is typically good enough, and 95% accuracy usually is not cost effective. That means that true broadband subscribership per capita figures for France, Japan, and the U.S. probably fall within the same range of reasonable possibilities, while the U.K. may be slightly higher and Germany slightly lower. Some much smaller-sized economies have perhaps 50% greater broadband subscribers per capita.

In the U.S., many persons are obsessed with being number 1. Here at the Carnival of the Bureaucrats, we applaud popular enthusiasm for being a number. But bureaucrats are capable of producing many numbers, each unique and special. What’s important is not what number you are, but what that number actually means. We are concerned that some persons may believe that, because they don’t get a particular number, it’s game over. The game will surely continue.

An important measure of progress is broadband service for persons in rural areas. Bureaucrats in many countries are concerned to cover their digital divides. A recent Pew Internet release, “U.S. Lags behind: Why it will Be Hard to Close the Broadband Divide,” observed:

To reach the underserved, policymakers might consider more aggressive and targeted outreach efforts that educate hard-to-reach populations about the benefits of online connectivity.

This month’s Carnival of the Bureaucrats features the efforts of an off-duty government bureaucrat to do just that (see video below).

Paul Conley discusses upgrading essential IT support services for organizational excellence, employee training programs, and learning-organization initiatives:

A few months ago I asked the managing editor of an email newsletter company what her newsletters looked like on a Blackberry. She didn’t know, she said, because the company didn’t provide her with a Blackberry. That, in a nutshell, is everything that can possibly go wrong with a journalist. Her curiosity, her pride, her tenacity and her common sense had all disappeared. Don’t let that happen to you. If you don’t have a Blackberry, borrow one for a minute and check out your publication. If your company won’t give you a gorgeous and expensive SLR digital camera, then get yourself a cheap little one that fits in your pocket. If your company won’t pay for someone to train you, then teach yourself.

Don’t forget to get certification that you’ve completed that course.

Mr. Juggles at Long or Short Capital describes a Regulatory Efficiency Theorem. This theorem shows that investments in regulatory action have a multiplier effect on economic activity through stimulating further investments in merger and acquisition specialists, lawyers, and lobbyists.

Alvaro Fernandez at the Brain Fitness Blog discusses the importance of cognitive training for an aging workforce. Many companies now advise desk-bound employees to do simple exercise to avoid office-related physical injuries. Companies should also care about keeping their employees’ brains working well. A Brain Fitness training program would be one way to do that. Having interesting, challenging work would be another. That latter option, however, may not be feasible in many circumstances.

That concludes this month’s Carnival of the Bureaucrats. Submit your blog article to the next edition using our Carnival submission form. Submissions should conform to the Carnival regulations. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the Carnival index page.

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