An End to Boondoggling

I’ve been thinking. If we intend to introduce a job guarantee, we first need to address the grave issue of boondoggling. It’s time we got serious about eliminating this terrible social ill. I haven’t bothered to check, but I would imagine that boondoggles are occurring at an incredible rate all round the world, every second of the day, and this is before we’ve even introduced the job guarantee. It’s as if the very thought of such a program has set off an epidemic of boondoggling. It’s time to compile a list of worthless activities that add zero value – sometimes negative value – to my real living standard. This list is neither definitive nor exhaustive. Market signals and the threat of starvation were too weak to induce that kind of effort. But at least it will enable us all to point the finger at those who are contributing absolutely nothing to the aggregate of my personal well being.

List of Boondogglers

1. Anyone in banking, trading or finance. I’ve been thinking about it. Not one of the things I eat, drink, drive, ride, think or enjoy is due to these people. Okay, other than Gordon Gekko. He was intriguing.

2. The military. All they do is kill people.

3. The secret service. What’s with all the secrets?

4. Journalists. If I wanted propaganda, I’d move to North Korea!

5. Advertisers, sales people. Ditto.

6. Publishers and Record Labels. They never published my books or released my records!

7. Politicians.

8. Neoclassical economists. Except for the game theorists. It sounds like they do serious work!

9. Austrians. Unless it is their nationality.

10. Sports players. Footballers excepted.

11. Any tradesperson working on someone else’s place; any writer of a book I won’t read; any singer of a song I won’t hear; any abstract painter whose work I find disorienting; any poet or philosopher I’m too dense to understand.

12. Anyone beautifying a city I will never visit or see on TV.

13. Doctors on healthy days; dentists doing teeth whitening.

14. Security guards on day duty; jail wardens on night duty.

15. Hairdressers in the 70s; entrepreneurs in the 80s.

16. Poor conversationalists.

17. The film industry.

18. Stand up comedians having off nights.

19. Hecklers.

20. The furtive, the nervous, the restless.

21. People sleeping.

22. Suppliers of home gardening products. (I live in the city. We have a park.)

23. Miners. Unless they at least go to the trouble of digging holes and filling them back up again.

24. Brewers and winemakers. Stop drinking on the job!

25. “Investors”.

26. CEOs. Unless in the gambling industry.

27. Train drivers. The trains drive themselves. They’ve got tracks.

28. Cabbies. Take a bus!

29. Funeral directors. What’s the point? The person’s already dead.

30. Psychiatrists. Their patients are bad influences.

31. Social workers. They’re meant to be working.

32. Preachers. Too preachy.

33. Comedians. Always joking.

34. Intellectuals. Too smart for their own good.

35. Scientists. Too nerdy.

36. Socialites. Too sophisticated.

37. Art students. Too cool.

38. Philosophy students. Too deep.

39. Small-time bloggers. Too small time.

Socially Productive Activities

1. Supermodeling.


16 thoughts on “An End to Boondoggling

  1. Wow. When you think about it, boondoggles are everywhere. Kind of like sexism in the animal kingdom…

  2. You forgot:

    40. Listmakers

    Listmakers are a nuisance because:

    a. They are obsessive
    b. They are narrow-minded
    c. They cannot reason discursively, and
    d. I can’t remember what d is.

    So, note to self: when we pass a job guarantee, make sure no list-makers are hired.

  3. One guys boondoggle is another guys livelihood.

    Kind of reminds me of all the talk about “pork” in our spending bills. The other politicians are asking for pork, you are just asking for support for jobs in your district.

  4. What I like about this post is that I was a quarter of the way down the list before I realised it was humour despite the entry it is filed under (which I only just read).

    However, Greg does make a salient point.

  5. Socially Productive Activities Cont’d:

    2. Lite-Brite Template Makers

    3. Fortune Cookie Writers

    4. Pez Cartridge Designers

    5. Walmart Greeters

    6. American football players, but only if they play while wearing thongs.

    My Socially Productive Innovation Idea:

    1. The A-B-C Emergency Spelling Hotline (to be outsourced to India):

  6. Btw, I rank banks in the socially productive category. Banking is a very weird version of seriously over-paid (and that is why we normally tend to have inflation) version of JG. Banking in its current form is the only tool that exist out there to prop up employment.

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