Website owner:  James Miller

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Allocation of Limited Resources

   One problem that arises over and over in the endeavors of man 
   is that of how to best use limited resources.   Individuals, 
   organizations and governments are always working with limited 
   resources.  An intelligent man will ask himself how he can use 
   the limited resources available to him most efficiently --  how 
   he can get the most per dollar spent, time spent, effort spent, 
   etc..  It all has to do with efficiency of movement and 
   operation.  And it has to do with waste, the squandering of 
   resources.  If we look around us we see that neither 
   individuals nor governments generally seem to pay a lot of heed 
   to efficiency of operation and the best allocation of their 
   limited resources.  Most individuals tend to be grossly 
   inefficient in their use of their personal resources and 
   governments tend to also be grossly inefficient in the use of 
   their limited resources.  What causes waste in the use of 
   resources?  Lack of care, lack of thought and lack of 
   understanding of basic mechanisms.  Government spending is 
   generally determined much more by politics than by thoughtful 
   analysis.  Politics mostly determines how large chunks of money 
   are allocated.  Underneath is often a certain assumption:  the 
   assumption that money can solve any problem and so if you have 
   a problem you deal with it by throwing a lot of money at it.  
   You don't have to think about it and understand it, you just 
   throw money at it.  You don't ask if it is solvable or not.  
   You just assume it is solvable and throw money at it.  It is 
   not a highly intellectual approach.  The result is a lot of 
   naive, but expensive, programs that don't work, a whole lot of 
   waste, money down the drain.  Individuals and organizations are 
   mandated to do the impossible and the result is a lot of 
   foolishness and sham and squandered money.  No one ever says 
   the problem is unsolvable.  They just take the money and 
   pretend to be solving it.  For example, teachers are mandated 
   to teach all students, whether they have any interest in school 
   or learning or not.  You can take a horse to water but you 
   can't make him drink and trying to get a horse to drink that 
   doesn't want to drink is not a good allocation of a teacher's 
   resources, not a good allocation of time and effort spent.  A 
   good allocation of resources would call for him to focus on 
   those who want to learn and ignore those who don't.  But 
   politics won't allow him to say or do that.  The government 
   spends a lot of money on social programs.  Most don't work.  
   Most are a very poor allocation of the government's limited 
   resources (of our tax dollars).

   In order to use resources efficiently you must first understand 
   the problems, understand the cause of the problems, understand 
   the mechanisms involved. 

   Sept 2004

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