Friday, May 16, 2008


The Life Cycle of an Aid Program

  1. Need goes unmet for extended period.

  2. Unmet need strikes someone with connections.

  3. New aid program proposed. Much fanfare.

  4. “Christmas tree” amendments added, costs understated, bill passed, hosannas all around.

  5. A year of implementation glitches, but spirits remain high.

  6. Word gets out – more people than anticipated take advantage of the program.

  7. Cost overruns.

  8. Idiotic (possibly apocryphal) abuse case gets high public profile.

  9. Means test proposed. Committees formed. Abuses investigated.

  10. New rules – means testing, reporting requirements, eligibility tightened.

  11. New staff to implement new rules.

  12. Faculty complain about administrative bloat, citing new staff.

  13. New rules cause misunderstandings, bureaucratic errors. Complaints soar.

  14. Participation drops. Costs remain high, due to overhead for stricter reporting requirements.

  15. Unmet needs increase. Citing ineffectiveness, funding for program withers.

  16. Staff hiring freeze, cuts by attrition. Staff union protests mismanagement.

  17. Unmet need strikes someone with connections.

  18. New program proposed. Much fanfare.

  19. Repeat as necessary.

You forgot the most important issue(s):

5.a) Humans adapt to new reality, resulting in unintended consequences

5.b) Problems resulting from unintended consequences generate cries to "Do Something!" (i.e., a thousand new "unmet needs" created by government trying to fix first "unmet need")

Examples abound!
Aid program? This sounds like how my faculty gets, hang on, the whole University!
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