The Expulsion of Oblomov: Towards the Renaissance era

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What we want to do is to expel the Oblomovs from public administration. Laziness, apathy and the refusal to act have played a large part in slowing the pace of change in society. Because so many fundamental reforms are needed, we welcome the struggle against shirkers in the public sector, but the action to be taken must go far beyond the boundaries defined by these heroes of apathy. An excess of prudence, whether alone or combined with falsehoods, is a vice of no less importance. It is an ancient wrong, dating back to the cult of concealment as practised by courtiers of the Baroque age. It is time for the shirkers to come out of hiding; for excessive caution to be discarded. So, what is to be done to combat the scourge of concealed conservatism that is cleverly hidden beneath the garments of change? The only way forward is on the path marked by innovation breaking with conservative tradition. It is on this ground that those who govern should act, offering incentives which reward both the search for new ideas and the rebellion of innovative entrepreneurs. Measures must be put in place which reward a new generation, in terms of age and ability and strength, in equal proportions, for challenging and defeating the multi-headed monster that is the status quo and for creating new ventures in as-yet undiscovered territories. But, the rate of change will be too slow if the Oblomovs prevail: without rapid change, developing an entrepreneurial economy with an expectation of high rates of growth will be difficult, if not impossible. There are three conditions if a sustainable, high rate of growth is to be achieved. We need to be rid of the Oblomovs; we need to confound the expectations of the Baroque courtiers; and we need to transfer control to the Renaissance innovators. The ‘Oblomov’ countries are as children of a lesser God. Their structure of economic growth is not solid enough to withstand the stresses of the pace: its load-bearing walls will start to show inflationary cracks. The potential for growth is slight and diminishing. With shrinking salaries and earnings, these Oblomov nations are falling to the bottom of the rankings in terms of everyday satisfaction. The ultimate goal of many people is not to be rich but to be happy, living well in a conducive social and natural environment. We are not so Jacobin by nature as to expect that the art of governing and human happiness can go hand in glove but we do expect, at the very least, the Oblomovs to be expelled from public temples, the courtiers to be confounded and the Renaissance innovators to be exalted, and that this should become the everyday practice of all those who have been chosen by the electorate to manage public life, safeguarding ethics and ensuring constant improvement of performance in public administration.

 
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