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Experts define micromanagement by the central government as a facet or subset of general mis-management. It is the exercise of heavy-handed control, with excessive attention to minor details. It is the concentration of power at the level of central government, and the failure or refusal to decentralise decision-making power to local government organs.
Experts say that often, this excessive obsession by the central government, with the most minute of details causes a direct, nationwide management failure in the ability of the central government to focus on, and address major issues. One may note that those major issues may include matters of territorial integrity, military preparedness, power generation, poverty alleviation, cost of living issues, natural resources management, diplomatic and foreign policy initiatives, economic planning, and so on.
Guyanese will know that Government intervention is necessary to maintain order and protect the interests of citizens. However, when the central government begins to micromanage every aspect of life, it can lead to a myriad of negative consequences and devastating effects. This article will explore some of those direct effects – apart from distracting the central government from its primary job.
Experts write that one of the major consequences of government micromanagement is the stifling of innovation and economic growth. When the central government excessively regulates industries and dictate business practices, it hampers the ability of businesses to adapt. This is particularly problematic in a national and international environment that is changing with almost frightening speed. Excessive regulations can lead to increased costs, reduced competition, and limited opportunities for entrepreneurship. For instance, unnecessarily complicated licensing requirements and regulations will deter new businesses from entering the market, hindering economic growth, job creation, and the improvement of the quality of life of citizens.
Micromanagement by the government can erode personal freedom and individual autonomy. When a government dictates how individuals should live their lives, it limits personal choices and infringes upon basic liberties. For example, excessive regulations on personal expression, such as restrictions on what individuals, including journalists, commentators, opposition politicians, and social activists may speak or write about can be seen as an encroachment on personal freedom. Of course, such restrictions by the government – whether they are enforced by statues or by coercion or by the threat of reprisals – is an attack on democracy itself, and must be recognised and condemned for the tyrannical behavior that it is.
Government micromanagement often leads to inefficiency and bureaucratic red tape. When the government attempts to control every aspect of life, it results in complex and convoluted systems that necessarily hinder personal development, and national progress. Excessive, badly thought-out regulations can create unnecessary paperwork, delays, and administrative nightmares. This not only wastes resources but also slows down decision-making processes in and among various agencies. Evidently, such a situation not only frustrates the aspirations of citizens, but may cause overwhelming psychological stress. For instance, lengthy, convoluted approval processes for permits, licenses, business registration, tax compliance certificates, and similar documents can discourage investment, hinder personal and general economic development, and provide citizens with yet another incentive to migrate away from a badly managed country.
Micromanagement also leads to a lack of accountability and transparency within the government. When decision-making is concentrated in the hands of a few – often corrupt, greedy, power-hungry officials – it reduces and actively erodes the checks and balances necessary for a healthy democracy. Excessive control by the central government creates and fosters an environment where corruption and abuse of power thrive. Without proper, independent oversight and transparency, citizens are left without the information to which they are entitled, and are unable to hold the government accountable for its actions.
Micromanagement by the government also suppresses creativity and diversity – including intellectual variety. This happens because uniformity and stifling individual expression acts as a mechanism for “sameness,” and a one-party mindset. Guyanese would be aware that many analysts have argued that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has the central goal of making Guyana a real one-party state. In fact, one may argue that Guyana is currently a de facto one-party dictatorship. This point will be explored in another article. in any case, when the central government unilaterally, universally, and granularly dictates what is acceptable and what is not, it severely limits the ability of individuals, communities, and regions to express their unique perspectives, needs, and aspirations, and such a situation suffocates the formulation and expression of original ideas, not to mention the implementation of such ideas.
In summary, experts agree that micromanagement can have severe negative consequences. One may say: devastating effects. Such effects include the stifling of innovation, limiting personal freedom, creation of bureaucratic inefficiency, undermining of accountability and transparency, fostering an environment of corruption, and suppression of creativity. It is clear that all of those consequences and effects are negative, and all of them constitute direct attacks on democracy and the ability of citizens to improve themselves, raise the living standards of their families, and develop their communities.