Problem

Inefficiency of state-controlled enterprises


Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Inefficiency of government monopolies
Inefficiency of public enterprises
Monopolization of resources by public sector
Lack of enterprise in parastatals
Inefficient nationalized industries
Nature:

Government owned and run enterprises are notoriously known for bureaucratic constraints, lack of investment incentives, pricing controls, centralized decision making, and restriction on hiring and firing workers. Control of businesses by government bureaucracies or by legislation is at best done in the context of the needs of the whole nation and at the worst in the context of personal ambition leading to wide spread corruption. In either case decisions are slow and unresponsive to the needs of the company. Profits often revert back to the government creating disincentives for management and labour to work more profitably. Investments are frequently insufficient. Price controls coupled with rising costs of labour and raw materials make unit costs high than prices, discourage efficient running of the company. Employment practices are dictated by political considerations rather than what benefits the corporation. Management jobs are often dependent upon approval of government overseers further eroding concern about effective business practices.

Where commercialization or demonopolization of public enterprises are planned by policy-makers as intermediate steps towards privatization, it may be difficult to maximize the efficiency of such enterprises because of lack of motivation of workers and management who know that privatization is the ultimate objective. It may also be difficult to undertake extensive reforms whose costs may not be recouped in the sale price of an enterprise.

Incidence:

[Developing countries] In almost every developing country the public sector undertakes a significant share of its production and investment through state-controlled enterprises. In the past their budgetary deficits have often been hidden by a lack of consolidated financial data, opaque budgetary procedures, extrabudgetary financing, implicit subsidies and protection from competition. More recently tight budget constraints, limits on domestic and external financing, and the effects of devaluation and trade liberalization have exposed the weakness of their finances and their negative effects on the fiscal stability of developing countries. Their contributions to rising public sector debt and growing foreign indebtedness are increasingly recognized as key issues in public finance.

 

Counter Claim:

The government is responsible for the welfare to its citizens and state owned and ran industries provide them with the dignity of work. By not participating in the productivity of society the unemployed are made second class citizens. The costs of subsidizing industries, even if they are inefficient is cheaper than making welfare payments.

 

Broader Problems:
Economic dictatorship
Related Problems:
Energy monopolies
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
02.11.2017 – 17:58 CET