[FOUNTAIN]Simple complications

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[FOUNTAIN]Simple complications

In performing a task, there is both a simple and easy way and a complicated and difficult way. Surprisingly, a large number of people choose the complicated way. The first reason is ignorance. Everyone must have experienced taking a detour not knowing the shortcut, simply because of ignorance. The second reason is selfish wiles. They can choose from many beneficial directions, but end up making the worst possible choice. Contemplating too long also tends to result in a worse decision.
There is nothing like a Rube Goldberg machine. The purpose of that device is to make simple tasks as difficult and complicated as possible. There is a device for wiping mouths during meals and a machine that helps the boss not notice you when you are late for work.
Rube Goldberg, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, is famous for his satirical cartoons of the complicated daily lives of modern people. His cartoons are full of devices created to solve simple tasks. To close a window, a complicated device with ropes, marbles, dominoes and a pulley, along with spring and poise, a bucket and a ring, connect together in a complex way.
In each step of this device, a high-level principle of physics is used. However, the result is always disappointing.
Goldberg described this situation as, “the surprising ability of human beings to put in the greatest effort for the smallest result.” Later, the “Rube Goldberg Machine” became jargon for regulations or systems that are uselessly complicated compared to their results. Every year, Purdue University hosts the Rube Goldberg Device Contest, trying to find out who has designed the most absurd and complicated device in the United States. The fun of this competition is that it stimulates the use of creativity in science, but at the same time turns the conventional wisdom upside down.
Korea’s regulation system would be the prize winner of any Rube Goldberg device contest.
To make simple things more difficult, you just increase the steps in the procedure. Increase the steps to receive official permission and make the regulations to each step more sophisticated and complicated.
A classic method is to abolish one regulation while making two new ones instead. Another one is making the excuse that although the abolishment of restrictions in the metropolitan area can create 28,000 new jobs, that cannot be done for the equalized development of the nation.
The problem with this kind of regulation is that the complicated regulations have no result and are not creative or fun at all.


by Kim Jong-soo

The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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