Aligned incentives

In Australia now there is a rise in COVID cases in Victoria in aged care facilities. The majority of cases are in Private aged care centres. 

The endless argument of private versus public sector forgets the main defining purpose.

Private enterprise in a capitalist world exists to maximise profit. 

When the incentives are aligned to profit maximisation, corners will be cut. People who work for the enterprise will begin to be regarded as costs. Not living breathing people. Budget scavengers will be empl

oyed to look at every dollar spent in an effort to reduce costs. While this is often a good thing, when we look at the cost of fresh vegetables or frozen, frozen will probably win if a dollar is saved. It matters not how good your intentions are, the final report on the success of the private enterprise is how much profit was made.

To privatise social services, education, health care, aged care, prisons…is to agree that the intention has shifted from quality education, quality health care…to profit maximisation.

Public services do need strong constraints to prevent the overspend, red tape and leakage of quality services at a fair price. But private services need to not be about profit maximisation. I am not convinced this is possible in a capitalist world.

What is the purpose of education? What is the purpose of aged care? What is the purpose of health care? These questions have not been asked for too long.

Perhaps we might design education to build critical thinking, endless curiosity, emotional intelligence, global awareness. We might have aged care be a beautiful place for people to live with dignity, not isolated from community, but engaged with. Health care surely might be about maintaining vital health and caring for disease and crisis as they occur. 

Is it possible to design services to meet the purpose? To do it with awareness of costs, but without violating the core of why we are doing what we are doing?

To marry the social with the all-in-responsible? 

Photo taken July 29th, 2020

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About Christine McDougall


As the Founder and Chief Steward of – Christine works with leaders and enterprises globally who have a commitment to being the pioneers of enterprise change. Christine has the ability to completely re-imagine business, its role in our world, and its potential for a future for all humans. She experiences a deeper level of truth through applying synergetics (Buckminster Fuller’s anticipatory design science) and the working laws of Universe to enterprise design and human co-ordination. She has a way of articulating this so others can see it as well. Christine questions the most basic assumptions that drive our complex systems and can map that back to what is needed today. To learn more visit

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