Category Archives: Politics

From Mort & Phil to Tilg & Aschbacher – How Crises Mercilessly Expose Incompetence

Whenever the salvation of the world depends on the Trans-International Agent Ring (T.I.A.), the leader Mister L. gets his two “best” agents, even if he would rather not call them at all. Mortadelo & Filemon, better known to us as Mort & Phil, are probably the two most incompetent secret agents, besides Johnny English, who have ever known the world. The villains are being put out of business primarily because they don’t count on the devastating power of the natural stupidity of the agents they have put on them. A phenomenon with which the already deceased Berkeley professor Carlo M. Cipolla dealt with throughout his life.

It is easy to forget that incompetence can also occur in very prominent positions in companies and government offices. in normal times, this may be obvious to competent people, but it does not lead to many consequences. Donald Trump in the US or Boris Johnson in the UK have been known to make it to the top not so much with competence but more with populism and fears.

But as soon as a real crisis, such as the coronavirus, occurs, which requires competent and informed action, and where many lives are at stake, these people are finished. A crisis brutally and relentlessly exposes the incompetence of leaders.

An example from my home country Austria made headlines earlier this week. After hundreds of ski tourists from Tyrolean ski resorts returned home to their countries and tested positive for COVID-19, there was fire on the roof in Tyrol and Austria. What could be more obvious than to invite the Tyrolean Health Minister, Bernhard Tilg of the ÖVP, to the news studio to listen to his opinion and discuss the measures?

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