30 April 2010

The Cancer of Bureaucracy

I just got round to reading Bruce Charlton's short piece The Cancer of Bureaucracy (h/t Isegoria)

It feels exaggerated and overstated. But I'd be a lot more confident in dismissing it if I could find one thing in it that was actually wrong.

I suppose there is one thing which the article misses, which is the private sector. In my experience, in private-sector organisations, while the bureaucracy Charlton describes does exist, it is subservient to an individual decision-maker. As such, it sometimes shrinks instead of growing, and the bureaucratic process is carried on in the shadow of "what Tom thinks" - where Tom is the person whose opinion matters, either because he is in charge, or his judgment is trusted by the person who is in charge.

But really, how important is the private sector in the direction that our society is taking today? While in raw numbers it's still a bare majority of activity, so much of it is now under the indirect control of public-sector bureaucracy, that private decision-making is restricted to a much smaller, and diminishing, sphere.

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