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A Libertarian's Library


What's wrong with government today: The Seven Rules of Bureaucracy



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January 30, 2013
On Wednesday (1-30-13) we posted an article entitled Time for legislators to REIN in abusive regulators which was written by Jon Sanders of the John Locke Foundation. He was calling for legislative action to reform the bureaucratic regulatory system in the state.

As a follow-up, we are offering this more extensive discussion of why we have the mess we do in government today. The thesis is simple: The root problem with government is the bureaucracy. But bureaucracies exist everywhere, not only in government but in business, non-profits, educational institutions, unions, social organizations and anywhere more than a few people are involved. But as ubiquitous as they are, bureaucracies almost never function efficiently or effectively—at least not to the extent they need to do so. Thus, to fix any system operated by a number of individuals one must fix the bureaucracy if there is to be any hope of improvement.

Someone has said that "the primary purpose of the bureaucracy is to perpetuate itself, and it spends 80% of its effort doing so, while all the meaningful work gets done by 20% of the effort.

Loyd S. Pettegrew and Carol A. Vance have prepared a presentation based on the work of Harry E. Teasley, Jr., complete with numerous references. It is entitled The Seven Rules of Bureaucracy. They are:

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Rule #1: Maintain the problem at all costs! The problem is the basis of power, perks, privileges, and security.

Rule #2: Use crisis and perceived crisis to increase your power and control. Rule 2a. Force 11th-hour decisions, threaten the loss of options and opportunities, and limit the opposition's opportunity to review and critique.

Rule #3: If there are not enough crises, manufacture them, even from nature, where none exist.

Rule #4: Control the flow and release of information while feigning openness.

Rule 4a: Deny, delay, obfuscate, spin, and lie.

Rule #5: Maximize public-relations exposure by creating a cover story that appeals to the universal need to help people.

Rule #6: Create vested support groups by distributing concentrated benefits and/or entitlements to these special interests, while distributing the costs broadly to one's political opponents.

Rule #7: Demonize the truth tellers who have the temerity to say, "The emperor has no clothes."

Rule 7a: Accuse the truth teller of one's own defects, deficiencies, crimes, and misdemeanors.


The article goes into detail about each rule and then offers some ideas about where we go from here.

Click here to go to the original source.

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