- Download PDF
4 Answers | Add Yours
You can argue both ways. Sure, we have too much bureaucracy, anyone who has spent time at the Social Security office or the DMV can tell you that. But we're a large nation with the world's largest economy and budget. Of course there will be bureaucracy, it's unavoidable.
Bureaucratic reform is rare, slow and usually unsuccessful. The nature of bureaucracies is self preservation - they resist attempts at change.
Bureaucracies in government are analogous to monopolies in business -- and both are bad. Most are familiar with the concept and practice of monopolies, even if only through the famous board game -- monopolies represent a situation where desired goods and services are made to be scarce or costly. Introducing competition on a level playing field prevents monopolies, as consumers then have choice. More unfamiliar are the concept and practice of bureaucracies, which represent government through state officials rather than elected representatives. What's worse, bureaucratic practice and policies have the force of law, without those they govern having any appeal, or any choice. Like monopolies, bureaucracies expand at the expense of those they govern or trade with, and become disinterested in everything except what pertains to it.
The failure of government is a result of the expansion of bureaucracies at the expense of legislative assemblies. Moreover, representatives that compose such legislative assemblies are complicit in allowing the ever-expanding bureaucracy to assume its functions, because that removes them from having to have any responsibility to the voters who elected them.
Reform will never be successful until bureaucratic power is diminished and legislative assemblies once again assume responsibility for their actions. A single amendment would do the trick, at least on a Federal level - "Nothing shall have the force of law unless enacted by Congress."
"Policies" which now have the force of law are then not created by some hidden and unaccountable agency; rather, laws are enacted or repealed by the representatives in Congress, who are held accountable by the voters who sent them there. It's about having choice politically, as we would have choice economically.
In my opinion, there have not been any serious attempts at bureaucratic reform any time recently. But this depends on what you mean by "reform." Various administrations, especially Republican ones, have talked about reducing the amount of bureaucracy. However, simply reducing the bureaucracy (and it's not clear they really have reduced its size) does not constitute fundamental change in my opinion.
I do not think fundamental change is possible because what problems the bureaucracy has are innate to large bureaucracies. Bureaucracies, by their nature, become somewhat inefficient, tend to get "captured" by interests, etc. I cannot think of a fundamental reform that could be tried right now.
Do we have too much bureaucracy? I do not think the government tries to regulate too many areas of life. Perhaps they do not regulate as efficiently as they might, but I do not think we have too much bureaucracy.
We’ve answered 319,806 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question