How necessary is bureaucracy for America?How necessary is bureaucracy for America?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

No matter how little people like it bureaucracy is 100% necessary for our government.

First of all, bureaucracy is necessary whenever you have any sort of institution that goes beyond just a few people.  We use the word to refer to government bureaucracies, but any company of any size is a bureaucracy.  You absolutely have to have levels of management in order to run something that is even a small fraction of the size of the federal government.  Without a bureaucracy, not even the smallest town government could work well, let alone the federal government.

Second, you need bureaucrats to be the experts.  You cannot have Congress writing all the detailed laws that need to be written because they largely do not know what they are talking about.  How, for example, do you have Congress writing laws about the technical details of safety devices on oil drilling platforms?  How many of them would know what to write?  You need bureaucrats to write rules to fill in the blanks that allow Congress's laws to be implemented.

jmj616's profile pic

jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

I am sorry to say that bureacracy is extremely important to America.  We all know that bureacracy can be painfully slow, extravagantly wasteful, absurdly arrogant.

But do we know the definition of bureacracy?  Try this:

government characterized by specialization of functions, adherence to fixed rules, and a hierarchy of authority.  

Let's examine each of the three parts of this definition.  

 a) Specialization of functions: If you don't want garbagemen teaching your children, accountants flying fighterplanes,  busdrivers writing tax law, and lawyers inspecting slaughterhouses, then you're going to want some "specialization of functions" amongst government officials.  

b) Adherence to fixed rules: If you like chaos, cronyism, and bribery, then throw away all of government's "fixed rules"; if not, then you're going to need some bureacracy.  

c) Hierarchy of authority: Do you want every traffic judge to be able to overrule the Supreme Court?  Do you want every police officer to outweigh the Chief of Police?  Do you want your city's Commissioner of Sanitation to be more powerful than the mayor?  If your answer to these questions is "no," then you are in favor of "hierarchy of authority."   Bureacracy is a necessary evil.  Reform it; deal with it.  If you abolish it, perish.

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