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Bureaucracy is a kiss-butt-ocracy

As bureaucrats do not produce anything, there really is no way to quantify their individual contributions. All their job reviews and so-called “metrics” are purely subjective and open to negotiation and interpretation. They know this. Their bosses know this. Their bosses bossed know this. Politicians know this. Everybody in the system knows this. The only people who do not know this are the public; this is, the suckers who pay the bills. Of course, bureaucrats can play these games because:

a)    It is not their money

b)    Money is inexhaustible (there is always another taxpayer “out there” to bleed dry)

As a consequence of this massive shortcoming, it is impossible to determine the merits of one bureaucrat against another. It is therefore impossible to determine promotions, bonuses and better positions… and all government bureaucrats know this.

In the industry, this is, the place where stuff is actually produced, all employees work to a manufacturing timetable, which is subjected to a sales timetable. Every defect in the manufacturing process ripples in sales and it can easily be quantified. Personal metrics can be determined. Individual contributions clearly gauged.

Not so in the government. There is no manufacturing timetable and there is no sales one. There is no sales data and there are no profits. Therefore, it is impossible to calculate anything. As a matter of fact, a government bureaucracy operates in exactly the same manner as Communist’s “economic calculations” did in the USSR (we have seen this in our lesson Communists Can’t Count). It is hopeless… but this won’t deter them since they need to keep appearances.

Therefore, they all default to the tried-and-true butt-kissing method of job advancement to one degree or another. In the bureaucratic world, it is never what you are capable of doing but who you know. The more butts you kiss the higher you reach. Bureaucracy is not a meritocracy. True merit does not count. Seniority does, but only to the degree unions impose it. As if being older has anything to do with effectiveness and efficiency.

Bureaucrats’ job description clearly states: need to kiss butt.

This is yet another powerful reason why we despise bureaucrats. Because they all understand full well that their promotions, salary increases and bonuses are patently undeserved and extremely subjective. Yet, they persist. At our expense.


Bureaucrats live in a parallel universe where money is not their concern

The main purpose of a bureaucratic job is to show up. Just that. Nothing more. Anything else that bureaucrats may do is, of course, extra. As such, they behave simply as drones, knowing that for as long as they do so they will have a cozy job. Hence, money is not their concern.

Their motto is: it’s not our money.

If they are taken from a project and placed in a different one, it does not matter. It’s not their money. If they switch jobs or tasks, it does not matter. It’s not their money. If a task does not get completed in time, it does not matter. It’s not their money.

Bureaucrats are not concerned with the trivialities of being effective and efficient simply because they don’t produce anything. As such, there is no profit and therefore no money matters. Governments always and at all times operate permanently in a state of monetary loss. Remember, there are no profits.

Hence, bureaucrats have no incentives to improve whatsoever because their jobs and salaries are not tied to profits. It’s not their money, why should they be concerned?

Bureaucrats’ job description clearly states: need to ignore money issues.

This is yet another powerful reason why we despise bureaucrats. They travel blissfully through life in the assurance that their jobs and salaries are secured from any and all economic fluctuations. They fully understand this and they simply don’t care. It is not their carelessness we find so offensive, but their visceral attempts to somehow justify their views.


Bureaucrats’ law: there is always tomorrow

Have you noticed how every single time you need to perform a government bureaucratic chore it takes much longer than you would have predicted? How much longer? Simple: double the estimated time, divide by then and then move to the next unit up.

For example, if you estimate that a simple fine payment will take 5 minutes, the correct process to estimate wasted time is to double it to 10 minutes, divide by 10 (leaving 1 minute) and move to the next unit up (hours). And so, the final time estimate is 1 hour.

This is a direct consequence of bureaucrats not producing anything, hence not having profits. There is neither urgency nor desire to satisfy customer’s needs simply because the so-called “customers” are not there because they need or want something, but because the government forces them to do so. As such, there are no real customers, there is no real product and everything (top to bottom) is a gigantic waste of money. Therefore, there is no need to actually satisfy anybody. Bureaucrats get paid no matter what. Which leads to the time-tested bureaucratic law: there is always tomorrow.

As a matter of fact, their preferred operative word is: tomorrow.

Their preferred rule is: don’t do today what can be left for tomorrow.

This is, of course, a double-edged sword. We want bureaucrats to be as inefficient as possible when it comes to issues that really matter, such as taxes and stealing our rights. On the other hand, we want them as efficient as possible when it comes to nuisances such as getting licenses or permits. Alas, bureaucracies work upside down. They are becoming increasingly more efficient at extracting wealth from your pocket and at the same time, inefficient when it comes to other transactions. This is not good.

Bureaucrats are supposed to be there to serve us. Do you still remember back then when the term “public servant” actually meant something? Everything is upside down now. We are their servants and as such we always get the same answer: tomorrow.

Bureaucrats’ job description clearly states: need to do it tomorrow.

This is yet another powerful reason why we despise bureaucrats. They simply don’t care about our needs. Considering that theoretically speaking, our needs are why they are there and have those jobs in the first place, we find their position deeply insulting… not to mention arrogant, clueless, baseless and incredibly expensive… to our pockets.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

Continue to Politicians and Bureaucrats: Job Security Through Misery - Part 7


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