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Bureaucrats’ power is expressed as growth

In a normal for-profit company, people usually get promoted because they produce profits. The size of their subordinates sometimes grows and sometimes shrinks. In a free market, the measure of your success is profit and it is hence reflected in their salary.

However, in a bureaucracy, there are no profits since they don’t produce anything. As such, it is impossible to measure the profitability of a person. So, how does a bureaucrat improve its standing, importance, and signals its merits for promotion? Simple, by expanding their little domain. Have you noticed how government groups, divisions, task forces, departments, etc. always grow in size? This is no coincidence. In the upside down bureaucratic world, the more people you have under you, the more successful you are and therefore the more worthy of promotion.

This is a simple chain reaction. If you are boss and you expand your group from 3 to 5 people, it is not only your group that grows, it is also your bosses’ group that grows. And your bosses’ boss’ group. And so forth. Therefore, this process in encouraged at all levels since it automatically improves the odds of promotion of the entire hierarchy over you! What is not to like from their point of view?

This reminds us of the phone as “status symbol” in the USSR. The higher the position of a bureaucrat, the more phones there were on their desks. This was quite simple. In the USSR money only had so much reach. Power was the golden currency. Yes, as a bureaucrat you were paid a salary, but why would you bother purchasing a dacha at the Black Sea if you could just pick up a phone from your desk and order one built for you?

This need, the need to climb the hierarchical ladder. is what drives the bureaucratic overwhelming push towards growth. It is not the workload. It is their desire for increased salaries.

In the corporate world, you climb the ladder by increasing profits. Profit increases usually mean higher customer satisfaction. In other words, you are being promoted because of your ability to serve people.

In the government bureaucratic world, you climb the ladder by increasing the size of the bureaucracy. However, as the bureaucracy does not produce anything, your promotion is directly related to the economic harm you inflicted on people. Remember, the bigger the bureaucracy, the more expensive it is and therefore the more money is syphoned out from the productive economy.

Bureaucrats’ job description clearly states: need to expand at any cost.

This is yet another powerful reason why we despise bureaucrats. They simply don’t care about the consequences of their desire to progress in their jobs. And why should they? It’s not their money they are burning. What is even more intolerable, is their assertion that all this growth is “necessary”. Please, stop insulting us!


Bureaucratic workload always grows

A direct consequence from the above described growth process is the need to justify the growth in people. This justification can only be done through workload increases. This is so, because bureaucratic bosses need to provide their political masters with a politically-correct and publicly-acceptable excuse.

Hence, the bureaucracy works hard at developing excuses to expand their workload at infinitum. It is job promotion through bullshit generation. There is an old saying in the scientific world: paper supports anything.

The meaning of this saying is that although it is possible to publish just about anything, this does not necessarily mean that the information is valuable. It only means it was published.

The same principle applies to bureaucrats. Just because they are able to dream up more and more justifications, it does not mean that any of them are worth more than the ink they are printed on. As a matter of fact, they are not. As any government always operates at a loss, any expansion, for whatever reason, only means a bigger loss.

As a consequence of this process, you will hear constant complains from bureaucrats about how busy they are and how much work there is. Bullshit. It is all make-believe, useless, worthless work.

Of course, we don’t claim that bureaucrats do not work, on the contrary, they do. However, we need to look at what the term “work” means. For a bureaucrat it simply means energy expenditure. They burn energy. That’s all. From a common sense point of view, work means production, which is exactly what bureaucrats don’t do.

Bureaucrats’ job description clearly states: need to increase made-up workload.

This is yet another powerful reason why we despise bureaucrats. As their workload increases, so decreases our economic wellbeing and our rights. Their job advancements are dependent upon the decrease of our standards of living. The more “work” they have, the less quality of live we have. What is not to despise?


Bureaucrats relish in mediocrity

In a private environment, initiative and decisiveness is usually recognized. Particularly when and because it leads to higher profits.

In a government bureaucracy, since all work is done by-the-book, any valid initiative is a disturbing event from the cozy status-quo. Therefore, people with initiatives are shun upon. In a government bureaucracy is it not a good idea to be a go-getter.

Every bureaucrat stays in the bureaucracy because it is cozy and because of all the benefits it provides, job security and job advances. Furthermore, there is no need to produce anything and therefore market pressures are simply not there. All this leads to a passive and a mediocre work ethic and work environment.

It is actually quite toxic. As a human being you adapt to your surroundings by learning the survival rules. In a bureaucratic environment the key rule is always the same: be mediocre. Do not stand out. There is safety in numbers. If we are all the same, they can’t do anything against us.

And so you learn. Never do more that the absolutely minimum necessary. Never ask for reasons or challenge orders. Never do anything that may be construed as “thinking” or “out of the box”. All your work should be fuzzy and capable of being interpreted either way; this provides you with a convenient neutral position and your political masters with many options (i.e. ways out of a sticky situation).

Of course, mediocrity, same as inefficiency, is a double edge sword. We want mediocre bureaucrats when it comes to stealing our money and our rights. But we don’t want mediocre bureaucrats when it comes to nuisance tasks.

Bureaucrats’ job description clearly states: need to be mediocre.

This is yet another powerful reason why we despise bureaucrats. Because they strive to be mediocre. We find this purposely driven effort to be deeply disingenuous, because by striving for bureaucracy they also strive for self-delusion. They purposely avoid thinking about the damage they are inflicting on the rest of us. That offends us deeply.

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

Continue to Politicians and Bureaucrats: Job Security Through Misery - Part 8


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