Levels of Bureaucracy

Throughout business and government there are levels of bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is an economic infection that spreads and becomes increasingly severe. The infection innocently hides in a seemingly healthy economic body, but it causes the body to become increasingly helpless and inefficient. The light of day (clarity) is the only effective cure. It is cheap and effective.

Think of bureaucracy as a pyramid. The boss is at the top. Poor quality in the performance of his duties can result in inefficiency, danger, and disservice. He presides over layer upon layer of larger ziggurats each with the more bosses presiding over underlings. The workers on each layer lower are paid less and treated worse. The actual service is rendered at the bottom of the pyramid, but the benefits at the top increase rapidly, while the workers at the bottom are poorly compensated.

An order comes from the top, to do service. The word passes down from level to level, all the way down to the pyramid to the workers at the bottom. When workers see that an order does not make any sense, they have to make one of two bad choices. Follow the directions and do the wrong thing, or pass the word backup through the command chain to get new orders. Of course this is inefficient. Fingers of blame are pointed. Ultimately the bosses have to make cuts to the work force and charge more for the product.

Positions at the top of the pyramid are coveted. Dedicated, competent people often don’t advance. Dirty tricks are used to push them out of their appropriate positions. Those who attain high positions tend to be those who want more money for less service. Bargaining with their underlings and product quality, they use their position to advance themselves at the expense of the mission.

The bureaucratic infections that plague us are a bane on this and future generations. Bureaucracies cannot stand the light of day, so they hide. Our economic organizations are assembled for the well-being of humanity. Formed to fulfill a mission, they need to do that, but first do no harm.

3 thoughts on “Levels of Bureaucracy”

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