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Bureaucrats

Impediments to progress or necessary evils?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

Some time ago we built our office building down here in Florida. We also built one up in Ohio and this gave us an opportunity to watch bureaucrats up close and personal, but I cannot really say there are substantial differences between the north and the south in this regards. In both instances we had to deal with government regulators who issued permits, inspectors and others who supervised construction. I think it's good that we have such checks and balances, but I'm disturbed by the inordinate amount of red tape they create. I also find such bureaucrats to be a temperamental lot who changes their minds at the drop of a hat. One minute our water and sewer lines were fine, the next minute they weren't. Most of the time you get the feeling that the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing. Frankly, I believe bureaucrats add at least 33% to the cost and time for such projects, but perhaps I'm being too conservative in my estimate.

Obviously bureaucrats are not limited to the construction field. We find them in post offices, drivers license bureaus, and just about anywhere we have to interact with the government. I'm certainly not suggesting all civil servants are bureaucrats, but it sure seems like they've got the lion's share of them. These are people who like to create little fiefdoms and thrive on power plays over the people they are supposed to be serving.

You've got to wonder about the effect such people have on productivity. For example, I've been reading about companies who are privatizing the prison system. Instead of the government constructing and operating the prisons, private companies have gotten into the business and are building and operating first class facilities at a fraction of the cost than governments do. Some people are alarmed by this. Frankly, I think its a no-brainer and smart business.

I guess the point is, bureaucrats impede progress and productivity. They may like to create their little fiefdoms and drive us all crazy on detail, but I see them more as a barrier than anything else. These are the types of people who see the glass as half empty; they can dream up more reasons why something can't be done as opposed to accomplishing anything. I guess they have forgotten the meaning of the expression "civil servant" which is supposed to serve the public as opposed to the other way around.

Keep the Faith!

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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