Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Quote of the day

From Warren Meyer at Coyote Blog, writing about government prioritization:

I will give you my reminder of how to understand most government agencies:  Ignore the agency's stated purpose, and assume that it is being operated primarily for the benefit of its employees.  One will very often find that this simple heuristic is far better at explaining agency decisions than relying on the agency's mission statement.

In my experience, there are some (not many) exceptions to this:  but in the main, I can't argue with his conclusion . . .



Roger Ritter said...

Jerry Pournelle has codified this in the Iron Law of Bureaucracy (http://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/iron.html):
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.


I know of no counter-examples.

Rev. Paul said...

Yep. The "Iron Law" is quite accurate, which I confirmed through personal experience at city, county & federal levels in my own career.