There Will Be Bureaucracy

Smokey the Bear in "Office Space"
Only You Can Prevent Bureaucracy

To those who decry government inefficiency, I’ll see your DMV and raise you a cable guy. Or a tech support voicemail system. Or how about a stack of TPS reports with outdated cover sheets? I won’t deny that government isn’t at times byzantine and bureaucratic. It is. But it annoys me to see “job creating” politicians talk about the business world with this “our shit don’t stink” attitude. The truth of the matter is, bureaucracy plagues business as much as government.

Nine to Five

Close your eyes and picture a bureaucrat. You’ll probably see a cubicle worker with a big stack of papers. Or maybe a bored clerk with a long line of impatient people. Either way there’ll be fluorescent lights and drab upholstery. There will be committee meetings and three ring binders. This is true whether you’re picturing some socialist government ministry or a Fortune 500 company. Because at the end of the day, bureaucrats don’t care who they’re working for. They just want to do their 9 to 5 and get their paycheck.

Human Nature

Bureaucracy had existed since the dawn of civilization, and there’s no reason to think it’ll go away any time soon. It’s not a problem with government and its not a problem with business. It’s a problem with human nature, one that we’re just going to have to learn to live with.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs regularly at

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7 Responses

  1. January 3, 2013

    […] forms have gotten smarter and more intuitive, though they’re still far from perfect. Like There Will Be Bueaucracy, bad online forms are here to […]

  2. April 18, 2013

    […] fact that it’s a one-time error, each of Peter’s eight bosses needs to lecture him on proper TPS report procedures. Why? It’s because people think that human nature can be […]

  3. April 22, 2013

    […] nothing wrong with government per se. Just like any other big institution, it is prone to Byzantine bureaucracy and corruption. But in this country, many people seem to think that government is more prone to […]

  4. April 24, 2013

    […] pile up on every surface. Duplicate, triplicate and quadruplicate, too Punch some holes and fill some binders. Copy, sort and file for […]

  5. March 1, 2014

    […] Russians and Brazilian Integralists. Even after World Wars, the design influenced the design for Smokey Bear saying “Only YOU can prevent forest […]

  6. August 2, 2016

    […] get me wrong, bureaucracy exists for a reason. You’re never going to get away from meetings and documentation. But if […]

  7. February 6, 2017

    […] the subtle, seductive forces Of groupthink and bureaucracy Creativity grows and even thrives If you know how to grow […]

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