THE FLAW OF BUREAUCRACY

Monthly Column by Jim Robertson, July 1994

We received a phone call the other morning from a post office bureaucrat: "It's illegal to mail more than one foot of mail at the same time!" The afternoon before we had mailed about 1,400 letters. What thought patterns caused the bureaucrat to call us? What normal business would make such a statement as part of a customer service call to a big customer? For clearly lawful services that are advertised by the business itself?

In a normal business, price x quantity = gross revenue. Increased quantity would be eagerly welcomed since gross revenue would increase. Any normal business would be scrambling to handle simultaneous sales volume from a big customer. This bureaucrat, through words and actions, implied he didn't want those sales all at once, or even at all in that volume. A normal business owner probably would have fired him for his attitude!

The most important consideration to this bureaucrat was that the regulations be followed! The post office is not a normal business; its organizational structure is fundamentally flawed. The bureaucratic organizational structure is based on following rules and obedience. If you have obeyed the rules you have done a good job. Very little else matters. Bureaucratic organizations tend to attract workers who obey orders and follow rules, as well as those with the psychological defect of needing to control others.

Bureaucracies compulsively create more rules. There is little incentive to improve efficiency. They create more and more jobs for rule-creators, rule-enforcers, and rule interpreters. This is how they grow and expand their influence.

The major growth of bureaucratic influence occurs, however, by the influence rule-creators have on other bureaucratic organizations. Entire industries are created to obey the rules. To the extent that these bureaucratic rule-makers can convince others to obey and accept not just the rules themselves, but the bureaucratic, rule-obeying, hierarchical structures themselves, these bureaucrats become the greatest Value Destroyers in history.

When the primary objective of human interaction becomes obeying rules (especially those imposed by force), value is destroyed in at least four ways. First, little attention is paid to efficiency. Second, the products or services the customer wants to voluntarily purchase receive little attention compared to other organizational goals. Third, individual initiative is thwarted and innovation stagnates. Fourth, when bureaucrats enforce rules by force they trample upon the rights of individuals to engage in peaceful, voluntary exchange - as illustrated by the letter we've just received:

"Dear Friends,
My name is David Lavender [name changed]. I just heard that someone was able to get back their computers, files, and money which was seized by presenting that they are sovereign individuals not subject to their jurisdiction (gov't).

I was raided by the SEC and federal and state police and everything was seized! Vehicles, land, buildings, bank accounts, equipment, records - everything! And I'm being "detained" against my will.

I was promoting and actively participating in a business enterprise where several people "pool" their resources. We bought a run-down motel (32 units) cheap by getting it at a "delinquent tax auction." We repaired it (restored it). We then had rent-free living and rented twenty-two units. By continuing to pool our money and with the extra income we began buying real-estate. Income producing properties! We expanded and became financially comfortable, but the SEC claims we owe them. Because we pooled our money!

I was questioned and I asked to call my attorney. They allowed me - I called one of my partners and told them to delete the computer after printing it and hiding the printed info. The raid occurred after the computer was deleted but before the papers were hidden so they set them on fire. Most were destroyed but they were able to follow bank transactions to seize all assets.

I'm detained until I tell who my partners are. I won't tell! I won't even call anyone because the telephone is monitored. I cannot pay for your information, but I implore you to provide me with it, so I too may establish myself as sovereign and not under their jurisdiction!"

(Editor: Welcome to Nazi America! The bureaucrat-bullies don't care about Value Producers boosting the economy. All they care about is that some silly rule about not "pooling money" was supposedly broken. So they seize all the assets of their victim so he can't afford to defend himself. The above saga also indicates why it may be prudent to organize your affairs for privacy and asset protection, for example by using trusts. Such organization should be done well in advance.

Readers should note that trying to do business in America without applying Freedom Technology can be dangerous.

Please observe your emotional reaction to the above letter - dismay?, anger?, disgust?, depression? Acknowledge your reaction. Whatever your reaction, transform it into determination to do something positive about expanding freedom. Just like in the Hitler era, it's an "us-or-them" situation. I urge you to take positive steps to increase your personal freedom and to help others expand theirs. If you don't know what to do, contact us for some guidelines.)

Value Creation occurs when individuals interact on a mutually-beneficial, voluntary-exchange basis with other individuals in an organizational structure that promotes concentration upon the wants and needs of customers in the marketplace. By applying Freedom Technology, you can increase the scope of your voluntary, value-creating transactions.