Now you might be thinking I'm next going to very dramatically say, "If we don't watch it, we could be next." I'm not, because we're not. But some of our institutions have dinosaurish aspects to them, and that's what does them in. And us, too.
Imagine you're a brontosaurus that feels something tickling its tail. You look back and see, not a T-Rex chewing on your caboose, but one of those uppity little mammals. Unfortunately, it's taken seven years for the nerve impulses to reach the few molecules that constitute your brontosaurus brain, so by the time you formulate the thought, "Hey, you back there--owww!--quit chewing on my--yeoww!--tail," it's too late, and Pebbles and Bam-Bam are going to have brontoburgers for the next few years. Very quickly thereafter, things became very bleak for you, then Auf Wiedersehen, it's fossil-time.
If I had to define bureaucracy in one sentence, it would be, "It takes seven years for the problem to reach the brain." Although I probably should add seven years, minimum.
to work for a Fortune 100 corporation, the kind that gets that big through
government favoritism, back when I was naive and just out of college and
had not yet learned that some adults at work act like they're five-
Everyone knew it except the CEO, who was a clueless MBA (but I repeat myself) from a Top Ten school. He was the first, but not the last, of his kind that I encountered. They are, combined, the reason I believe MBAs and Top Ten schools would be irrelevant if they weren't a danger.
Let's put it this way: George Bush and Al Gore graduated from Harvard and Yale, as did all the "Best and Brightest" who got America into Vietnam and now, Holy World War I. Heck, Woodrow Wilson was a university president, and he was pretty much the idgit who started World War I and got us into the whole mess that was the 20th century.
But back to work. For seven years employees not only quit, not only walked off, but sabotaged equipment before they left, then took customers with them. Then they sued the company. Everyone fingered my boss as the culprit. The guy was radioactive with stupidity and incompetence.
Finally, fed up, I talked to the CEO, half hoping he would listen but still fully expecting to walk back to my desk to find my Beanie Baby and all the rest of my belongings in a box. He didn't, and I didn't, but instead found he was utterly without a clue about Mr. Walkin', Talkin' Catastrophe. In fact, he not only defended him, but showered him with praise. Yeow! I was being double-teamed by retards!
I decided if the First Law of Bureaucracy is, "It takes seven years for the problem to reach the brain," the Second Law is "Defend the indefensible, because if you don't, you'll look like an idiot for hiring the guy." Which is exactly what the Chief Executive Bonehead had done.
After seven years of the Bumbler being a perambulating catastrophe, the big guns on the East Coast flew in and did a Lateral Transfer on him, moving him out of state and out of everyone's hair. After seven years. I saw though the guy seven minutes after I met him, as did everyone else who worked for him.
Actually, I saw through him the second I met him, because he had that narrow-headed, eyes-too-close-together Hitler/Hussein/Bush look, but I decided the first impression isn't always the true one. In his case, it was. Sometimes you can not only judge a book by the cover, but when you open it up the insides are just really, really disgusting.
What I saw put me off of corporations, which are creations of the government. "It took seven years to get rid of a man who was obviously utterly incompetent? This would have never happened under a completely free market. Instead, we've got gigantic corporations and way too many people, many of them incompetent, graduating from government-backed colleges."
Bureaucracy, yech. It exists in anything touched by the government, not in the free market. In any bureaucracy, incompetents just stay there and grow like the Blob, or if they're gotten rid of it takes seven years.
The Stupid and Semi-Evil Overlord finally lost his job because he was losing employees, losing customers, losing money, and getting the company sued. Had he worked for the government, he'd wouldn't have lost his job. He probably would have gotten a promotion and raise, just like the guys who organized the raid on Waco.
Notice that I said I worked for a lumbering, stupid, dinosaurish Fortune 100 corporation. While it was staggering around, with the blind leading the blind and heading straight toward the ditch, the smaller, smarter companies were eating us alive. The business they took away never came back, even after the Lateral Transfer of Mr. I Can't Find My Butt with Both my Hands.
In the free market, when a company gets too big it often gets ossified. Then all the little mammals carry its tail away, sniggering the whole time.
Here's an example:
Brontosaurus = IBM
Brontosaurus brain = management of IBM
Mammals = Bill Gates and Microsoft
We know who won that one, don't we? Several years too late the IBM Brontosaurus Brain said, "Hey, what happened? Did I miss something here? And where's my rear end?"
And someday in the future, Microsoft, cozying up to the government and encumbered by bureaucracy and MBAs, will become huge and stupid and lumbering, and a smaller, smarter company will chew it up.
I smirk whenever I think of the fact my boss got his just deserts, even though it took seven years because of the massive bureaucracy burdening the big business for which I worked. There was still enough competition from other business to got rid of him. Finally.
However, I do not smirk when I consider the fact that when incompetents somehow make it to the top of the bureaucracy in government, it's almost impossible to get rid of them. There's no competition.
Do an Einsteinian thought-experiment and imagine what happens in a government bureaucracy when a spoiled rich kid who never worked a day in his life, and who was a heavy-drinking fratboy until he was 40, makes it to the top. Add in the fact he disappeared from his military service over a year, and I think we're looking at trouble.
Or what about a guy who talks like this? ". . . as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know." That's Donald Rumsfeld.
I could go on, but there is no need. In the private sector these guys, even if they somehow made it to the top, would sooner or later be gotten rid of, once they showed their true colors, or else shunted somewhere where they couldn't cause any trouble. But in government bureaucracy, there's literally no way to get rid of them. We're stuck with them, no matter how incompetent they are.
All I can
say is, thank God for the free market, as imperfect as it is. On the other
hand, I don't know who I'm supposed to thank for government, unless it's
Lew Rockwell See Bob's archives there.