In Defense of Government Bureaucracy (Sort of)

I did summer stints on the sweater factory line and as a waitress and one Christmas season as a dime store clerk.  My father, as his father and grandfather before him, was a watchmaker and had a small jewelry store; I worked for him clerking, inventorying, gift-wrapping, and doing minor clock repairs.  I spent half a year once working for a professional organization.  Otherwise, I was a government employee.  For the last few years I had management who had come from the private sector, which of course they maintained was far superior.  And for my entire career, I had to listen to friends and acquaintances bash government.  This, of course, was never specific to a particular agency or situation, as the little criticism of business and industry was; all government was de facto inefficient and ineffective, if not evil and corrupt.

So it was refreshing to see this essay on bureaucracy, which points out that bureaucracy is bureaucracy, no matter who funds it.

Meanwhile, walk in the kitchen and turn on your tap.  Look out your window.  Is traffic moving? Is anything on fire? Are the buildings intact? Are  there gunmen in the street?  Thank your governments, federal, state, and local. The private sector didn’t provide any of that, and what the private sector is able to provide depends on the governments, which are only organizations we have created to coordinate our society.

We sometimes forget in our complaining about government that there are many places in the world where there is not a government that functions well enough to provide even minimal health and safety for everyone.