The Iron Law of Bureaucracy

The Iron Law of Bureaucracy

Jerry Eugene Pournelle is an American science fiction writer, essayist and journalist who contributed for many years to the computer magazine Byte. His best-known “law” is “Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy”:

In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.

He has restated it as:

…in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representatives who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

Mainstream Feminism has succeeded brilliantly in many of it’s goals. Women have all the rights that men have, without, to the best of my knowledge, exclusion. Women have risen in the ranks of among the world’s top leaders, are board members and often heads of powerful corporations. Women are 60% of stock and bond holders, control 70% of all household disposable income. Women’s voices are the most listened to, and in Canada, there are more women than men engaging in higher education. Feminism is a multi-billion dollar collection industries world-wide and continues to seek and infiltrate every nook and cranny of the political, economic, and cultural domains. Women now have “more” equality, in the Orwellian sense that some animals are more equal than others.

Having reached a full equality of opportunity, feminist activists now seek full equality of outcome, they have extended beyond their originally stated goals by all relevant measures that I know of. And why have the issues become issues of refined subtlety? The machine that was once built to solve problems has been repurposed to create them all in the name of “equality”, but practically, in the name of perpetuating careers and book sales. The machine is subject to The Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

I prefer to state it more simply: “We’re done” doesn’t bring home the bacon.

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One thought on “The Iron Law of Bureaucracy

  1. David says:

    Spot on. Of course, one could extend that to EVERY governmental and non-governmental organization that affects public policy in any way, shape, fashion or form. The Bureaucratic State is a problem that never goes away, and in societies with elements of democracy, the only voices that seem to wield influences over the bureaucracies of the state seem to be other bureaucracies (mediated a wee tad through the supposed representatives of the people). I may overstate the case a wee tad, but not, I think, by much.

    The rule of citizens by bureaucrats is a good argument for small government, IMO. The fewer people a particular _governmental_ bureaucracy has to exercise its iron fist upon, th less undue power all these other NGOs can exert at any one point.

    (Have I wandered far enough down this rabbit trail for us to have a wee bit of Calabrian Rabbit with Red Peppers, served with a side of polenta, here at the end? One could only wish it were so. . . ;-))

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