On government employment

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

One of the things that drew Foseti, then a neo-fusionist libertarian-conservative, to Mencius Moldbug’s neo-reactionary point of view was that Foseti had an inside look at how government bureaucracy works, and Moldbug was the only writer who seemed to understand that elected officials aren’t in charge any more.

Now Foseti has written his own piece on government employment, answering questions and explaining how it works:

I’m suggesting that the bureaucracy runs the show. You might take that to be a bad thing. But, it’s important to remember that it’s far superior to the alternative. We would really be screwed if Congress was actually running the show. In this sense, one can agree with me that the bureaucracy is in charge and be very happy (not cynical) about the status quo.

I share my cynicism with people in government all the time. Almost alll agree that agencies have immense power — and they see nothing wrong with this fact. I sometimes push back that the bureaucracy is totally unaccountable. This often gets some objection, but not in the form of a coherent argument opposing my position.

Accountability does not work in the bureaucracy. I can’t stress this point enough. The defining feature of the bureaucracy is lack of accountability. It’s very hard to understand the complex ways in which the total absence of accountability affects and organization.

If someone really really screws up, they will not be given any new work. That’s about the extent of accountability.

The bureaucracy changes it’s mind when the media and the academics change their mind. This is rare — I haven’t seen it happen yet. This also means that only tangible results that fit media narratives and academic biases inform policy.

Read the whole thing.


  1. Baduin says:

    The description is generally about 50 years behind the reality. Bureaucrats usurped the elected governments before the IIWW.

    (French navy apparently didn’t even tell their minister what their policy was. He was a security risk, and anyway they were changed too often to care.)

    Today bureaucrats themselves are obsolete, and are being replaced with public-private cooperation and other financial feudalism schemes.

    Are the regulators aware of and self-conscious about the gap in knowledge between themselves and those in the industries they regulate? Do they think there is one?

    Absolutely. This makes us defer to industry. Industry gets what it wants the same way that I get the higher-ups to agree on the need to draft a new regulation — threaten the destruction of the global financial system. As regulations get more plentiful and more complex the knowledge gap gets more important, especially when regulators deal with large companies that are well-organized.

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