COB-16: bureaucracy is more important than farming

Peter S. Magnusson recently noted that, worldwide, “for the first time in 10,000 years, farming is not the dominating industry.” More specifically, the International Labour Organization’s Key Indicators of the Labour Market (KILM) shows that worldwide in 2006, employment in services has exceeded employment in agriculture. Employment in services, agriculture, and industry now account for 42%, 36%, and 22% of the worldwide workforce, respectively.

Magnusson’s observation can be further refined. Bureaucracy is a central feature of the services sector. A keyword search for “bureaucracy” on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) returns 274 documents, compared to 247 returned for a search for “farming.” Moreover, a study indicates that scholarly documents addressing bureaucracy are 23% longer, on average, than are scholarly documents addressing farming. Hence, on a total page count basis, bureaucracy is now considerably more important than farming.

We are pleased to announce that the Chair of this carnival is none other than Max Weber himself, that pioneering scholar of bureaucracy. Weber understood that bureaucracy is not just a feature of public administration; bureaucracy is a general outcome of social evolution toward rational-legal social structures and physically inert workers. We are grateful for Weber’s continuing management and oversight of this enterprise.

Philippe De Ridder at Open Innovators offers a carnival addressing “How Government 2.0 tools can increase collaboration, usability and effectiveness in government services.” The extensive comments on these tools that we have prepared have been passed up this Carnival’s management hierarchy. As soon as we receive Mr. Weber’s edits and subsequent approval of the revised comments, we will include them here.

Riversider at the Save the Ribble observes the benefits of sandbagging the Preston Council Leaders. Sandbags might help those politicians appreciate the risks of flooding. Bureaucrats, however, commonly handle deluges of documents and hence are well aware of such dangers.

Hugh MacLeod at Gaping Void provides “Some Thoughts on Microsoft.” He discusses the importance of the staff who help to solidify an organization, “to maintain and enhance the apparatus of bureaucracy.” An organization without a solid structure could easily collapse into a heap of sand with just a few twigs sticking out. Support your organization’s bureaucracy!

Phil for Humanity asks “Please Help Solve America’s Economic Issues.” He remarks, “Fellow Americans, the economic future of the United States of America looks bleak, so please contact your representatives in government and demand fiscal responsibility immediately!” How this submission to the Carnival of the Bureaucrats relates to bureaucrats is not clear. We tentatively conclude that “contact” means “send a document” (electronic or paper). Bureaucrats will process such documents appropriately.

Leon Gettler at Sox First reports that the Iraqi government accounting system is mismanaged. It seems that the system was designed and built without sufficient respect for Iraqi bureaucrats. Not respecting bureaucrats is always a mistake.

Fear and Loathing – The Gonzo Papers, offers a post entitled “The President of The United States Is A Liar.” He remarks, “The President of The United States, I think, is the ultimate bureaucrat. If you want someone “at a lower level” please let me know, eh. Thanks.” We disagree. The President of the United States is a politician, not a bureaucrat. A bureaucrat is very different from a politician. We note, moreover, that all submissions concerning bureaucrats must adhere to the Carnival of the Bureaucrat’s regulations, including Rule 6. We do not, however, reach the issue of whether this submission adheres to that rule.

That concludes this month’s Carnival of the Bureaucrats. Submit your blog article to the next edition using our Carnival submission form. Submissions should conform to the Carnival regulations. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the Carnival index page.

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