COB-30: maintaining position

Many workers in entrepreneurial, innovative, and initiative-oriented positions take holidays about this time of year.  Bureaucratic work allows no such change.

The telephone system must continue to connect calls, the mail must continue to be carried, light must continue to shine, wind must continue to blow, and the government must continue to function.  Similarly, the records, forms, and documents that have been created throughout the year must be sustained and preserved.  Bureaucrats do that.

Day in and day out, bureaucrats are always ready to answer the call.  Bureaucrats save the world.

elberry at The Lumber Room discusses his difficulties with job interviews. The most important point is how he got his present job: “No one else turned up for the interviews and i’d already been doing the job as a temp for 6 or so months, so they gave it to me.” Being there is the most important responsibility in bureaucratic jobs.

esr at Armed and Dangerous asks, “Open Source – Can It Innovate?”  This question is a crucial determinant of open source’s bureaucratic potential. Sadly, there’s some indication that it can, but I would suggest a fuller study of the matter.  More importantly, the safe choice is obvious:

Corporations exist to mitigate investment risk. The large and more stable a corporation is, the more resistant it is to disruption in its practices and business model including the unvoidable short-term disruptions from what might be long-term innovative gain. Net-present-value accounting therefore almost always leads to the conclusion that innovation is a mistake.

Don’t make the mistake of innovating. Go with the largest and most stable corporation you can find, or even better, a major multi-national, multi-lateral, mult-purpose cooperative.

xkcd provides useful instruction on understanding flowcharts.  Bureaucrats find flowcharts particularly helpful for planning flipchart presentations.

Dave Taylor’s business blog at presents a bureaucratic presss release announcing a new release of the fighting game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.  Dave wants something more visually engaging.  But press releases are designed for newspaper journalists.  When’s the last time you show a visually engaging newspaper?

Joe Wikert has suffered business book breakdown.  He laments:

So much of what’s out there seems to be either a simple restating of the completely obvious or 4 pages of insight buried in 300 pages of filler.  Why is it so much easier (and significantly more rewarding) to find greater value in a 2- or 3-screen online article than a business book?

Joe really needs to understand better modern business.  The business of business is bureaucracy.  Business books write it like it is.

In the Worcester College Record for 2008, Provost Dick Smethurst reports “the defeat of the bureaucratic Joint Resource Allocation Mechanism proposals.”  We regret that Oxford will not be joining the modern age of bureaucracy.

The Little Professor, who is a literature professor, sympathetically and insightfully affirms bureaucracy in her review of “The Fiction of Development: Literary Representation as a Source of Authoritative Knowledge.”  She highlights two claims from this outrageous article:

  1. “the themes emanating from development policy documents – the official texts produced by multilateral development agencies, government planning offices, and NGOs – can often be rather starkly contrasted with those of fictional writing on development” (4)
  2. “fictional accounts of development can sometimes reveal different sides to the experience of development and may sometimes even do a ‘better’ job of conveying the complexities of development than research-based accounts” (7)

From being highly underdeveloped, appreciation for reading and writing fiction is now quite advanced. Fiction that is published and becomes popular, or even just attracts some notice, is only a very small share of the fiction currently produced in the world.  We suspect that that the publishing industry, retail markets, and human nature significantly affect the content of fiction that attracts attention.

Moreover, stammering, mumbling, and rubbing your toe on the ground can also convey well the complexities of development.  But the point isn’t to convey complexities; it’s to produce large volumes of documents.  No one does that better than bureaucrats. There are three authors of this 17-page document: David Lewis, Dennis Rogers, and Michael Woolcock.  They are a Reader in Social Policy and a Lecturer in Urban Development in the Department of Social Policy and the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics, and a Senior Social Scientist with the World Bank’s Development Research Group.  These are respectable bureaucratic positions.  I would have expected better from their holders.

That’s all for this month’s Carnival of Bureaucrats. Submit your blog article to the next edition using our carnival submission form. Submissions should conform to the Carnival’s regulations. Past editions of the Carnival of Bureaucrats can be found on the Carnival’s category page.

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