The Seven Rules of Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy: A Root Evil

At the root of this growing evil is the very nature of bureaucracy, especially political bureaucracy. French economist Frédéric Bastiat offered an early warning in 1854 that laws, institutions, and acts — the stuff of political bureaucracy — produce economic effects that can be seen immediately, but that other, unforeseen effects happen much later. He claimed that bad economists look only at the immediate, seeable effects and ignore effects that come later, while good economists are able to look at the immediate effects and foresee effects, both good and bad, that come later.

Rules of Bureaucracy

  • Rule #1: Maintain the problem at all costs! The problem is the basis of power, perks, privileges, and security.
  • Rule #2: Use crisis and perceived crisis to increase your power and control.
  • Rule 2a. Force 11th-hour decisions, threaten the loss of options and opportunities, and limit the opposition’s opportunity to review and critique.
  • Rule #3: If there are not enough crises, manufacture them, even from nature, where none exist.
  • Rule #4: Control the flow and release of information while feigning openness.
  • Rule 4a: Deny, delay, obfuscate, spin, and lie.
  • Rule #5: Maximize public-relations exposure by creating a cover story that appeals to the universal need to help people.
  • Rule #6: Create vested support groups by distributing concentrated benefits and/or entitlements to these special interests, while distributing the costs broadly to one’s political opponents.
  • Rule #7: Demonize the truth tellers who have the temerity to say, “The emperor has no clothes.”
  • Rule 7a: Accuse the truth teller of one’s own defects, deficiencies, crimes, and misdemeanors.

Read the rest of the  article by  and at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

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3 Responses to The Seven Rules of Bureaucracy

  1. dcrane says:


  2. David C. Greene says:

    Greene’s Law of Government (developed as a Civil Service employee (1963 -1967):
    “The more important the decision, the less likely it will be made by anyone with the knowledge of what is involved.”
    David C. Greene

  3. Pete says:

    All one needs to remember is that bureaucrats are paid not on how effective they do a job, but rather on the number of people that they supervise. One can increase the number of people that one supervises by increasing the number of regulations one is responsible to enforce. Given this rule of bureaucrats, they will always seek out new things to regulate increasing their staffs, power and pay. There is no other motivation for a bureaucrat – no matter what they say in the end it comes down to their own personal greed. If this were not true, then why would outdated and unneeded regulations not be revised out of existence. How may bureaucrats have ever reduced their staff and their personal pay because there was a better or more efficient way to accomplish a task? Ever ask a bureaucrat haw they measure the effectiveness of their performance? Bet the answer is not based on reducing headcount (cost), infrastructure costs, or even eliminating the regulation.

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