Wednesday, January 18, 2017


These rules were originally magically delivered by Apoxia, the Egyptian god of governments to his priests on the famous Theban Scrolls of Bureaucratic Complexity. They were found by a lost American tank crew during World War I in the Hatshepsut Auxilliary Legal Library when a German shell accidentally uncovered the entrance during a brief skirmish outside the ruins of Memphis (Egypt not Tennessee). The Scrolls have been preserved ever since in a file drawer next to the water cooler in the Department of Retired Federal File Clerk Benefits in the basement of the Sam Rayburn Building in Washington, DC.  It is an enlightening document.

Rules of Bureaucracy: #1
It is easier to fix the blame than to fix the problem.

Rules of Bureaucracy: #2
A penny saved is an oversight.

Rules of Bureaucracy: #3
Information deteriorates upward.

Rules of Bureaucracy: #4
The first 90% of the task takes 90% of the time; the last 10% takes the other 90%.

Rules of Bureaucracy: #5
Experience is what you get just after you need it.

Rules of Bureaucracy: #6
For any given large, complex, hard-to-understand, expensive problem, there exists at least one short, simple, easy, cheap wrong answer that winds up costing three times the original estimate.

Rules of Bureaucracy: #7
Anything that can be changed will be, until time runs out and a new change can be proposed restarting the cycle.

Rules of Bureaucracy: #8
To err is human; to shrug is civil service. To call it a triumph and take credit is politics.

Rules of Bureaucracy: #9
There’s never enough time to do it right, but there’s always enough time to do it over and recommend a budget increase.

Rules of Bureaucracy: #10
Preserve Thyself!

 © 2017 by Tom King

1 comment:

Mark Milliorn said...

You must be watching the confirmation hearings, too. I sincerely hope that these televised hearings are not being watched by anyone outside the US. I'm already embarrassed enough.