New World Order Bureaucracies and the Rise of Impersonal Rule
By Greg Guma
February 08, 2014
Modern bureaucracies have far more influence than anything officially conferred on them by elected officials. They may respond to the demands of certain special interests, or occasionally even to the personal pressure of one powerful person. But most often they follow strict “operational” laws and obedience to their rules turns systems of transmission into systems of decision.
Philosopher Jacques Ellul argues that bureaucratic law rests on three basic principles:
1. Continuity and Stability: The idea is that personnel comes and goes, but “administration” remains basically the same. Beyond any changes there is a constant structure, a continuity of tradition that sustains administrative power.
2. Specialization and Rationalization: Bureaucracy exists in order to function, to make the existing political-economic system advance as a whole. It doesn’t promote any particular truths and can’t often consider the needs of specific individuals. It obeys a single basic rule – efficiency. There is no central leadership. Each person is actively restricted to making his or her own unit function, preferably without crisis or work stoppage. There’s little interest in or incentive for knowing the whole.
3. Anonymity and Secrecy: Leaders give only general instructions, usually not concrete and therefore not requiring specific actions. Ultimately, decisions become independent of individual responsibility.