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On Planning for Development: Bureaucracy                                                        Editor: Róbinson Rojas Sandford
RP2006/21 Grzegorz W. Kolodko:
Institutions, Policies and Economic Development
Institutions are not only created and built, but also, and especially, need to be learnt. It is a process which takes place in all economies, but acquires a special importance in less advanced countries. Not only theoretical arguments, but also the practical experience over the past 15 years demonstrates that faster economic growth, and hence also more broadly, socioeconomic development, is attained by those countries which take greater care to foster the institutional reinforcement of market economy. However, progress in market-economy institution building is not in itself sufficient to ensure sustained growth. Another indispensable component is an appropriately designed and implemented economic policy which must not confuse the means with the aims.
RP2006/52 John Toye:
Modern Bureaucracy
(PDF 181KB)
Max Weber believed that bureaucracy could be understood by analysing its ideal-typical characteristics, and that these characteristics would become more pervasive as the modern age advanced. Weber’s horizontal account of bureaucracy can be criticised on various grounds, including its unrealistic notion of bureaucratic rationality. An alternative view is proposed, namely, that the development of state bureaucracies is driven by the trajectory of the highpower politics in which they are nested.
This claim is examined in the light of historical examples of the evolution of bureaucracies – in Prussia, Britain, the USA and Japan. In analysing these cases, the paper examines the original visions behind different institutional designs in different countries, and discusses how the vision was formed and how durable it proved to be. In contrast to sociological and historical explanations, the analytical contribution of new institutional economists to understanding the problems of bureaucratic evolution is assessed.
B. Bowornwathana, 1997
Thailand: bureaucracy under coalition governments
Pratikno, 2002
Initiating citizen participation in local policy making in Indonesia
Abstract Citizen participation in public policy making was absence in Indonesia during the centralized and military-bureaucratic authoritarian regime, 1965-1998. Following the felt down of the government in 1998, decentralization was promoted and the first free and fair election in the last 44 years was conducted. The emerging of civil society organizations and freedom of the press has been coloring the political reform. This paper shows that the political reform for decentralization and democratization do not guarantee the increase of citizen participation in public policy making. The getting much stronger local parliament in local government structure does not intensify people’s involvement and control over policymaking and implementation. Local bureaucracy tends to be defensive and reluctant the change the exclusive policymaking. The more politically active society, civil society organization and local press are able to speak loudly but unable to develop more effective participation.
A. A. Syed, 2002
Pakistan: establishment vs. bureaucracy
Bureaucracy (normally known as bura-karey-see) was and is involved in corruption but it is a bitter reality that it certainly is the strongest Mafia of the country since 1947. Bureaucracy has always been in the background of every coming and going government. This is no way to deal with Bureaucracy the way NRB is proposing. It will only start a cold war between the Establishment (Armed forces) and the Bureaucrats. Results could be predicted keeping in view the history of all Military leaders of Pakistan in the past. Wear and tear of bureaucracy is on in NRB and ED(Establishment Division) camps. Only Military men are involved in these new planning’s and no worthy representation granted to the mainly affected department of bureaucrats. President should realize that he needs to keep everyone with him at this juncture and country cannot afford another cold war between or among giants of Pakistan i.e. Military and Bureaucracy. It will only result in more problems.
A. A. Akhtan, 2003
A tale of loot and plunder
In any case, there is now a new force encroaching, and one that official data often conveniently misses out on. The state is increasingly grabbing land, along with the state elite’s own autonomous corporate entities. There is a fair bit of land in Pakistan that remains uncultivated (or under-cultivated), which in many areas is referred to as shaamilaat, or commons. Livestock rearing remains a significant source of income for many rural dwellers, as does low-cost, organic, rain-fed agriculture. In many cases, such activities take place on shaamilaat. Under the guise of “development” projects, a large amount of such land is being usurped by the state. This is done by conveniently assuming that shaamilaat land is state land. Therefore, when such land is acquired, the state does not even bother to account for the destruction of livelihood and eco-systems that takes place, let alone accommodate the losses that are inflicted on local communities.
R. Bedi, 1999
India-Pakistan. Defense bureaucracy takes on real soldiers
G. Kandelaki, 2002
Military corruption in Georgia
P. Gizewski/ T. Homer-Dixon, 1996
Environmental scarcity and violent conflict: the case of Pakistan
D. A. Sotiropoulos, 1995
The remains of authoritarianism: bureaucracy and civil society in post-authoritarian Greece
F. W. Riggs, 1996
Bureaucracy and Constitutional Democracy
Although we usually think about "bureaucracy" in the context of public administration, the system of appointed officials, military and civil, in every state also has great political significance, not only in the sense that officials exercise direct influence on the shaping of public policies but they also affect the capacity of regimes to survive. Maladministration not only leads to popular dissatisfaction with governments but it can provoke public officials, led by military officers, to seize power and become a ruling elite. They may do this to abort revolutionary movements and rebellions, or simply to replace a regime that cannot govern. Explanations based on the ambitions of military officers strike me as quite inadequate.

Keith Hart, 2005
Formal Bureaucracy and the Emergent Forms of the Informal Economy
The following essay has three parts. The first is a story about fluctuations in the balance of the relationship between impersonal and personal principles of social organization. This draws heavily on Max Weber’s interpretation of western history. The second part reviews the concept of an ‘informal economy/sector’ from its origin in discussions of the Third World urban poor to its present status as a universal feature of economy. The third part asks how we might conceive of combining the formal/informal pair with a view to promoting development. In conclusion I suggest how partnerships between bureaucracy and the people might be made more equal.
B. Martin et al, 1997
Challenging Bureaucratic Elites
The word 'bureaucracy' makes most people think of government -- departments of taxation, welfare, police, you name it. But actually bureaucracies are found everywhere: corporations, churches, the military, trade unions, political parties, schools, hospitals. Most people accept them as a necessary part of life, although they may complain about them. Nobody likes getting caught in bureaucratic regulations, popularly called 'red tape'.
Yet most bureaucracies are pretty new. Several hundred years ago there were hardly any bureaucracies like the familiar ones today. Bureaucracies have gradually become the main way to organise work. Their key characteristics are:
  • hierarchy: bosses at the top, workers at the bottom;
  • division of labour: different people do different specialised tasks, such as salespeople, secretaries and accountants in a company;
  • rules describing the duties of workers;
  • standard operating procedures.
D. Isenberg, 1999
The other bloated educational bureaucracy
U.S. training of foreign military personnel has long been controversial. Liberals, for example, have long criticized installations such as the School of Americas for training Latin American military personnel, who use their newly learned skills to better repress the citizenry of their own countries, for example, Noriega in Panama, or the soldiers in El Salvador. For years, Amnesty International has documented human-rights abuses in countries that receive security assistance...
E. Mandel, 1993
Bureaucracy, East and West
Mandel defines the bureaucracy as a social layer which has appropriated administrative functions previously exercised by society as a whole.
He characterises the bureaucracy's actions in the former Soviet Union as aiming not to restore capitalism nor to build a classless socialist society, but to defend and extend its own power and privilege. It did not have the social, historical and economic roots of a new ruling class, but it did have sufficient autonomy to defend itself. Its historic basis was the decline and later disappearance of independent mass activity, international isolation and industrial backwardness.
M. N. Rothbard, 1995
Bureaucracy and the civil service in the United States
One of the most important sociological laws is the “Iron Law of Oligarchy”: every field of human endeavor, every kind of organization, will always be led by a relatively small elite. This condition will hold sway everywhere, whether it be a business firm, a trade union, a government, a charitable organization, or a chess club. In every area, the persons most interested and able, those most adaptable to or suited for the activity, will constitute the leading elite. Time and again, utopian attempts to form institutions or societies exempt from the Iron Law have fallen prey to that law: whether it be utopian communities, the kibbutz in Israel, “participatory democracy” during the New Left era of the late 1960s, or the vast “laboratory experiment” (as it used to be called) that constituted the Soviet Union. What we should try to achieve is not the absurd and anti-natural goal of eradicating such elites, but, in Pareto’s term, for the elites to “circulate.” Do these elites circulate or do they become entrenched?
B. Martin, 1990
The Military
Superficially, military forces are a prime root of war. They are responsible for fighting, the organised use of force against human and technological opposition. Without military forces, there would be no war as currently conceived.
At a deeper level, military forces may seem to be a consequence of the war system, namely as agents of ruling groups. Modern military forces are mobilised by the state, as a defence of the interests of state elites against external and internal enemies. Without addressing the dominant social interests in the state, a focus on eliminating the military alone is quite inadequate.
But although military forces do indeed serve the interests of the state, the military is not purely a tool. Military personnel, and especially military elites (the officer corps) have their own special interests. Military elites will not sit by idly while state power is dissolved or transferred to interests seen as hostile to military interests. The many military regimes around the world testify to the potential semi-independent political role of military forces. Military forces may serve state interests, but this is often contingent on state interests serving military interests. The state and the military support each other, and they need to be addressed both separately and jointly.
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