Thursday, August 28, 2008

America has More Bureaucracy than Russia

I haven't discussed the history book in a while. But I'm still working on it. It is still a couple of years off. There is still a lot of research to be done. This will be part of it.

Here is the Wikipedia definition for: "Bureaucracy is the structure and set of regulations in place to control activity, usually in large organizations and government. As opposed to adhocracy, it is represented by standardized procedure (rule-following) that dictates the execution of most or all processes within the body, formal division of powers, hierarchy, and relationships. In practice the interpretation and execution of policy can lead to informal influence."

America has a huge government that puts their fingers into everything. But that is wasn't I'm talking about:

Our corporations are forms of bureaucracies.

Now I think even office workers and engineers and garbage have this situation occur almost weekly at their jobs:

The boss comes over and says, "We have to do it like this now."

You look up and say, "Why?"

The boss says, "The corporate office sent an email."

And you can't argue, you can't say no, or yes, or even think about it.



Is it God?

Is it several people,

One person

A giant machine designed by NASA?

It makes one think

"Is anyone even in control?"

Lone Star where I work is owned by a larger corporation that doesn't really exist. It is like a corporation that exists to own other small corporations.

But is that corporation owned by another corporation?

No one knows.

I go the campus cafeteria, I'm hungry, it is a state university, the food costs a shitload, the cafeteria is ran by an outside corporation


Is there no one at the campus smart enough to order food?

No one knows

But even if they did order food it would be from a corporation, that is probably owned by another corporation and each corporation has a CORPORATE OFFICE.


It is like this strange thing that exists but doesn't exist.

Like say, concerning Steak Bites.

What if I searched and found the owner of the corporation that owns the corporation that is Lone Star.

I found him on a beach in Indonesia. And said, "Sir, these steak bites are killing your product cost and costing you money."

He would be like, "What are steak bites?"

I would explain:

He would say back, I would have to go through like 35 people to get that changed, go to those 35 and talk to them.

I travel all over the world finding those 35 people and each person says they have to go through 35 other people, and finally some random person explains it was a deal they made with one of the meat companies, probably something completely insane.

I think people think that our corporations are Adhocracy which means: "any form of organization that cuts across normal bureaucratic lines to capture opportunities, solve problems, and get results."

But where I work, if the CORPORATE OFFICE has changed something, and everthing is going wrong, you can't call the CORPORATE OFFICE. You can't tell them what to do. And if the manager is like, "We will need more labor hours to do this."

The CORPORATE OFFICE responds back, "Work on cutting labor."

And the manager sits staring at the email thinking, "You didn't even bother to respond to my question, you don't care at all." But they know they must cut labor now. They walk out to the office or restaurant or factory and see that the workers are already behind, sigh, and send someone home. And instead of being a real manager and sitting around drinking coffee all day and randomly checking up on people. They are getting paid salary and so they have to go out and work with the workers. (Which defeats the porpose of the American Dream which is to work hard for ten years and end up drinking coffee all day doing nothing being a boss.) While the CORPORATE OFFICE exists somewhere no one knows. The checks say Wichita Kansas. I mean if I showed up in Kansas and was like, "Hey can you fix this?" Would there be a human there. Probably one sad woman eating a snickers bar. She looks up and says, "This is the CORPORATE OFFICE."
I say, "So where are the corporate people?" She responds, "I've never met them. I get emails."


ryan manning said...

this is good

Paula Bomer said...

This made me think that I wish you could travel to Eastern Europe. I love how well read you are, but my six weeks in Berlin, when the wall was up, visiting my mother's sister in her East Berlin apartment ( she had married a concentration camp survivor who was freed by the Russians and they were both communists) really influenced so much of my thinking about life. In fact, I wrote a book, Tante Eva, that I hope to someday publish, about it. My epigraphs read:

I hear alot of people saying
Socialism—well all right
But what they’re pulling on us here
It isn’t worth a light!’
I see alot of people clenching
Buried fists in mackintoshes
Dog-ends hang cold from their lips
And in their hearts are ashes
Wolf Biermann

“The (DDR) was the anti-fascist phoenix that rose from the ashes of the Nazi inferno.”
Unknown East German

Even though there is no "iron curtain" anymore, visiting Romania or Bulgaria of even- more recently I was in Slovakia - could prove so interesting to you. You are so genuinely engaged in world issues.

Laurie said...

Noah, This cannot be more true.

Another thought....working in a corporate environment today is no different for me than the work my father did on the factory floor of General Electric in Youngstown for 27 years....

Like him, I have no control over my work. I have no voice in the decisions made, no matter how inefficient they are. My ideas receive no merit based on the fact that they do not come from "management." Decisions, like with your meat example, are handed down through the bureaucracy, rarely if ever judged or scrutinized until their consequences are glaringly apparent. Even at that point, they stumble around creating committees to dissect the issue and fix it, which usually creates more problems and ultimately wastes time.

The only differences between the working conditions I have and my father have is that, like Misail, I get to sit in the air conditioning. Oh, and I had to spend 30K on a bachelor's degree to earn the pleasure of this work.

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Well both countries are full with bureaucracy, it is a matter of which is going to accept it as a fact.