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December 7, 2013

Lesson from December 7, 1941:


Bureaucrats tend to think like bureaucrats.
Bureaucracy doesn’t bring out the best in human behavior, it brings out the worst. It causes lack of foresight. It causes lashing out, rushed exuberance and eagerness to assign blame, it elevates process over outcome, and it tends to elevate persons of low character over their colleagues with better character. The crisis that follows tends to do the opposite of all these things. But it’s a mistake to place faith in bureaucracy just by default, and then hope it’ll all work out. Real people get hurt. House of Eratosthenes

Posted by gerardvanderleun at December 7, 2013 10:55 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

I don't see that Pearl Harbor had anything to do with bureaucracy. Roosevelt waived the bait in front of the Japanese and they took it.

Posted by: Lorne at December 7, 2013 1:34 PM

Pearl Harbor had a lot to do with bureaucracy, namely, that of a peacetime military. The "process monkeys" were in charge, promotions came with time, not necessarily with ability, and everything had to go through "proper channels". While the attack itself can be blamed on no one but the Japanese Navy and Admiral Yamamoto, having skeleton crews on board the ships on a Sunday morning, mooring the ships and parking the airplanes in neat rows, and not running regular reconnaissance flights or having a combat air patrol on-station at a time of increased tension were all the result of a peacetime, bureaucratic mindset where convenience took precedence over preparedness. That would change soon enough, but we paid a heavy price early on.

Posted by: waltj at December 7, 2013 8:53 PM

"More than ambition, more than ability, it is rules that limit contribution; rules are the lowest common denominator of human behavior. They are a substitute for rational thought." - ADM Hyman Rickover

Posted by: butch at December 8, 2013 10:39 AM

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