On the Enduring Appeal of Bureaucracy

A roller coaster isn’t scary because
The car’s attached to the rail (you hope it is),
However high you loop, you’re certain you will
End up right where you started. A reliable thrill.
A blanket. Mowed trails. Molded cafeteria tray.
We do it this way because we’ve always done it this way.
And if you want to make a radical change,
We’ll say no. Quickly. Firmly. Again and again.
“So rather than shift to what it needed to do,
The Army would continue doing what it knew
How to do, which is how bureaucracies act
When they lack strong leadership.” Thomas E. Ricks.
Of course it worked so well in Vietnam.
So we do what we do and thus stay safe and warm.


Cafeteria trays at the Googleplex

Cafeteria trays at the Googleplex

The cafeteria tray I had in mind was the kind that has spaces for your food–elementary school tray, of course. But aren’t these Googleplex trays pretty? Gosh. Might make you think it was possible to have a mix of the creative and the tried-and-true.

Also:  The Generals is just an amazing book. I applaud Tom Ricks once again.


(Picture from Creative Commons on flickr, taken by John “Pathfinder” Lester)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s