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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:55 PM
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Bureaucracy Linked to a Nation's Growth
ScienceDaily (Apr. 20, 2010) "Bureaucracy is the death of all sound work," said Albert Einstein, sharing a popular view about bureaucracy grinding progress to a halt.


But it now appears that the organizing functions of bureaucracy were essential to the progressive growth of the world's first states, and may have helped them conquer surrounding areas much earlier than originally thought. New research conducted in the Valley of Oaxaca near

Monte Albn, a large pre-Columbian archaeological site in southern Mexico, also implies that the first bureaucratic systems may have a lasting influence on today's modern states.

The research by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences directorate, is published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"The earliest evidence of state organization is contemporaneous with the earliest evidence of long-distance territorial expansion," said lead researcher Charles Spencer, curator of Mexican and Central American Archaeology at the AMNH. "This pattern was consistent with the territorial-expansion model of primary state formation, which I have proposed in a number of publications over the years."

Spencer's territorial-expansion model argues that states arise through a mutual-causal process involving simultaneous territorial expansion and bureaucratization. Spencer's model breaks with previous ideas that suggest states rise through a protracted, step-by-step process--first the state forms, then an organizing bureaucracy takes hold, and sometime later, the state begins to expand into other regions in an "imperialistic" fashion, thus giving birth to an empire.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100419172857.htm
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 01:11 PM
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1. Anyone who wants to study the real function of bureaucracy
would do well to study China, which has had a continuously functioning one for over three thousand years.

Dynasties came and went, but that bureaucracy continued and does so to this day.

While we loathe the bureaucratic mindset, those of us who weren't cursed with it, we have to admit that its function is often central to that of a well functioning state and could very well be the glue that holds any organized society together.

Certainly that glue manages to gum up the works now and then.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 02:32 PM
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2. Badly run bureaucracies can be nightmarish -- but a well-run bureaucracy is a wonder of the world.
Humans invented organization, and it's one of our hallmarks. No surprise that it should be so essential to the growth of polities.

Now, it only they'd stop giving themselves a bad name ...
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