Monday, September 13, 2010

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracies and the Catholic Church

In today's mailbag (scroll down to "A bit of rambling regarding clerical bureaucracy") at, one of Pournelle's correspondents takes a fascinating and accurate look at the Iron Law and the Church's bureaucracy. It seems that over time the Church has avoided the worst effects of the Iron Law.
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

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