Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chapter 6 - The Psychological Consequences of Bureaucratization

After sharing the social and political implications of bureaucratization, we now approach its psychological consequences. Ludwig von Mises discussed this in Chapter 6. He identified at least five results: misdirected youth, crisis of progress and civilization, elite paternal government, increasing violence leading to endless civil war, and disappearance of the critical sense. Let us consider the first result. 

Misdirected Youth

The first consequence that Mises mentioned was related to the youth. In order to grasp the strength of this argument, we need to identify the situation prior to the growing influence of bureaucratization. And this is best summarized in "Horatio Alger's philosophy" (p. 93) about a capitalist society. For Mises, this philosophy emphasized the most distinguishable feature of a capitalist society:
"Capitalism is a system under which everybody has the chance of acquiring wealth; it gives everybody unlimited opportunity. Not everybody, of course, is favored by good luck. Very few become millionaires. But everybody knows that strenuous effort and nothing less than strenuous effort pays. All roads are open to the smart youngster. He is optimistic in the awareness of his own strength. He has self-confidence and is full of hope. And as he grows older and realizes that many of his plans have been frustrated, he has no cause for despair. His children will start the race again and he does not see any reason why they should not succeed where he himself failed. Life is worth living because it is full of promise." (ibid.). 
The truthfulness of this philosophy was illustrated in the successful experiences of Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford in America. Many young men and women of the same generation as Edison and Ford confirmed this through their less known stories. These people were characterized with vision, energy, and personal responsibility. Mises described them as follows:
". . . the rising generation are driven by spirit of pioneer. They are born into a progressing society, and they realize that it is their task to contribute something to the improvement of human affairs. They will change the world, shape it according to their own ideas. They have no time to waste, tomorrow is theirs and they must prepare for the great things that are waiting for them. They do not talk about their being young and about the rights of youth; they act as young people must act. They do not boast about their own 'dynamism'; they are dynamic and there is no need for them to emphasize this quality. They do not challenge the older generation with arrogant talk. They want to beat it by their deeds" (p. 94). 
However, such mindset and attitude changed with the increasing influence of bureaucratization. Young men and women lost their vision and initiative. Their only dream was to secure a job in government bureaus. Referring to a typical young man that time, notice how Mises described this shift:
"The routine of a bureaucratic technique will cripple his mind and tie his hands. He will enjoy security. But this security will be rather of the kind that the convict enjoys within the prison walls. He will never be free to make decisions and to shape his own fate. He will forever be a man taken care of by other people. He will never be a real man relying on his own strength. He shudders at the sight of the huge office buildings in which he will bury himself" (ibid.).
This trend was especially true in the most bureaucratized country, Germany. Prior to World War 1, a "youth movement" emerged who was hostile to anything connected to the past. They were proud of their "revolutionary radicalism". However, they never criticized government bureaucracy. Mises gave us a clear picture of the ugly features of this movement: 
"Turbulent gangs of untidy boys and girls roamed the country, making much noise and shirking their school lessons. In bombastic words they announced the gospel of a golden age. All preceding generations, they emphasized, were simply idiotic; their incapacity has converted the earth into a hell. . . the brilliant youths will rule. They will destroy everything that is old and useless, they will reject all that was dear to their parents, they will substitute new real and substantial values and ideologies for the antiquated and false ones of capitalist and bourgeois civilization, and they will build a new society of giants and supermen" (pp. 94-95).
For Mises, the young people of this movement did not actually possess any concrete plans. Their boldness "was only a poor disguise for their lack of any ideas and of any definite program" (p. 95). "In fact they espoused entirely the program of their parents. They did not oppose the trend toward government omnipotence and bureaucratization. Their revolutionary radicalism was nothing but the impudence of the years between boyhood and manhood; it was a phenomenon of a protracted puberty. It was void of any ideological content" (ibid.). 

As to the leaders of this movement, Mises portrayed them as "mentally unbalanced neurotics," "profligate or homosexual," and "none of them excelled in any field of activity or contributed anything to human progress" (ibid.). About the followers, many of them, their only aim was to be a bureaucrat. Similar goal could be seen among new converts as the movement spread outside Germany. 

From its birth, the movement was bound to fail because it was not able to detach itself from the dominance of government control. Instead, whatever its dissatisfaction was with the system could only be appeased if the members of the movement could secure a government job. That's why Mises called this movement a "counterfeit rebellion" (p. 96), and considered dead during his time among countries, which were highly bureaucratized for the followers of the movement were already "integrated into the all-embracing apparatus of state control" (ibid.). 

Crisis of Progress and Civilization

As we have seen so far, the youth was the most affected sector of society due to bureaucratization. They felt uneasy, dissatisfied with what was going on, wanted change, but they did not know how. The reason for this was due to the success of the bureaucratization of the mind by means of education. The youth either due to absence or distorted understanding of the economy, all their cries for reform were actually vain efforts to beat the air. The youth movement failed for they did not possess the quality of mind to see the evil of socialization brought about by bureaucratization. 

Ludwig von Mises saw bureaucratization as a revival of caste system that characterized the age of feudalism. Under that age, the youth "are deprived of any opportunity to shape their own fate" (p. 97). He further described the similarity of adverse condition of the youth both under the caste system and the bureaucratic system. For the youth, "there is no chance left. They are in fact 'lost generations' for they lack the most precious right of every rising generation, the right to contribute something new to the old inventory of civilization" (ibid.). This is the reason why Mises stated that the kind of crisis brought about by bureaucratization was not only confined among the youth. He claimed, "This is more than a crisis of the youth. It is a crisis of progress and civilization" (pp. 100-101). 

Socialism is the ideology that caused this crisis by way of Marxism. The bondage broken by classical liberalism was subtly restored through Marxism's contrary interpretation of the achievements of classical liberalism. In Marxism, "the irreconcilable conflict of economic classes" (p. 98) is regarded as the central dogma. For Marxists, in capitalism, an offspring of classical liberalism, the interests of the two economic classes were hostile to each other. To remove this hostility, the goal is to establish the socialist classless society. And achieving this goal is exactly where bureaucratization serves as the most useful tool.

Elite Paternal Government

Elite parental government is the third psychological outcome of bureaucratization. In antiquity, Plato conceptualized this idea of paternal government as managed by the elite without ulterior motives. See how Mises described this class of leaders: 
"Plato's ideal and perfect state is to be ruled by unselfish philosophers. They are unbribable judges and impartial administrators, strictly abiding by the eternal immutable laws of justice" (p. 101). 
The problem with Plato's concept of ideal state was any departure from the ideal was perceived as deterioration. No change was allowed in order to protect the perfect society from degradation. This Platonic idea served as the pattern for all utopians who formulated their master plans. 

Mises further explained this error in Plato's philosophy: 
"It does not pay any attention to the evolution of social and economic conditions and to changes in human ideas concerning ends and means. . . The notion of progress in knowledge, in technological procedures, in business methods, and in social organization is foreign to Plato's mind" (ibid.). 
The Roman Catholic Church applied Plato's idea "under the Tridentine organization as it emerged from the Counter-Reformation" (p. 101). It was described as a model of "perfect bureaucracy" (ibid.) for it did not limit access to high offices of the church just to members of noble families, but provided equal opportunity even to those who came from peasant families. Potential candidates for these offices equally compete with each other withour regard for ancenstral origins. Out of this system, the best church officers were selected, which Mises considered as "worthy rivals of the most brilliant scholars, philosophers, scientists, and statesmen" (p. 102). Through this form of ecclesiastical bureaucracy, the Catholic Church has provided an example in choosing the best men for the most important church offices, which Mises thought was "the most delicate problem of every nondemocratic government" (p. 101). 

For all modern socialist intellectuals, the above ecclesiastical bureaucracy provided them a successful model for future utopias. Mises mentioned Count Henri de Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte as among those who pioneered this idea in their writings. Other socialist thinkers shared similar anticipation though they failed to mention the Catholic example. However, for Mises, besides this Catholic model, no other precedent can be found for a successful bureaucracy.

Mises argued that the appeal to the Catholic example is erroneous due to the failure to distinguish the difference between the nature of Catholicism and the nature of human society and civil government. Catholicism was successful in establishing such perfect bureaucracy for the creed where it was based was believed to be immutable (I do not know for sure if this creedal immutability still remains the official position of the Catholic Church as described by Ludwig von Mises). Such creed generated stable "set of rules and regulations" that made the selection process very efficient.

Turning to the realm of civil government and human society in general, such idea of immutable body of doctrine that generates stable regulations has not yet been reached. Instead, what mankind has found so far was constant innovation that explains the ongoing progress of human civilization. For Mises, "the forces that brought about our present civilization are not dead" (pp. 102-103), and in fact if not bound by bureaucratic system, will still produce continuous growth. The case of Catholic bureaucracy cannot serve as a model in managing society for in that system, the most important quality that a candidate for high office must posses is fidelity to unchangeable dogmas. Innovators and pioneers of new ideas have no place in a rigid system. This is the inherent nature of bureaucratic management that makes it inappropriate for social and economic affairs.

Bureaucratic management, due to its rigidity and strict compliance to regulations, unavoidably results into dehumanization and strangulation of life. So in order to achieve the socialist paradise, it is a prerequisite that human nature must be changed. In fact, Mises claimed, "In an all-round bureaucratic system neither the bureaucrats nor their subjects would any longer be real human beings" (p. 103). 

Increasing Violence Leading to Endless Civil War

In the most matured state of bureaucratization, increasing violence leading to endless civil war is its fourth psychological result. Mises explained how this came about. For those who advocate political salvation through an elite class of men, there is no doubt in their mind that a society must be governed in authoritarian fashion. However, the problem with dictatorship is that many are potential competitors. "If the decision between various candidates is not left to majority vote, mo principle of selection remains other than civil war" (pp. 103-104). Mises backed up this assertion with a historical example.

The German "Fuhrer principle" is as old as the Roman Empire. The Emperor embodied "the most able and eminent man" (p. 104). However, the Empire started to collapse through "continuous civil war, anarchy, and rapid decay" (ibid.) when no one was qualified to replace the most perfect among men. "The rule of the worst was substituted for the rule of the best" (ibid.). "Treachery, rebellion, and murder became the selective principle" (ibid.). For Mises, "a system that can be wrecked by the fault of only one man is a bad system. . ." (ibid.). It is in this way that "a Fuhrer system must necessarily result in permanent civil war. . ." (ibid.). Here Mises seems to equate the Fuhrer system with the bureaucratic system in which violence is the ultimate basis. 

Disappearance of the Critical Sense

This outcome was surprising in an age that boasted about revolutionary ideas. Mises described this result as the absence of "common sense and self-criticism" (p. 105). Before enumerating examples of such lack of critical sense, Mises introduced first the socialists' interpretation of capitalism and their proposed alternative. For socialists, capitalism degrades human dignity, "weakens man's intellectual abilities," "spoils his moral integrity," discourages "benevolence and companionship," and promotes "hatred and a ruthless striving for personal success at the expense of other people" (ibid.). And so the replacement of capitalism with socialism is the only way to "restore the virtues of human nature" such as "amicableness, fraternity, and comradeship. . ." (ibid.). To accomplish this, competition, the mother of all evils must be eliminated. 

Competition. The idea that competition can be completely eliminated is the first concrete example of the absence of critical sense. For Mises, "competition can never be eliminated" (ibid.). Under socialism, capitalist competition is just being replaced with another kind of competition. Mises distinguished between the two: 
"The capitalist variety of competition is to outdo other people on the market through offering better and cheaper goods. The bureaucratic variety consists in intrigues at the 'courts' of those in power" (ibid.). 
Other historical examples for the disappearance of critical sense include the adulation of the masses, the glorification of Stalin and the Soviet system, and the assumed superiority of bureaucratic management over the free market. 

Adulation of the masses. Compared to the previous age, despite the fear of dictators, there were still few who raised their voices of disagreement. But Mises described a different time, which I think remains true up to the present. Everyone competes in praising the new sovereign, the common man, and no one dares to advocate ideas contrary to public opinion. By doing so, it becomes a convenient way to be the champion of the masses. This is the essence of good politics in our time. 

Glorification of Stalin and the Soviet system. Mises expounded the glorification of Stalin and the Soviet system by a quote from certain Avdyenko and the manner of public reception to Soviet's accomplishment in terms of railroad construction and musical achievement. Here's how Avdyenko praised Stalin: 
"Centuries shall elapse and the communist generations of the future will deem us the happiest of all mortals that have inhabited this planet throughout the ages, because we have seen Stalin the leader genius, Stalin the Sage, the smiling, the kindly, the supremely simple. When I met Stalin, even at a distance, I throbbed with his forcefulness, his magnetism, and his greatness. I wanted to sing, to shriek, to howl from happiness and exaltation." 
Public reception to Soviet's accomplishments was compared to the credit given to an Emperor about railroad construction and to the skepticism that an absolutist government under Marie Therese and her grandson Francis could produce immortal music that came from a Mozart and Beethoven. In the case of these two examples, the people did not receive them favorably. But the Soviet accomplishments were different. The people accepted them as proofs of the superiority of the Russian system. 

Superiority of bureaucratic management. Bureaucratic system was considered superior over the free market. The growth of bureaucracy and government operation of industries in Europe, the emphasis on the importance of identification papers, the popularity of government services, and the concept that personal freedom can be preserved under full-grown bureaucracy were used as proofs for this statement. 

1. Growth of bureaucracy and government operation of industries in Europe. Here Mises used the tobacco industry both in France and Greece as an example. He said that either public's dislike or smokers' delight of cigarrete as goals is not a valid argument for government monopoly of the industry. In Germany, the example used by Mises was the public's uncritical acceptance "that universities, railroads, telegraphs, and telephones be operated by the government" (p. 107). 

2. Identification papers and the need to report any change of address. Fighting criminal elements of society is the typical reason used by the government to justify these requirements. For Mises, this does not provide enough reason to restrict the freedom of most law-abiding citizens. 

3. Popularity of government services. Unlike the private sectors, which voluntarily gain customers through good service, government bureaus coercively acquire their "clients." A public office "approached by many people is not proof of its satisfying an urgent need of the people" (p. 108). Instead, "It only shows that it interferes with matters that are important to the life of everyone" (ibid.). 

4. Freedom under bureaucracy. Finally, the lack of critical sense is fully displayed in the belief that freedom is possible in full-grown bureaucracy. Mises described how people think. They "imagine a regime in which all means are owned by the state and the government is the sole employer as a realm of freedom. They never take into account the possibility that the almighty government of their utopia could aim at ends of which they themselves entirely disapprove" (ibid.). It never entered their mind that a conflict of interest exist between them and the ruling power. 

In concluding the 6th chapter, Mises identified that the intellectuals were the most vulnerable sector of society that unreservedly embraced the bureaucratic propaganda:
"The most enthusiastic supporters of Marxism, Nazism, and Fascism were the intellectuals, not the boors. The intellectuals were never keen enough to see the manifest contradictions of their creeds. It did not in the least impair the popularity of Fascism that Mussolini in the same speech praised the Italians as the representatives of the oldest Western civilization and as the youngest among the civilized nations. No German nationalist minded it when dark-haired Hitler, corpulent Goering, and lame Goebbels were praised as the shining representatives of the tall, slim, fair-haired, heroic Aryan master race. Is it not amazing that many millions of non-Russians are firmly convinced that the Soviet regime is democratic, even more democratic than America?" (ibid.).

Source: Mises, L. (1944). Bureaucracy. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Pro-Israeli and Pro-Palestinian Stance

There are people who want to make the Israeli occupation of Gaza as a religious war between Islam and Christianity. Christians' support for Israel is counted as hostility against Islam. And Christians who support the Palestinians are considered anti-Jew. So Christians must therefore choose which group to support, Israel or Hamas, Judaism or Islam, the Jews or the Arabs? 

I think the issue here is not whether Christians should support Israel or Islam, but between the use of violence and peaceful means; between destructive and productive actions; between military and economic activities; between the political class and the civilian both Jews and Palestinians; and between lies and deception, and truth.

Just want to give an overview of the information that I think most of those who update themselves about this tragic incident are familiar so far. For the members of Hamas, freedom for the Palestinians is their cause. The Jewish government denies it and claims that the real goal of Hamas is the annihilation of the Jews. Others would even say that the annihilation of the Jews is not Hamas' ultimate end; the real goal is the Islamization of the world (Christianity does the same in the name of world mission). On the other hand, according to Israeli government, security is the main reason for the occupation of Gaza. They only protect their civilians, which is a legitimate function of the government. The reason why many Palestinian civilians die in Israel's military action is due to the fact that Hamas uses them as human shields and even if they decide to leave, Hamas will use force against them to prevent such transfer of location. Moreover, in order to protect its people, Israel military is simply rooting out Hamas and wants to arrest its members. Others would say, "No, that's not the real goal. Instead, the prevention of the unification of Hamas and Fatah is the real goal, which is strictly opposed by Israel". 

Which version is really true? Are not both sides simply exaggerating their view to gain international support? Perhaps, there is truth in the saying that "truth is always the first casualty in war," and this does not exclude the war launched by Israel against Gaza. This recent event started with the kidnapping of 3 Jewish teenagers. One writer considers it a false story and describes it as "dubious pretext" compared to WMD during the Iraq war. For him, the story is being used to justify violence in the name of national security. 

Source: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/killed-turning-onslaught.html

Friday, July 18, 2014

Apolinario Mabini: Philippine Oligarchy, Liberty, and the Decalogue

A facebook friend shared an article about Apolinario Mabini to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary I am happy to know that July 22nd is Apolinario Mabini's day of birth, and I also appreciate that piece of history shared by Ambeth R. Ocampo about Mabini's warning to Aguinaldo about some rich men giving loan to the government in exchange of having a voice in the Treasury. I just wonder if that really happened. And if it did, I am just curious about the extent of such arrangement. I could not resist this suspicion in my mind that perhaps if such arrangement took place, that might explain the perpetuation of Philippine oligarchy. 

Source: http://opinion.inquirer.net/76592/mabini-vs-the-rich

Photo Credit: http://xiaochua.net/2013/05/15/xiao-time-15-may-2013-ang-ika-110-anibersaryo-ng-mapagkamatay-ni-apolinario-mabini/

As to the political perspective of Apolinario Mabini, again this is another piece of history that is not familiar to most Filipinos. Around two years ago, I stumbled with one blog that claims that Apolinario Mabini was actually a member of Cuerpo de Compromisarios, a political organization based on the principles of liberty established by the 91st Governor General of the Philippines, Carlos María de la Torre y Nava Cerrada (1869-1871). Two other great political luminaries influenced by de la Torre were our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal and Fr. José Apolonio Burgos y García. 

Source: http://libertadfilipinas.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/the-proto-libertarian-legacy-of-the-philippines/

Such libertarian stance of Apolinario Mabini receives a confirmation from Tamiko I. Camacho's Gutenberg's version of "Mabini's Decalogue for Filipinos". Allow me to share an insightful excerpt from this ebook:

"Mabini was undoubtedly the most profound thinker and political philosopher that the Pilipino race ever produced. Some day, when his works are fully published, but not until then, Mabini will come into his own. A great name awaits him, not only in the Philippines, for he is already appreciated there, but in every land where the cause of liberty and human freedom is revered." 
"In spite of his terrible suffering from paralysis, Mabini continued writing. He severely criticised the government, voicing the sentiments of the Filipino people for freedom. He was ordered to desist, but to this, in one of his writings to the people, he replied: 'To tell a man to be quiet when a necessity is not fulfilled is shaking all the fibers of his being is tantamount to asking a hungry man to be filled before taking the food which he needs.'"

And here are the six commandments I appreciate from the Decalogue:

First. Thou shalt love God and thy honor above all things: God as the fountain of all truth, of all justice and of all activity; and thy honor, the only power which will oblige thee to be faithful, just and industrious.  
Second. Thou shalt worship God in the form which thy conscience may deem most righteous and worthy: for in thy conscience, which condemns thy evil deeds and praises thy good ones, speaks thy God. 
Third. Thou shalt cultivate the special gifts which God has granted thee, working and studying according to thy ability, never leaving the path of righteousness and justice, in order to attain thy own perfection, by means whereof thou shalt contribute to the progress of humanity; thus; thou shalt fulfill the mission to which God has appointed thee in this life and by so doing, thou shalt be honored, and being honored, thou shalt glorify thy God. 
Sixth. Thou shalt strive for the independence of thy country: for only thou canst have any real interest in her advancement and exaltation, because her independence constitutes thy own liberty; her advancement, thy perfection; and her exaltation, thy own glory and immortality. 
Eighth. Thou shalt strive for a Republic and never for a monarchy in thy country: for the latter exalts one or several families and founds a dynasty; the former makes a people noble and worthy through reason, great through liberty, and prosperous and brilliant through labor. 
Ninth. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: for God has imposed upon him, as well as upon thee, the obligation to help thee and not to do unto thee what he would not have thee do unto him; but if thy neighbor, failing in this sacred duty, attempt against thy life, thy liberty and thy interests, then thou shalt destroy and annihilate him for the supreme law of self-preservation prevails.

Source: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14660

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chapter 5 - The Social and Political Implications of Bureaucratization

Now we reach the 5th chapter of "Bureaucracy". In this chapter, we are going to learn the five social and political implications of bureaucratization:

Bureaucrats' contempt for human laws. This implication is puzzling for we have stated in previous article that bureaucratic management is characterized by strict compliance to regulations. And besides the office of a civil servant is established through a legislative act (p. 76). And so it is unthinkable for bureaucrats to entertain this kind of attitude as if they are operating on a different level of legislation. The only justification I observe in doing this is the bureaucrat's loyalty to the interests of the State. 

For the advocates of state interference, a bureaucrat plays a very unique role. Mises elaborated this in his concept of "the essence of the philosophy of bureaucratism" (p. 75). In this concept, a bureaucrat is perceived as the faithful servant of the State who wishes nothing but to implement the will of his master, and whoever dares to challenge that will is considered a social menace. This is the exact opposite of an individualist who is motivated by personal interests. 

A bureaucrat is idealized. He is considered sincere and thinks of nothing else but his solemn task, to demolish the selfishness of the people. Moreover, a bureaucrat is "the champion of the eternal divine law. He does not feel himself morally bound by the human laws. . ." (ibid.). So with this kind of intellectual atmosphere, a bureaucrat appears to be exempted from legal penalties provided that the purposes he serves are those of the State. It is, as if, a bureaucrat operates on a higher plane beyond human laws. This kind of mindset was common prior to the rise of totalitarian states in the past. 

With such an intellectual defense in favor of bureaucracy, how would a private citizen respond? Mises provided an appropriate response:

"You may be excellent and lofty men, much better than we other citizens are. We do not question your competence and your intelligence. But you are not the vicars of a god called 'the State.' You are servants of the law, the duly passed laws of our nation. It is not your business to criticize the law, still less to violate it. In violating the law you are perhaps worse than a good many of the racketeers, no matter how good your intentions may be. For you are appointed, sworn, and paid to enforce the law, not to break it." (p. 76). 

Since the above bureaucratic attitude is closely connected to the conflict between statist and individualist philosophies, I think it is appropriate at this point to mention the earlier section of the present chapter. There Mises introduced a very important distinction to help us clarify contemporary issues made blurred by statist ideas:
"The political conflicts are no longer seen as struggles between groups of men. They are considered a war between two principles, the good and the bad. The good is embodied in the great god State, the materialization of the eternal idea of morality, and the bad in the 'rugged individualism' of selfish men. In this antagonism the State is always right and the individual always wrong. The State is the representative of the commonweal, of justice, civilization, and superior wisdom. The individual is a poor wretch, a vicious fool." (p. 74).
Bureaucratic complacency. To see the significance of this second implication, we need to understand that though bureaucrats are paid to implement the law, the body of laws is not always perfect. It is a fact that unwise laws exist. And since the primary duty of a bureaucrat is to implement the laws of the land, it is not his fault if there are laws detrimental to public good.

The same can be said with the merits of his actions. Though the services of civil servants are necessary to maintain order in society, this also holds true in the case of other menial jobs such as scavengers and dishwashers. This is because under the division of labor everyone depends on the services offered by others. This social arrangement is important for those who specialize in their chosen fields. Considering this, bureaucrats therefore do not possess special claims "to the epithet pillar of society" (p. 77).

At this point, Ludwig von Mises recognized the proper place of altruism in the development of civilization. However, contrary to ideas propagated by German statist philosophers, he argued that people search careers in public service not because of altruistic goals, but because of higher monetary incentive, ease of work and job security. For Mises, to maintain altruistic goals is nonsense. He further explained the real motivation why people seek career in civil service:
"In all countries most people joined the staff of the government offices because the salary and the pension offered were higher than what they could expect to earn in other occupations. They did not renounce anything in serving the government. Civil service was for them the most profitable job they could find" (p. 79).
Furthermore, Mises described that these personal motivations under bureaucratic system finally resulted to complacency as far as the civil service in Europe was concerned: 
"The incentive offered . . . consisted not only in the level of the salary and the pension; many applicants, and not the best ones, were attracted by the ease of the work and by the security. As a rule government jobs were less exigent than those in business. Besides, the appointments were for life. An employee could be dismissed only when a kind of judicial trial had found him guilty of heinous neglect of his duties. In Germany, Russia, and France, every year many thousands of boys whose life plan was completely fixed entered the lowest grade of the system of secondary education. They would take their degrees, they would get a job in one of the many departments, they would serve thirty or forty years, and then retire with a pension. Life had no surprises and no sensations for them, everything was plain and known beforehand" (ibid.).
Growth in government spending. This increase in government spending is due to the fact of dual membership of a bureaucrat. He is both an employee and an employer. By employee, we simply understand "a government employee". By employer, we see that "under a democratic constitution," he is "a voter and as such a part of the sovereign, his employer" (p. 80). Due to this double membership, a conflict of interest emerged, and it is always the bureaucrat's interest as an employee that prevails over his interest as an employer. Practically, this means that "he gets much more from the public funds than he contributes to them" (ibid.). Mises explained further the relationship between this dual membership and concern for a higher salary: 
"This double relationship becomes more important as the people on the government's pay roll increase. The bureaucrat as voter is more eager to get a raise than to keep the budget balanced. His main concern is to swell the pay roll" (ibid.). 
Mises narrates that it is this unfortunate deterioration that actually contributed to the downfall of democratic institutions both in Germany and France. He explains that for considerable number of the electorate looks to the state as the source of income (ibid.). This was true in the case of "hosts of public employees," those employed in nationalized corporations, "the receivers of the unemployment dole and of social security benefits, as well as the farmers and some other groups which the government directly or indirectly subsidized. Their main concern was to get more out of the public funds" (ibid.).

Mises compared this lamentable decline to the situation in the 19th century. During that period, government expenditures were restricted as much as possible. Mises' description remains true wherein today thrift is regarded as detestable, and "boundless spending was considered a wise policy" (p. 81). 

With this kind of trend, Mises claims that representative democracy will not last long. Its destruction depends on the extent of the number of bureaucrats depending on government pay roll. Once this parasitic trend spreads all over the system that leads to the destruction of the productive sector of the economy, we know that the collapse is at hand. Mises saw this as "the antinomies inherent in present-day constitutional issues" and has led many to despair about the future of democracy (ibid.). 

The bureaucratization of the mind. Among the social and political implications of bureaucratization, I think this is next to the worst simply because man's freedom to think has been suppressed in educational institutions. This was made possible through the expulsion of economic education from the universities. As a result, statist ideas became widespread. 

Mises' analysis is surprising and appears unfounded for universities throughout the world still teach economics. However, in the mind of Mises, the kind of economics being taught in the academe from his time onward is not real economics, but "wirtschaftliche Staatswissenschaften (economic aspects of political science)" (p. 83). Notice how Mises described the absence of economics in mainstream education and factors that contributed to such condition: 
"The modern trend toward government omnipotence and totalitarianism would have been nipped in the bud if its advocates had not succeeded in indoctrinating youth with their tenets and in preventing them from becoming acquainted with the teachings of economics" (p. 81).

"The outstanding fact of the intellectual history of the last hundred years is the struggle against economics. The advocates of government omnipotence did not enter into a discussion of the problems involved. They called the economists names, they cast suspicion upon their motives, they ridiculed them and called down curses upon them" (p. 82).

"In most countries of the European continent the universities are owned and operated by the government. They are subject to the control of the Ministry of Education . . . The teachers are civil servants like patrolmen and customs officers. Nineteenth-century liberalism tried to limit the right of the Ministry of Education to interfere with the freedom of university professors to teach what they considered true and correct. But as the government appointed the professors, it appointed only trustworthy and reliable men, that is, men who shared the government's viewpoint and were ready to disparage economics. and to teach the doctrine of government omnipotence" (ibid.). 
Mises made one interesting observation in relation to the statement delivered by Emil du Bois-Reymond in 1870. The latter said: "We, the University of Berlin, quartered opposite the King's palace, are, by the deed of our foundation, the intellectual bodyguard of the House of Hohenzoller" (ibid.). For Mises, this statement "characterizes the spirit of German universities" in 19th century. This statement is important for Bois-Reymond said this "in his double capacity as Rector of the University of Berlin and as President of the Prussian Academy of Science" (ibid.). 

The reason why economics was outlawed from European universities was due to the hostility of statist advocates against the concept of economic laws. They considered such concept as "a kind of rebellion" and "heresy" (p. 83). For if the economists were correct that economic laws exist, "then governments cannot be regarded as omnipotent. . ." (ibid.). 

And so in order for the bureaucratization of the mind to be successful, economics professors were screened and books that teach economics perspective contrary to the view of the state could no longer "be found in the libraries of the university seminars" (p. 86). The only qualities required for professors of "social sciences were disparagement of the operation of the market system and enthusiastic support of government control" (ibid.). Mises described the end result of the bureaucratization of the mind:

"All that the students of the social sciences learned from their teachers was that economics is a spurious science and that the so-called economists are, as Marx said, sycophantic apologists of the unfair class interests of bourgeois exploiters, ready to sell the people to big business and finance capital. The graduates left the universities convinced advocates of totalitarianism either of the Nazi variety or of the Marxian brand" (p. 86). 
And so Emil du Bois-Reymond was right. Universities are the intellectual bodyguards of the State and they were successful in fulfilling their duties. This explains the widespread influence of European totalitarianism. "The universities paved the way for the dictators" (p. 87). 

The supremacy of the tyrant's will. This is the final and the worst social and political implication of bureaucratization. The other way to describe this implication is the gradual erosion of liberty. Again, to clearly see the seriousness of this implication, better contrast the society under market and the society under government omnipotence. 

Under a market society, the public is regarded as supreme. It is the will of the masses that determine the activities of the specialists. The consumers are the decision-makers whether an enterprise will succeed or not. Again, Mises briefly explains how this supremacy operates: 
"He who is eager to earn, to acquire, and to hold wealth is under the necessity of serving the consumers. The profit motive is the means of making the public supreme. The better a man succeeds in supplying the consumers, the greater become his earning" (p. 88).

"Profit is the reward for the best fulfillment of some voluntarily assumed duties. It is the instrument that makes the masses supreme. The common man is the customer for whom the captains of industry and all their aides are working" (ibid.).
However, due to government interference in private enterprises through bureaucratic operation, the sovereign will of the people is subtly suppressed in the name of protecting their interest. Such interference as has already been elaborated elsewhere will naturally lead to low quality products and higher prices. In its final stage, the logical result of such intervention is the submission of the people's will to the tyrant's will. And so in contradistinction to market society, under government omnipotence the tyrant's will is supreme. For Mises, the critical question to ask is: "Who should be the master? Should man be free to choose his own road toward what he thinks will make him happy? Or should a dictator use his fellowmen as pawns in his endeavors to make himself, the dictator, happier?" (p. 91). Again Mises asked: "Who, should run the country? The voters or the bureaucrats?" (ibid. ). 

But of course the will of the tyrant is done through the help of an expert who assumes to know better what's good for the people. This expert is fully aware that he cannot implement his plan within a competitive system, and so he is hostile to it, and that's why he seeks bureaucratic protection. Mises saw this kind of attempt as nothing but socialism and central planning, which at the bottom of it is the "consciousness of one's own inferiority and inefficiency" (p. 92). Mises ends the chapter: "He who is unfit to serve his fellow citizens wants to rule them" (ibid.). 

Source: Mises, L. (1944). Bureaucracy. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Related Article:

Bureaucracy and the Right Direction

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Sign of Panic or Simply Lazy?

Reading this Bloomberg article makes my day. I find the writer funny for he betrays his ignorance of the school of thought he is trying to discredit. He calls the Austrians as "brain worms," "out of touch with reality," and even compared to "vampires." ^_^ Isn't this a desperate act for foreseeing the end of their days, or is the writer simply lazy?

After a superficial argument, he has the courage to give this advice: "So if you’re one of the people who has been fully or partially enslaved by this brain worm, I implore you: Resist."

Thanks to the writer! His counsel will have a contrary impact for a thinking reader.