Bureaucracy pp 13-15 | Cite as


  • Martin Albrow


On January 29, 1968 the British House of Commons debated a Conservative motion condemning ‘the continued growth of bureaucracy’. At the same time the motion deplored the failure of the Labour government to announce ‘clear proposals to streamline the machinery of government and so to reduce the numbers employed in the public service’.1 For most of the debate the two issues were treated as identical. But one member did express his disappointment that there was no discussion of more general ideas, and that ‘bureaucracy’ was being measured merely in numbers. He suggested that its essence was that ‘the people who are appointed are not responsible to the people whose lives they affect’.2 When a subsequent speaker tried to develop this argument he was told that it was not about the quality of government that they were debating but simply about the number of civil servants. He retorted that the ‘words “continued growth of bureaucracy” imply a sneer’.3 For him talk of bureaucracy raised more issues than the question of the size of the civil service.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons Official Report, Vol. 757, no. 48, January 29, 1968, col. 885, ‘Growth of Bureaucracy’.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid., col. 967. The speaker was Mr J. W. Pardoe, Liberal member for Cornwall, North.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid., col. 980. Mr George Lawson, Labour member for Motherwell, replying to Sir Harmar Nicholls, Conservative member for Peterborough.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    W. R. Sharp, “La Développement de la Bureaucratie aux États-Unis”, Revue des Sciences Politiques, Vol. 50, 1927, p. 394.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    F. Morstein Marx, ‘Bureaucracy and Consultation’, Review of Politics, Vol. 1, 1939, p. 87.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    In Reader in Bureaucracy, edited by R. K. Merton et al., 1952, and Bureaucracy and Bureaucratization, a trend report and bibliography by S. N. Eisenstadt, 1958.Google Scholar

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© Pall Mall Press Ltd 1970

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  • Martin Albrow

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