Marotta appears to be taking the position of Max Weber, the German sociologist: "Bureaucratic administration means fundamentally domination through knowledge." Weber was a kind of progressive who saw societies' only chance to modernize was in shifting control to ever larger bureaurcracies (he also saw large bureaurcracies as dangerous to invididual freedom - but that side of his study is usually ignored.
Woodrow Wilson was another supporter of bureaucraccy, writing, "...through its greater principles it is directly connected with the lasting maxims of political wisdom, the permanent truthrs of political progress."
So, what is a bureaucracy?
- It is a part of government,
- it acts in ways that control individuals by threat of force (even in violation of individual rights),
- it has a hierarchical structure,
- its actions conform to a written set of rules that are rarely, if ever, altered for the sake of anyone outside of the bureaucracy,
- its members are not elected and often out of the direct control of anyone who is.
- its actions are almost always inefficient in proportion to its size.
Large bureaucracies make rules never authorized by an elected official. They investigate violations of those rules with their own investigators, interpret the application of rules where citizens are brought before non-judicial courts - courts that are part of the same agency that made the rule and investigated its violation. The agency 'courts' ajudicate violations, and usually any appeals of their own rulings. They enforce judgments with fines and property seizures. And all of this over an ever-expanding set of rules as if it were a nation state of its own.
Steve and Korben both make the common mistake of misunderstanding "bureaucracy" ... "As for the USSR, to the extent that it was impersonal, its bureaucracy was, indeed a function of their meaning of "centralized democracy." Administration was independent of tribe or family. Iraq was different from that, and still is.
Who misuderstands bureaucracy? Marotta said, "We dislike bureaucracy, but it is a hallmark of our society. Bureaucracy is an expression of equality under rule of law." Marotta used the phrase "centralized democracy" as if that holds any meaning when talking about the Soviet Union. And he appears to have forgotten the progroms that were carried out by bureaucrats and their agencies. He needs to reexamine his idea of 'tribes or family'. What about the bureaurcratic efforts of the Nazis to exterminate the Jews? Marotta's idea of equality under the law is strange.
Contrary to what Marotta has said, statistics is NOT essential to capitalism. Take a small island populated by people who have never learned statistics. Are they incapable of setting up an institution governed to a substantial degree by individual rights so that they can have property rights and exercise freedom of choice in making, buying and selling? No. Capitalism is an economic system that cannot be separated from a kind of political system and that political system will only exist with a minimal understanding of moral rights.
Hundreds of years BCE, lanteen-sailed dhows were loaded with cargo to carry from port to port. In many instances the sailing vessel was privately owned and each crew member was given no pay, but rather could choose to carry some large chests to hold trading goods they picked, bought, carried to the next port and sold. Each crew member was, in effect, a small merchant on a floating mall. The Indian and Arab captains were given great power over their crew, and used the power to enforce their right to buy and sell. There was a moral understanding that it would be wrong to violate the property of another. To the best of my knowledge, the observance of property rights and choice tells me this was a localized form of capitalism... and there wasn't a statistician among them.
Beware floating abstractions.