Any social, economic or political system that is based on organised structures and defined rules of engagement would entertain some form of bureaucracy. In the operations of the complex American political system, bureaucracy is entertained from the very onset. It is becomes a political controversy merely in relation to a different understanding and analysis by scholars and politicians alike. However, it should be appreciated that the American bureaucracy due to its complexity can be perceived in various levels and perspectives. The fact that the political system itself entertains two tiers of government, that is the federal and the state government, present flesh for bureaucratic establishments and occurrences. In the discourse on bureaucracy this paper would consider the philosophies by Moe, Carpenter and Lipsky and attempt to pre-empt how using their philosophy, they would have reacted to the bureaucracy controversy in American politics.
Moe entertained the concept of bureaucracy only to the extent that it served its intended purposes. In the works of Moe, he illustrates his opinion in relation to bureaucracy. Moe posits that interest groups have a role in the development of bureaucracies and that the development of the bureaucracies is informed by the need to outlines clear structures for the running of operations. In that vein, Moe would facilitate a bureaucratic system and argue for its enunciation on the grounds of creating political and social order. Indeed, in his writings on consumer groups, occupational safety groups, and environmental safety groups, Moe gives the position that bureaucracies will always prevail for the purpose of filling the void of disorder. This narrative by Moe is inclined towards a bureaucratic system able to effectively protect the interest of interest groups. He acknowledges the role of interest groups and their likely win over political persuasion because of their fight for structures. According to Moe’s narrative, structures play a central role in informing the political, social and economic metamorphosis of a nation, America included. It is this premise that Moe advances for a bureaucratic system. He cites the roles discharged by bureaucrats in their quest for political control and advocates for their retention as far safeguarding of the interest of the specialised groups represented by the interest groups is facilitated.
In addition, Moe comes out strongly to appreciate the presidential system. He argues that the social concerns on the presidency are usually broader and much more representative of the citizenry, as opposed to congressional pressure which is subject to small interest groups pressures. He argues that the bureaucracy has been rightly constructed so as to confer supremacy on the presidency rather than congress. This he appreciates covers the interest of the citizenry. Moe is at the same time of the opinion that the beauty of bureaucracy lay in its tendency to facilitate compromise through which the victor embraces the loser in the struggle for political power. Finally, Moe is abrasive in his advocacy for the structural organisation of society. He asserts that such an arrangement is a guarantee of order which entertains stability.
Lipsky appreciates the role of public workers. He embraces the bureaucracy as entertaining of public workers and promoting their contribution to society. According to Lipsky bureaucracy is instrumental in the daily life processes citizens engage in. Lipsky expresses his appreciation of the role of street level bureaucrats. He observes that this group of bureaucrats are responsible for the decisions that affect the common man. He also appreciates the fact that it is their combined roles that lead to the establishment of agency decisions which have a fundamental effect in the lives of the citizenry. To this extent, Lipsky advances for the foundation of a firm bureaucracy that represents contemporary aspirations and occurrences. Finally, Lipsky sees the street level bureaucrat as the social controller and advocates for the conferment of necessary recognition from the citizenry and the political systems.
Carpenter, on the other hand, argues for the place of bureaucracy in the achievement of organisational objectives. He puts a strong argument for the agricultural bureaucrat and claims in a celebrated rhetorical question on why we need good laws. He says the good laws need to make bureaucracies effective and workable. The argument advanced by Carpenter reveals his admiration for the bureaucracy. He sees the bureaucrats as the center of success and believes the path to a successful implementation of service delivery must be littered by bureaucrats. This effectively places the three political theorists in support of bureaucracies. That they believe in the bureaucratic system but on a different understanding and grounds reveals the complexity that confronts American political systems even among the scholarly fraternity.
Given the role of the bureaucracy in achieving stability and facilitating an orderly, organised and coordinated system of power flow and service delivery, I believe the discourse in America on the controversy should entertain the bureaucracy and accept the system for what it has played. Indeed, bureaucracy also facilitates the day to day interactions in life through an orderly system that in-keeps with the objects of the American society. Bureaucracy should, therefore, be embraced but strengthened in the spirit of enabling a stable society progress forward.
Carpenter, Daniel P. The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy: Reputations, Networks, and Policy Innovation in Executive Agencies, 1862-1928. Princetone: Princeton University Press, 2001.
Lipsky, Michael. Street-Level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Service. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2010.
Moe, Terry M. "Organization Theory : From Chester Barnard to the Present and Beyond: From Chester Barnard to the Present and Beyond." Williamson, Oliver E. Cambridge: Oxford University Press, 1990.