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18:00 - 19:30 1 November 2012

In Defence of Bureaucracy


Archaeology Lecture Theatre G6 | Gordon House (link Map)
31-34 Gordon Square | London | WC1H 0PY |

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Admission: Free of charge
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

Lord Gus O’Donnell, The Bureaucrats' bureaucrat , Gus O'Donnell, former head of the Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary and now member of the House of Lords and Visiting Professor at UCL, will make the case for bureaucracy

Our media frequently refer to those who serve the state as "bureaucrats", often preceded by an adjective like "mindless", "feather-bedded" or "bloated". So why is bureaucrat a term of abuse in the same way that an argument is dismissed for being "academic"? Imagine a world without bureaucrats. Is it heaven or hell? The antonyms for bureaucracy are anarchy, chaos and lawlessness. Is that really what society wants or needs?

In this seminar Lord O’Donnell seeks to redress the balance and make the case for bureaucracy. Max Weber eloquently made this argument many years ago but his words of wisdom have been forgotten. And the case for bureaucracy is not just about the state. Did our banks suffer from excessive bureaucracy? Are developing countries held back by excessive bureaucracy or a lack of good governance?


Eimear O’Casey
020 3108 5060 | eimear.ocasey@gmail.com


School of Public Policy Seminar Series