No one likes bureaucracies. Just think of the adjectives we use to describe them: They are bloated, cumbersome, stifling, and impersonal, while the bureaucrats themselves are faceless, entrenched, and unelected.
This is unfortunate. It’s true that dealing with bureaucracies can be extremely irritating, and they can make mistakes, sometimes big ones. The trouble is that the alternatives are usually worse — and we’re far too inclined to forget it.
For much of human history, societies have been unapologetically organized to benefit those in positions of political power. Practically speaking, this meant that patronage was the rule. Whether you and your family personally benefitted from the distribution of social and economic goods — land, work, trade, and so forth — was a function of what party, faction, or class you belonged to, and whether its members controlled the political levers of power.