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The Military and Bureaucracy

January 22, 2004

From Gary North

Read this article by W. Lind with Mises's distinction between profit management and bureaucratic management in mind. An army, unlike most other bureaucracies, faces a kind of market: a war. There are success indicators imposed by outside forces independent of the army. Thus, entrepreneurship must function in an army in order for it to survive. This is not true of other bureaucracies.

Lind is saying that the modern army must move from bureaucratic management (centralized) to profit management (decentralized). Of course, we don't want a war. So, in the absence of war, armies move toward bureaucratic management. Until the shooting starts, armies want Eisenhowers, not Pattons. The Swiss have it right: arm the population, train the men, have Alps, and stay home.

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