Bureaucracy can mean two things. One meaning is neutral as in, “It requires a large bureaucracy to run something as complex as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).” The other meaning is pejorative, “If it were not for all the bureaucracy, things could get done much cheaper and faster at USCIS.” When bureaucracy is used pejoratively, the usual gripe is that the bureaucratic rules and procedures are not there to streamline functions to make things more efficient, but rather as an end unto themselves. If someone questions: Why do we need to do it this way? The answer is: Because we do.
Forms are an example of bureaucracy imposing rules to streamline processes. In the case of USCIS, before a person can receive a benefit, certain information must be gathered. A person seeking a benefit, like a visa or U.S. citizenship, could write a letter presenting the needed information. An examiner would have to scour the letter for the required information and missing information may not be readily visible and so a lot of time would be consumed. Instead, forms are used to create efficiency which equates to quicker and cheaper. (more…)