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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 17. 19th July 1972

The Burgeoning Bureaucracy

The Burgeoning Bureaucracy

It was these two movements which really began the quality of life ball rolling. In the 1950s there had been the campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the publication of Rachel Carson's pioneering anti-pollution work, "The Silent Spring," but neither really gripped for long at the grass roots level because people were still preoccupied with achieving the Good Life. It was not until the mid-1960's that the emergence of a new value system began and it is only now crystallising.

Let's go back and have another look at the society which grew out of the depression. I have already mentioned the growth of cities and technology. We also saw the growth of bureaucracy. The first Labour Government said: We don't want another depression therefore we will control the economy. This meant Government regulation and bureaucracy. They also said: We have to redistribute wealth on a more equitable basis. This meant more bureaucracy. So with the growth of the population, the economy and cities, you got expanding bureaucracies and the unfortunate thing about large bureaucracies is that they tend to become fairly ponderous and unresponsive to the changing needs of the times.

We also got the adoption of the goal of economic growth. We got it at the Government level, with the preoccupation with increasing gross national product, and we got it at the level of the businessman with his belief in expansion as maintaining the viability and profitability of his business. John Kenneth Galbraith, the American economist, believes it 'began first at the level of the businessman and was gradually adopted at the political level in order to serve the needs of industry.