Francis Fukuyama at The American Interest
Bureaucratic dysfunctions can almost always be traced back to a badly-conceived mandate from the political principal to the bureaucratic agent, which prevents the agent from exercising an appropriate degree of autonomous judgment.
Under our system of government, private individuals are given standing in the courts to force agencies to implement laws. If local officials thought wheelchair ramps didn’t make sense, they would face a blizzard of lawsuits like the ones described by Loyola and Epstein, where a single individual named Theodore Pinnock forced every mom-and-pop store in little Julian, California to remodel their facilities to accommodate his wheelchair. So the problem here is not excessive autonomy, it’s complete lack of autonomy in complying with a senseless legislative mandate that takes no account of the need for discretionary tradeoffs against competing goods.
And why does the bureaucracy grow, because the politicians give it more, and more and more, to do….