On Bureaucratic Organization and Rule (Part Three)

In sum, the entire system – but especially the bureaucracy and the state – revolves around bourgeoisie interests. In turn, the interpretation of law and the administration of justice on the part of the bureaucracy and the state is subsumed by the norms, traditions, and informal judgments which shroud bourgeoisie interests. As Max Weber wrote: “The ‘rational’ interpretation of law on the basis of strictly formal conceptions stands opposite the kind of adjudication that is primarily bound to sacred traditions.” Law and an administration of ‘justice’ that is interpreted and carried out by either tradition, cultural norms, religion, or informal judgments – which one must note is largely how the law is interpreted and the administration of justice is carried out in Western systems – is known as “Kadi-justice.” 

Weber also wrote: “Kadi-justice knows no reasoned judgment whatsoever. Nor does empirical justice of the pure type give any reasons which in our sense could be called rational.” Because bourgeoisie interests are at the heart of the entire system, it follows that: “The propertyless masses especially are not served by a formal ‘equality before the law’ and a ‘calculable’ adjudication and administration, as demanded by ‘bourgeoisie’ interests.” In turn, public opinion is “staged or directed by party leaders and the press.” 

How bourgeoisie interests end up intersecting with popular interests – and that is if the two sets of interests ever do intersect – is through the convergence of what Graham Allison called the “three streams” of policymaking. These “three streams” consist of a “problem stream,” a “policy stream,” and a “political stream,” all of which converge through the efforts of a non-state “policy entrepreneur” and in turn this convergence impacts the decision-making of the narrow, small, but nonetheless powerful group that is in power. As Allison wrote:

“Individuals recognize problems in the ‘problem stream,’ generate proposals for public policy changes in the ‘policy stream,’ and engage in political activities such as pressure group lobbying and election campaigns in the ‘political stream.’ Moving an idea from the public agenda to the decision agenda requires the convergence of the three streams. Problems must intersect with policy ideas, which must be joined to favorable political forces. The streams rarely converge naturally; instead they are joined together when a proposal is advanced by a policy entrepreneur.” 

Arguably, between the arbitrariness and formalization of the decision-making process that is embedded within the narrow and small group that is in power, arbitrariness wins out. It is why certain experts and social theorists such as Erving Goffman and others have contended that informal interaction is far more effective than formal interaction when all is said and done, although both are important. 

After all, and as the policy theorist David Welch argued: “All state behavior is the product of human decisions. We talk about the interests, preferences, and behavior of states, but this is merely a convenient shorthand…for the goals and choices of individual human beings who make the decisions that result in the behavior we observe.” Welch added: “To make a decision, leaders must evaluate their environment in the light of their values and goals, identify a set of options, and to make a choice from among those options.” In turn, leaders and the bourgeoisie in general comprise of a group above all else, and at the heart of group psychology and ‘groupthink’ are the core interests of the group, namely, power and prestige, both of which have been discussed at length in the past. 

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