Trope-a-Day: Obstructive Bureaucrat

Obstructive Bureaucrat: Somewhat averted to begin with; a lot of what makes bureaucrats characteristically bureaucrats is that they’re supposed to operate in a manner practically void of discretion, as good little cogs executing according to the procedure manual and not much more.

The Empire never had the population demographics that it could afford to either waste people as cogs, or support minds that were only capable of being cogs.  Their bureaucrats, governmental or corporate or other, were generally handed tremendous discretion and expected to actually use it, with initiative, to make things work.  Whether it’s that directly, or just that that element made the job rather less soul-destroying…

Later entirely averted with the advent of cybermagistry, in which the artificial intelligences that replaced sophonts in all the pure-bureaucratic jobs couldn’t be obstructive, on account of not possessing the necessary precursors to forming a motivation to be obstructive.  A non-sophont machine can only do what it’s built to do, but does that very well and effectively.

(Except, of course, when obstructionism is needed.  Both Harmonious Serenity and State & Outlands have several offices which specialize in obstruction, obfuscation, and time-wasting… for dealing with those certain petitions and petitioners coming in from outside where the public interest demands that they be bored into submission, or at least into going away and quietly dropping the matter.)

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