If you only read one thing this week…

Too much bureaucracy? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
September 23, 2010, 11:19 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Andrew Natsios, former Administrator for USAID, has written this essay entitled, The Clash of the Counter-bureaucracy and Development which lays out what he sees as many of the reasons for ineffectiveness and inefficiency within USAID, through bureaucracy gone bad. He lays much of the blame on the types of audits that are conducted as well as the monitoring systems that have been put in place which value outputs over outcomes. This is an interesting history of the bureaucracy within USAID,  and contains many fascinating and quirky references to past historical events as well.

An insight into the tone of the essay comes from the following quote,

” The question remains whether under sustained ressure from the counter-bureaucracy and the Congress, SUAID is now spending as much money on oversight and control as on implementation of the aid program itself. What is more, the staff time needed to comply with all of these paperwork requirements has crowded out any remaining available time for the actual implementation of programs in the field offices.  A point can be reached when compliance becomes counterproductive. I believe we are well past that point.

What happened, why it happened, and how it happened is a disturbing, but also fascinating, story of good intentions – accountability and transparency – gone bad. “


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