COB-45: historic forms

Homestead Act formThe U.S. Homestead Act of 1862 was a landmark law.   An exhibition at the National Archives in Washington, DC, insightfully explains:

Today, Government forms are commonplace.  But when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862, they were something of a novelty. … To prove their claims, homesteaders filled out some of the first standard forms issued by the U.S. Government.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Pa generated at least 24 pages of Homestead Act forms in acquiring a homestead in the Dakota Territory in the 1880s.  Churning butter, milking cows, feeding chickens — next to filling out forms, those were relatively unimportant aspects of pioneer life.   Without forms, there would be no land, and without land, there would be no farm.  Nonetheless, filling out forms was excluded from Wilder’s popular story of pioneer life, Little House on the Prairie.  Generations of youngsters have thus grown up lacking appreciation for the role of bureaucracy in the wild West.  We recommend that the U.S. Department of Education form a committee to develop a proposal for a curriculum of civic education in the importance of bureaucracy in the westward expansionization of the U.S. by pioneers.

We are disturbed by Fool’s'Cool report on bureaucrats in Andra Pradesh:

Disillusioned, dispirited, disgusted, disenchanted, dismayed, disoriented, demoralized, dejected…… these adjectives sum up the current state of bureaucracy in Andhra Pradesh.

A committee should be formed immediately to study this deplorable situation.

David Meerman Scott reports that Japanese bureaucrats are working hard to protect fossils and dinosaurs.  We applaud this stewardship of the natural environment.

Adam Mynott reports on a two-week long meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.  He describes these important meetings as “monuments to bureaucracy”:

they present a televised world stage to middle-ranking bureaucrats who, once they have pressed the button on the desk in front of them illuminating a red light indicating their microphone is on, seem very reluctant to switch it off again.

They will not switch it off until all the relevant problems have been solved.  That’s bureaucratic dedication.

Ben Eltham describes the new Super Bureaucrats.  But Super Bureaucrats are not new.  The whole record of human history is filled with outstanding bureaucrats.

The Neighborhood Retail Alliance complains that bureaucrats in New York City are grading restaurants for cleanliness.  Bureaucrats are already subject to job appraisal ratings.  Why should restaurants be any different?

Russian President Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is concerned about the performance of Russian bureaucracy: “He said that the reports that government and organizations send to him are ‘not always substantial.’ “  President Medvedev should ask for a report containing statistics on pages produced per bureaucrat.  A bureaucrat who does not produce at least 4 pages per week isn’t doing substantial work.

That’s all for this month’s Carnival of Bureaucrats.  Enjoy previous bureaucratic carnivals here. Nominations of posts to be considered for inclusion in next month’s carnival should be submitted using Form 376: Application for Bureaucratic Recognition.

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