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Some say the real power is with the bureaucracy — not the elected officials.
  nonelective government officials; or: an excessively complicated administrative system
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bureaucracy bureaucrat bureaucratic bureaucracies bureaucratically
"Bureaucracy" is often used to imply a system that impedes progress by insisting upon unnecessary procedures or due to the requirement of approvals from uncaring bureaucrats (employees).

Note that many words that have to do with governing end in "cracy"; e.g., democracy, and theocracy.
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  • Some say the real power is with the bureaucracy — not the elected officials.
  • You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing.
    Thomas Sowell
  • Good bureaucracies develop effective procedures; bad ones are so preoccupied with rigid procedure that they lose sight of ultimate goals.
  • Her request had been caught up in bureaucratic red tape for over a year.

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  • Customers want a customer service rep who cares about them and solves their problem. Customers do not want to wait for an uncaring bureaucracy to tell them why their complaint was not sent to the right department or was not in the proper form.
  • A crippling bureaucracy is a natural symptom of excessive government.
  • The successful small business owner sold his company and moved into government service. He was unprepared for the level of patience and teamwork required of a professional bureaucrat.
  • I leaned against her desk as she told me, in great bureaucratic detail, about a blood thinner she can’t afford—the woman is an encyclopedia of denied pharmaceuticals—and then I said, just to test the situation: "I know what you mean.
    Gillian Flynn  --  Gone Girl
  • "Now more than ever," he said, but now more condescending than before, "Washington is trying to save money, and is disinclined to build vast new bureaucracies from scratch.
    Dave Eggers  --  The Circle
  • The most important jobs in the army, bureaucracy and government are all taken by Punjabis because they come from the biggest and most powerful province.
    Malala Yousafzai  --  I Am Malala

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  • Somewhere within the monstrous bureaucracy of the Bureau of Prisons, this all made tense to someone.
    Piper Kerman  --  Orange Is the New Black
  • I was haunted by my helpless bureaucratic demurrals in the face of his desperation and the silence of his response.
    Bryan Stevenson  --  Just Mercy
  • The only thing I actually learned during this period was that, by comparison with the bureaucratic hierarchy in Ottawa, the scientific hierarchy was a brotherhood of anarchy.
    Farley Mowat  --  Never Cry Wolf
  • The worst case would be Henri being questioned, maybe fingerprinted, thrust into the sluggish-paced bureaucracy, which would give the Mogadorians the chance to move.
    Pittacus Lore  --  I Am Number Four
  • Was he simply being a bureaucrat who didn’t like the fact that a name had been crossed out without his official permission?
    Leon Leyson  --  The Boy on the Wooden Box
  • I want to add that I’m obviously getting an education in bureaucracy every time she moves her mouth, but instead I say: "I’m interested in seeing what a presentation looks like, and it’s my understanding that these things would be part of the public record."
    Holly Goldberg Sloan  --  Counting by 7s
  • It was a centralized stovepipe command structure with the Secretary of the Army at the top and special agents at the bottom, with three layers of bureaucracy in between.
    David Baldacci  --  Zero Day
  • To many students, school felt sterile and bureaucratic.
    Joshua Davis  --  Spare Parts
  • But the man was, after all, a fair man; a bureaucracy is a bureaucracy; and a couple of brown envelopes did arrive for me, unseasonably, not as part of the autumn rush, choking the pigeonholes in the porter’s lodge, but like the last dead leaves of the year, torn away by the gales of January.
    V.S. Naipaul  --  A Bend in the River
  • It must have been a wicked blow to him to get not a moment’s attention, to gain no bureaucratic ear.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • The supply officer for the field hospital where I had worked, Captain Manson suffered shortages, missed deliveries, and the endless idiocies of the army bureaucracy as his own personal slings and arrows.
    Diana Gabaldon  --  Outlander
  • Andy’s mother, with her understated jewelry and her not-quite-interested smile—the kind of woman who could get on the phone with the mayor if she needed a favor — seemed to operate somehow above the constraints of New York City bureaucracy.
    Donna Tartt  --  The Goldfinch
  • The notice had been generated as a bureaucratic matter of course, a designation made for all missing servicemen after thirteen months had passed.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Unbroken
  • They are one of the most unpleasant races in the Galaxy—not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous.
    Douglas Adams  --  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Thisadministrator of trade is the worst sort of bureaucrat.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eragon
  • Timur’s father had told them that they would have to "maneuver" through the infamously sluggish, ponderous Afghan bureaucracy—a euphemism for "find the right palms to grease."
    Khaled Hosseini  --  And The Mountains Echoed
  • He was busy with other matters and he had no desire to provoke a bureaucratic quarrel.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • But colleges, particularly small liberal arts colleges like Reed, tend not to be rigid bureaucracies.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  Outliers
  • Beatrice’s husband was a paymaster, a midlevel bureaucrat whose job entailed handing out wages to employees of the former government, and the men at the door wanted whatever cash he could access.
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
  • Christopher, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, was a poet, a philosopher, and a Unitarian minister, although he earned his keep as a bureaucrat in the California penal system.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into the Wild
  • Did you read about the scabby little bureaucrat who wanted them to sue me?
    Ayn Rand  --  Atlas Shrugged
  • She knew the bureaucratic archives inside out.
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Even here one man can make a bureaucracy with his mouth.
    Ernest Hemingway  --  For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • It was a worst-case scenario of city bureaucracy not functioning.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  The Tipping Point
  • But along with the city’s electricity and phone system, its bureaucracy was out of order.
    Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin  --  Three Cups of Tea
  • Every year the mighty bureaucratic dinosaur known as the New York City Public School System would belch forth a tiny diamond: they slipped a little notice to parents giving them the opportunity to have their kids bused to different school districts if they wanted; but there was a limited time to enroll, a short window of opportunity that lasted only a few days.
    James McBride  --  The Color of Water
  • But guiding Everest is a very loosely regulated business, administered by byzantine Third World bureaucracies spectacularly illequipped to assess qualifications of guides or clients.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into Thin Air
  • Add another fifteen minutes of bureaucracy before I reached the nurse who wrote that report.
    Susanna Kaysen  --  Girl Interrupted
  • When Dad first became principal, there were no funds due to the massive bureaucratic maze he had to get through to get them.
    Luis J. Rodriguez  --  Always Running
  • Looks like they had to reach way down and find a minor league bureaucrat.
    Pat Frank  --  Alas, Babylon
  • In a case like this the bureaucratic mind finds it most easy to do nothing.
    Tom Clancy  --  The Hunt for Red October
  • Did he seem to tolerate us—the brutal conqueror, the sundried bureaucrat, that sort of thing?
    E.M. Forster  --  A Passage to India
  • She knew well there had to be such forms of bureaucratic supposition.
    Ian McEwan  --  Atonement
  • Their bureaucratic rationale dumbfounded the Marine general: "due to limitations on the availability of ships, difficulties of ammunition replacement, and the loss of surprise."
    James Bradley  --  Flags of Our Fathers
  • Time was critical, though, given the bureaucratic process.
    Li Cunxin  --  Mao’s Last Dancer
  • But it is perennially short of money, and like most parts of the United Nations it is infamously, inevitably, tangled in bureaucracy.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • I sensed that this went far beyond a bureaucratic problem with our passports.
    Betty Mahmoody  --  Not Without My Daughter
  • The Temple bureaucracy would not answer his calls.
    Dan Simmons  --  Hyperion
  • Somehow this, knowing that her husband was so close but that these layers of bureaucracy and incompetence were keeping her from him—it was too much.
    Dave Eggers  --  Zeitoun
  • This rumor came from a rather hypocritical liberal who graduated in the midfifties and is presently a bureaucrat in Washington.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Lords of Discipline
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Associated words [difficulty]:   bureaucracy [2]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Public Policy & Politics, Business, Philosophy
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