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Oxygen and Aromasia

by Claës Lundin

translated by Bertil Falk

Table of Contents
Part 1, Part 2
Part 3, Part 5
appear in this issue.
Chapter 12: New Joint Stock Companies

Part 4: Bureaucracy

“I fear that I have to go home and see to it that the machines of my department are properly greased,” said the chief machinist. “We have a cabinet meeting tomorrow. The chief traffic director is very particular and won’t tolerate that one single gear-wheel squeaks when the Government machinery starts up.”

“Oh, have another glass of water,” the polite host invited. “The engine-men can see to it that everything is well greased.”

The traffic director, or as he was called in the past, the prime minister or state minister, was a fairly rigorous superior. He kept a tight hand on the chief machinists, who on their part kept a close check on the machinists or, as they were once called, the deputy assistants and head of divisions.

“I think that’s an insufferably bureaucratic machinery,” the bank director said. “It could undoubtedly be much simplified.”

“True, true,” many agreed. “The reorganization of the civil service departments has been needed.”

The traffic machinist was not at all of that opinion. He did not want any other change than a cost-of-living allowance every year, or rather every half year.

“With the progress the mechanics have made in recent years,” the bank director said, “we don’t really need so many machinists. Not to mention that the traffic director has too many directors, ministers or whatever they’re called.

“With our present, very well developed parliament, which is what actually works, they’re totally uncalled for. It’s preposterous that every department and machinery division has so many chief machinists and machinists.”

“Don’t forget the greasers!” someone reminded.

“Oh yes, there are greasers, too!” the host added. “It’s as if we lived five hundred years ago. These things have to be changed. What do you think of turning the whole mechanics of parliament into a joint-stock company?”

“A good proposal!”

“And perfect the machines but get rid of many of the machinists. If they could replace the assistant clerks and the assistant secretaries of the past with machines, then it must be possible to take another step and do away with the machinist-deputy assistant undersecretaries and let the present chief machinists each run a machinery division, perhaps assisted by the greasers.”

“But such a joint-stock company cannot come about without a decision by parliament.”

“Well, there must be some parliamentarian who would take upon himself to introduce the proposal into the big machine of motions and bills and then see to it that the drafting- and voting machine does its work. We can float the company here and now. It’s never harmful to float a company.”

Within ten minutes they had floated another company, the purpose of which was to try to turn into a joint-stock company the mechanics of government, as well as what used to be called administrative departments.

Proceed to part 5...

Story by Claës Lundin
Translation copyright © 2007 by Bertil Falk

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