The title

The Law of Increasing Conservatism states:

“All organizations tend to become more conservative as they get older, unless they experience periods of very rapid growth or internal turnover.”

– Anthony Downs, Inside Bureaucracy.

I learned this axiom while working on my M.A. in Public Administration.  I liked the name and it always stuck in my head.  The Law of Increasing  Conservatism has nothing to do with politics but refers to the life cycle of bureaucracies.  The two main corollaries are;

  1. The older a bureau (bureaucracy), the less likely it is to die.

  2. The best time to “kill” a bureau is as soon as possible after it comes into existence.


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