POLI 243 Lecture Notes - Yes Minister, Cuban Missile Crisis, Main Source
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Bureaucratic Politics 4/3/12 9:24 PM
Last Lecture Recap: Organizations can not always provide rational options.
Slippage= the difference between what is rational and what can actually be
done (what the organizations are capable of). It is hard to decide if
something is actually slippage because sometimes organizations have
narrow ideas about what is good for them and choose the irrational decision
to better themselves.
Bureaucratic Politics: Bureaucracies fighting it out.
• Allison: “where you stand depends on where you sit”
o what matters is an individuals role or title or position they are
o individual level theories will emphasis what makes individual
differ, but this view looks at how the position of the voter
changes how they vote
o ex. Salmon P. Chase on “greenbacks”
! Chase’s job was to find out how to pay for the military
! Tariffs were the main source of income for the national
! Chase introduces a “promise” from the federal
government that you will get some form of solid
payment in the future but at the moment you will just
receive paper. If you want to support the government in
its war efforts accept this IOU and in the future you will
receive something as paper. Shows how desperate they
! Congress (pro paper money) vs. President (wary of
! The US Supreme court ruled that paper money was
unconstitutional " Salmon P. Chase was sitting on the
! Chase, as secretary of the treasury, did what he needed
to do to raise money but a decade later, as a supreme
court justice, he ruled this unconstitutional. His position
in the government changed which lead to a change in
o Ex. Winston Churchill on pre World War 1 naval expenditures
! Britain saw itself threatened by the development of the
! The Dread knot (navy ship) was a radical breakthrough
in war technology. Ships before this were not accurate.
! This ship heightens the arms race.
! As a conservative, Churchill says that they needed to
spend more money on weapons. He has a dispute with
the Tory party. He then switched to the liberals because
he disagrees among domestic parties. The Liberals put
Churchill as in the shadow cabinet and he is used to cut
down on expenditures and improves the budget. After
the budget improves he moves back to the
conservatives and spends the money needed.
! As Churchill switches jobs, his position also changes.
• Bureaucratic actors rationally pursue narrow goals.
o Work towards goals that are good for a small portion of the
government not for the government as a whole
• Bureaucratic politics tell us about organizations competing aims –
but how is policy selected?
o in hierarchal systems it is easy to see who will dictate policy
o this will not look like realist assumptions which describes they
state as the single actor working together
• Manipulation by bureaucratic actors
o politicians on their social skills not their competence on the
o Yes, Minister : British Comedy Show
The Cuban Missile Crisis
• First Meeting: How to gather more information about the Missile
Sites in Cuba
o various ways to get this intelligence
o conflict about planes between different segments of the
o They compromise on Air force solider and U2 (CIA plane)
o The solider has to be trained on flying this train which loses
valuable time " they do not get the information they need