Home > Britain, Corruption, Europe, Indian Economy, Politics, USA > The Curious Case of the Bloated State

The Curious Case of the Bloated State


A distinct feature of the developed world is the size of the bureaucracy and State employment. Fully 10% to as high as 30% of the labour force depend on the State for income and employment.

Iceberg ahoy!

With ‘advanced’ EU countries like Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, (PIGS) on the verge of bankruptcy, strangely mainstream media is silent on the important aspects of this crisis.

The mammaries of the Welfare State?     If everyone is part of the Government, who will you tax?

The mammaries of the Welfare State? If everyone is part of the Government, who will you tax?

Overpaid public servants

Critics, however, are also questioning the present government’s decision not to touch civil service pay and pension. The civil service, apart from the bureaucracy, also includes health service and education administrators etc. As a group, this has over 300,000 members and a massive vote bank no government wishes to antagonise, least of all a very unpopular coalition government led by the Fianna Fail party. In 2002, the government had agreed to massive rescaling of civil service pay and pension benchmarking it on private sector scales. Today despite a fall in private sector pay, government servants have managed to stick to their higher salaries, which some today estimate is 30 per cent above their private sector counterparts.

Ireland is a 4.5-million strong country which is about one-fourth the size of the National Capital Region in India. Its economy is primarily supported by exports, which today accounts for 80 per cent of its GDP. Information technology and pharmaceutical industries are the largest exporters from Ireland. Ireland incidentally also has the largest number of US FDA-approved plants outside the US. Food, retail and logistics also account for a sizeable portion of its export today. (via Exporting out of the mess).

This economic model needs a perpetual supply of victims to support this bureaucracy. | Cartoon by Bill Day; courtesy - cagle.com| Click for larger image.

This economic model needs a perpetual supply of victims to support this bureaucracy. | Cartoon by Bill Day; courtesy – cagle.com| Click for larger image.

Irish cream

Ireland is truly a remarkable case.

In a country of 45 lakhs, an estimated 69% are in the 15-64 years of employable age – leaving us with a workforce of 30 lakhs people. Of these 30 lakh people some 3 lakhs are highly paid government employees – fully 10% of the Irish workforce is in the Government.

With such a bloated bureaucracy, apart from bankruptcy, what else can happen in Ireland? Is Ireland an exception?

Is the situation different in other countries?

The coming storm

Let us look at 3 countries (UK, USA, India) which for the time being are not in the ‘bankrupt’ position.

A look at British situation is revealing. The size of the British public sector is “6.1 million people on the state payroll, (and) an increase of about 900,000 in 13 years.” From a working population of some 30 million, and total population of some 60 million.

Faceless bureaucrats who devise wars, famines, disease to keep their jobs | Cartoon by Clay Bennett | Courtesy - claybennett.com | Click for larger picture.

Faceless bureaucrats who devise wars, famines, disease to keep their jobs | Cartoon by Clay Bennett | Courtesy – claybennett.com | Click for larger picture.

 For every four private sector employee, there is one public-sector employee.

That is the British situation for you.

In the land of the free enterprise?

How about the US?

Surely, the land of free enterprise, free markets, has to be different.

The estimated gross US labour force for 2010 is 15.4 crores. US Government – local, state and federal, has some 2.0 crore (20 million) employees. And we are not talking of contract staff in the US Govt. who are off-rolls. Experts worry about

the 10.5 million federal contractors and grantees the government’s “hidden workforce” because politicians tend not to mention them when discussing the size of the federal bureaucracy. Yet such workers absorbed nearly $400 billion in federal contracting funds and $100 billion in federal grants in 2005. They often performed vital work such as researching new vaccines, running federal computer systems and making body armor, weapons and meals for the military.

The number of civil servants is increasing, too, up 54,000 since 2002 to 1.9 million workers. That is still fewer than the 2.2 million civil servants on the federal payroll in 1990, at the end of the Cold War.

Doors shut, minds closed, opportunities lost, lives destroyed. The Bloated State | Cartoon by Clay Bennett | Click for larger image.

Doors shut, minds closed, opportunities lost, lives destroyed. The Bloated State | Cartoon by Clay Bennett | Click for larger image.

To this figure now add unemployed people – who are also State responsibility – part of the public sector. US unemployment is running

at 9 percent, well above historical norms, with about 14 million Americans looking for work. Those figures don’t tell the whole story. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says more than 8 million people are working part-time but would rather be working full-time.

We are sitting at a total of 4.4 crore people from a labour force of 15.4 crores.

Nearly 29% of the labour force is used and paid by the US State.

Aha .. Where is India?

Examining India shows a vastly different picture.

A report on Indian bureaucracy reveals

The size of government employment is not that large. On 31 March 2005, total public sector employment was 18 million, divided into 3 million for the central government, 7.2 million for the state governments, 5.7 million for quasi-government and 2 million for local bodies. With an estimated labour force of 420 million in 2004-05, government employment thus accounts for 4.1 percent of total employment within the country.

One small guy against a huge bureaucracy - bought, paid and controlled by the powerful few | Cartoonist - Jim Morin | Click for larger image.

One small guy against a huge bureaucracy – bought, paid and controlled by the powerful few | Cartoonist – Jim Morin | Click for larger image.

The Indian figure includes the railways, which the world’s single largest, employer, all the public sector corporations (like banks, govt. telecom companies,  etc.).

Global disease

A bloated State, over-sized bureaucracy that controls every aspect of our life. On one side, these States speak of freedom,  liberty, human rights. The reality is increasing prison populations and an expanding police State.

Fundamentally, the country model of the West has failed – and the time for भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra draws near. In the last 200 years, भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra has gone into regression. But, in this period, the world has also learnt more about the limitations of the Desert Bloc ideology.

People get ready!


  1. October 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

    But anurag,

    The indian state is a colonising enterprise, that doesnt care about its society.. what it does is to identify who is earning money and then suck him out through heavy tax.. for that, we dont need big beurocracy.. but in Europe and US, the core of governance is in providing essential services.. that is how their society is structured..

    So a comparison with indian beurocracy with western one is NOT proper, in my opinion..

    The solution lies in localised administration, and in reviving the Jathi setup..

  2. October 31, 2011 at 6:28 am
    The indian state is a colonising enterprise, that doesnt care about its society.

    I am unclear about the colonizing enterprise statement. You will need to expand on that.

    Does not care about its society

    Two Things – I am sure that I do not want the Government to take care of me. Unfortunately, the Government disagrees.

    The other thing – The current Indian Government had inherited an India in very bad shape from the British Raj. Any comparison between any comparable State in the world with India will show that Indian Govt. has done a decent job.

  3. August 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Friend, how about an analysis of the fake money issue in India? Counterfeit money, where do you think it is coming from? I don’t think Pakistan is that big a factor. I have a feeling that some of India’s politicians have got hold of the money printing machines. An analysis from you on this topic would be welcome

  4. August 22, 2013 at 4:36 am
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