The Success of Slovakian International Bureaucracy Day


Excessive red tape is a very popular talking issue. Entrepreneurs, experts, NGOs and citizens criticize it, politicians promise to combat it. However, what exactly is “too much bureaucracy”? While government analysts usually prepare economy-wide macro analysis of red tape burden, INESS decided to go more into micro perspective: What does “bureaucracy” mean for a small entrepreneur?

We have defined a model 4-employee blacksmith company and identified all necessary bureaucracy the company has to comply with. Bureaucracy Index was born. (Read more if you are interested in the methodology.)

Slovak results were published on September 29, 2016. The day was not chosen randomly – it is the birthday of Ludwig von Mises, famous economist and author of the excellent book Bureaucracy. We decided to turn this day into something more than just a press conference – we decided to create the International Bureaucracy Day. A day of moral encouragement for entrepreneurs, accountants, administrators, lawyers and all those who are forced to sacrifice the precious time of their lives on the altar of bureaucracy by filling out of forms and documents.

The press conference devoted to the presentation of the Bureaucracy Index results and the announcement of the International Bureaucracy day was a great success, gaining attention of 10 different national broadcast and print media representatives and featured in 14, including live discussion in the country’s most popular daytime radio talk show.

INESS members also took to the streets with a physical version of the annual bureaucracy load of a new company (652 pages of forms) and polled pedestrians about their view on red tape, giving red apples to the pessimists and green ones to the more positive oriented folks.

We are determined to keep the tradition of Bureaucracy Index and International Bureaucracy Day going also in the following years. Since we would like to work on the “International” aspect of the project, we encourage our partners in network and any other interested parties to start building their own Index and/or Bureaucracy Day tradition. We will assist in both.