China's Water Polluted by Red Tape

Top-down bureaucracy hampers efforts to clean the water supply


The kind of top-down bureaucracy that can discourage communication and hobble some Western corporations is fueling widespread problems with China's water supply, with lessons for the rest of the world, researchers reported today.

So-called stovepipe bureaucracy—where different departments communicate with their own teams and managers but not with others that might be related—makes it harder for China to deal with critical water sustainability issues, the scientists wrote in the current edition of the journal Science.