Down the Drain

Edifice Complex
Japan's bureaucracy is notorious for funding useless projects. In the 1980s, the government built eight airports used solely to ship vegetables to market—although farmers chose to stick with cheaper trucks. Politicians now get votes by promising to stop building highways and bridges.

Beats Working
Indonesians have long wondered how their 4 million civil servants occupy themselves all day at the office. The government gave a clue last week by announcing that 109,000 paper pushers don't do anything at all. Cost: $13 million a month.

Gimme Shelter
High-ranking Taiwanese civil servants...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!