The World: The Non-Ombudsman

The French have a genius for creating bureaucracy but not, it would seem, for attacking it. A case in point is the nation's first ombudsman, recently appointed by President Georges Pompidou. On paper, this officer has great freedom and latitude to "improve the relationship between citizens and government administrations." In fact, he will be so tangled in red tape that he will be virtually unable to function.

The mediateur, as the ombudsman is called, will be assisted by a dozen high-ranking civil servants, who are, of course, bureaucrats. Unlike the Swedes or Norwegians, who...

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