Every combination of two or more human beings has both a useful aspect and a political aspect. These tend to conflict with each other. As the political aspect becomes more and more influential, the organization ceases to be useful to its members and starts using them.Why does this happen? Because the better an organization is at fulfilling its purpose, the more it attracts people who see the organization as an opportunity to advance themselves.The ability to get ahead in an organization is simply another talent, like the ability to play chess, paint pictures, do coronary bypass operations or pick pockets. There are some people who are extraordinarily good at manipulating organizations to serve their own ends. The Russians, who have suffered under such people for centuries, have a name for them — apparatchiks. It was an observer of apparatchiks who coined the maxim, “The scum rises to the top.”
Empire of the Rising Scum, Robert Shea
Found in a link in a comment to a post at Roberta’s that’s quite good in its own right. That’s just a taste. Read the whole thing.