Your small businessman is a veritable superbeing. He or she does the work of the HR department, payroll office, accounting, procurement, logistics, FM, PR and advertising specialties before breakfast - saving design and production, warehousing, sales and strategic management for the rest of the day. In many businesses, the entire back-office structure is a lady called Joyce.
The public sector, in contrast, needs at least two people to carry out each separate function, no matter how small the operational end. Thus a single roadsweeper needs the 'support' of 22 managers and administrators before he swings a broom. It's not unusual to find a ratio of 1:2 - those 22 staff can provide 'support' for up to 44 roadsweepers before they have to start expanding their own numbers. In some bureaucracies such as the MoD, the ratio is as low as 1:1 - one civil servant for each soldier. And in the NHS and at the BBC the ratio becomes negative; it can take 44 managers and administrators to 'support' 22 doctors, nurses, radiographers and pharmacists.
I think in this morning's Guardian Simon Jenkins fails to realise just how entrenched bureaucracy is in western democracies. You can't just take-out chunks of bureaucracy - it's not structured to be resilient, as is the internet. If you take the Payroll department out, the rest of the organisation not only won't be paid, they won't know what to do about it. They'll have meetings to discuss pooling their pocket-change before they'll take over the function.
Bureaucracy has been hailed as the stability behind democracy; bureaucracy is what ensures that despite sudden political swings and changes of government, change comes slowly and manifesto policies are watered-down. Without bureaucracy, the agenda of forced inequality - more favourable treatment of certain people - would be unrealisable. Bureaucracy has a hive-mind and functions independently of any individual, so the brilliant and gifted have as little effect as the indolent and stupid.
This is all, of course, exactly as Max Weber foresaw. He imagined bureaucracy as the most efficient form of administration in an increasingly complex world, the triumph of rationality. There may even have been a brief moment, perhaps in England between 1942 and 1944, when this was true. But Weber also foresaw the dangers of bureaucratic growth - and of the need always for democracy to dominate if we were to remain free.
And as for Simon Jenkins' point that managers are next - yes, I think that's right. It's time to re-balance.