Talk:Red tape

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The productivity of all government staff will improve if their performance is reviewed by a committee consisting of a farmer,trade union member,industrialist,teacher,and a senior government official. Because their assessment will be objective and in accordance with the aspirations of majority of people. Unsolicited 04:28, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Someone told me that reqphoto templates go to the talk pages, so here we are! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shultz III (talkcontribs)

As I noted before, "red tape" isn't a physical thing. What sort of photo do you envision here? I'll likely remove this from the backlog of reqphoto'd pages in a few days otherwise. — Lomn Talk 19:48, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
{{Photo requested}} removed. — Lomn Talk 21:47, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Of course "red tape" is a physical thing. I have a jar of it next to my desk which I use to tie up my briefs. Francis Davey 18:03, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
To stop them falling down? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:17, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Ah, very funny. I mean (of course) the case papers. At a pinch I could use it if I didn't have a belt, its usually pretty tough stuff. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Francis Davey (talkcontribs) 19:53, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Cincinnatus may be worth referring to for further similar to that said in the first sentence above. SignedJohnsonL623 (talk) 04:14, 7 June 2011 (UTC)


Can someone clarify the meaning of 'spectrum' as in 'The "cutting of red tape" is a popular promise of politicians, especially spectrum'? Pt1234 10:52, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

I've removed that phrase for now (diff here) but someone is more than welcome to re-add it with appropriate context. — Lomn Talk 19:48, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Is there a point here?[edit]

Although grief over red tape is often seen as a right-wing conviction, Karl Marx wrote about the phenomenon of changing from one person in control of a complete task, to having multiple people each with specialties in specific tasks. He saw this occurring as society shifts from a Seigneurial system to a capitalist system. Although Marx drew different conclusions about this trend, it is often this abstraction among workers that is the source of red tape. This interpretation would explain why it is often perceived that the presence of red tape is increasing.

The point being made in the above paragraph is unclear. The use of "although" at the beginning implies that leftists grieve over red tape as much as right-wingers do, but the rest of the paragraph seems to argue that Marxist perspectives (which are leftist) cause an increase in red tape. The last sentence doesn't make any sense at all in the context of the rest of the paragraph. Obviously, something here needs to be clarified. Someone with knowledge of Marxism needs to decide whether it increases or decreases red tape, and then the wording needs to be adjusted to make the intent clear. --Barefootmatt 17:07, 17 October 2006 (UTC)


I added a link to the new red-tape blog ( - just wondering why that was removed? Is there a rule in Wikipedia that links to blogs are not allowed?

see WP:SPS. Also, please sign your posts to talk pages with ~~~~ --Thinboy00's sockpuppet alternate account 19:05, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

CS Lewis Story[edit]

The reference to a CS Lewis story seems very out of place. As is, it currently reads as if the National Institute for Controlled Experiments is a real (fascist) organization just like in the story. I don't necessarily think the statement shouldn't be in the article, but I don't really know where fictional representations of red tape belong. Coleca 02:47, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Civil War red tape anecdote[edit]

Seriously, as much of a fan I am of The West Wing, there has to be a more significant source for this anecdote than a television show about a fictional White House. --Roehl Sybing 17:05, 7 September 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:51, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Early Use of Term[edit]

Hawthorne's introduction to The Scarlet Letter alludes to red tape. About 20 pages into the introduction is the following, "I chanced to lay my hand on a small package, carefully done up in a piece of ancient yellow parchment. This envelope had the air of an official record of some period long past, ... There was something about it that quickened an instinctive curiosity, and made me undo the faded red tape, that tied up the package, ..."

I mention his use of the term because it suggests some of its history. Note: the story was published in 1850 and was set in the 1600s. First, red tape was a real physical item. Second, its use in binding official documents was common knowledge in 1850 and understood to have been used a century earlier. Third, "red tape" was not (always or exclusively) associated with bureaucratic inefficiency.

In the entry for Red tape Gary Martin says,

"The first record I have of it being used in [the current] sense is from Edward Bulwer-Lytton in Alice, or the mysteries, 1838:
'The men of more dazzling genius began to sneer at the red-tape minister as a mere official manager of details.' "

I wanted to save this use somewhere, but the article didn't have much on literal red tape. Maybe someone will add something to the article or add a history of literal red tape. Drpaule 03:50, 28 September 2007 (UTC)


this article would be a lot better if a picture of red tape in use was available. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:06, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

OK, now the pictures are being used, with their captions, as highly POV. its not just governments that issue red tape, many private businesses do. this is not a soapbox against red tape.(mercurywoodrose) (talk) 16:31, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Sociology aspect[edit]

Under Anomie article, see quote- "... Thus a society with too much rigidity and little individual discretion could also produce a kind of anomie, ..." ( as opposed to anomie due to lack of regulations). SignedJohnsonL623 (talk) 04:39, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Red tape vs adhesive tape, video tape, etc.[edit]

I think a paragraph briefly describing what the tape in "red tape" actually is and is not. An example being something like this (I am not a great writer, but trying to demonstrate what readers, such as young readers, are looking for):

The word 'tape' simply means a thin band. In this instance the band is made of blah, blah, blah.

It's just a suggestion. Again, I'm not a writer and would prefer someone else write it that has a flair for words. I'm more of a proof reader. MagnoliaSouth (talk) 22:03, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

Red bureaucracy[edit]

Hi, there is also this term used by anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, he warned that a marxist state would generate such a thing, actually he predicted it. Should be implemented I think.-- (talk) 19:48, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

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The article seems to be written like a school essay, particularly in the Origin section. An example is the reference to where the reader can view the 16th century English red tape photo. It is also extremely focused on Spain, which is understandable for the early origins, but less so for current times. Jellyfish10 (talk) 18:30, 28 August 2017 (UTC)