The practice of referring to excessive bureaucratic obstacles as the red tape has come from the past. More than 400 years ago, the court of the Holy Roman Emperor and Charles V, the King of Spain started using this term – Red Tape. King Charles had a significant hold on the New World and had a very vast administration to manage his huge empire.
Have a glance in the past!
Those were the times when all the administrative documents were bound either with rope, string, cloth, or ribbon. In the early 16th century, the documents were kept according to their importance and urgency to be heard in the Council of the State. Such important documents were tied together with a red string or ribbon. The system of tying crucial documents with red thread had a great impact on the working process of the council.
The efficacy of this system was noticed by all the councils in the world and was also adopted across Europe. Henry VIII of England used a red thread or cloth to secure his petition of the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon to Pope clement VII in 1527.
The term was referred to as the string used to tie the important documents in the court of law. It is not confirmed who evolved the term “red tape”, but it started in the late 17th century where it was written in the laws of Maryland. “The Map…. on a red cross with Red Tape.”
According to Oxford’s English Dictionary, the current meaning of ‘Red Tape’ was derived in 1736. An early instance of the metaphorical meaning of the word Red Tape is seen clearly in Catherine Gore’s Stokeshill Place (1837): “My dear, you mistake John Barnsley. Dearly as he loves a bit of red tape, you…….. Business.” Another instance includes the use of the word ‘Red Tape’ in Charles Dickens ‘David Copperfield’: “Britannia, that unfortunate female…… bound hand and foot with Red Tape.”
More facts about Red Tape
- All the important documents of the veterans of the American Civil War were kept secured in red tape. These documents included the pension papers as well as the verdict holdings of soldiers facing criminal trials.
- Even nowadays, red tape is equated to the regulations. In Canada, The Red Tape Reduction Act works to ease the burden of regulations on business.
- The regulations under the administration of Obama led to the escalation of red tape in the United States.
- The excessive regulations, commonly known as Red Tape, possess a strong influence on the country’s economy.
- It is easy to perceive red tape as a negative thing, but it is important to understand that it is the cultural behavior that drives the result of the value of red tape.
- The best consequence of a successful deal with the red tape is that you can give an edge to all those companies who avoid taking challenges.