Thursday, 4 June 2015

Knowle relocation project: and “structural stupidity”

The Leader of the District Council stated in a radio interview today that ordinary Councillors hadn't been able to 'get to grips with the masses and masses of documentation' around the relocation project:Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and the 'delivery of information'

In other words, the sheer volume of documentation impairs the ability to scrutinise, to ask questions and to hold authorities to account:
Transparency vs. Secrecy | East Devon Alliance

This was already happening a century or more ago:
The Sociology of Max Weber

The anthropologist David Graeber has recently brought out a book on the subject:
Reflections on Graeber’s “The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy” | UPRIVER Home
... which has already been considered by this blog:
Futures Forum: The language of bureacracy >>> David Graeber and "The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy"

It is based largely on an earlier article:


Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit - The Baffler
... which this blog also looked at:
Futures Forum: "Where are the flying cars?" or, "What happened to derail so many credible ideas and prospects?"

Here is a recent interview with Graeber on the the whole theme of 'bureaucracy':
Dead Zones and Flying Cars: ‘The Utopia of Rules’ with David Graeber – Flavorwire

Plus a piece from him in the FT:
Capitalism’s secret love affair with bureaucracy - FT.com

This is from a review from the TLS:

The four long essays that comprise The Utopia of Rules have nonetheless plenty of an admirable and convincing kind to say about human obtuseness and inhuman bureaucratisation.

No one in a university today can doubt just how deadly are the blows dealt to individual creativity by, in Graeber’s phrase, “structural stupidity”. But the dead force is ideological, not bureaucratic. It is the lethal penetration of managerial ideology, with its performance targets, interminable research proposals, tight timetabling and grisly regulation that is poisoning thought and turning inventiveness to stone. This is human agency. It doesn’t have to be inevitable.

The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy, by David Graeber | Times Higher Education

And here is a piece from National Public Radio:

You probably don't need me to enumerate the pains of navigating bureaucracies. Lines and forms and hold times are the stuff of daily routine — and it's just as routine to complain about them.

Our annoyance is of little consolation to David Graeber, though. In his latest book, The Utopia of Rules, Graeber laments that we have stopped analyzing this aspect of modern life, ceased producing satires and critiques of it like Catch-22 and The Castle. In the meantime, he argues, the U.S. and other Western countries have become more engulfed than ever by rules and regulations controlling nearly every aspect of our lives. We now live in what he calls the "age of total bureaucratization."

Book Review: 'The Utopia of Rules' By David Graeber : NPR

For an excellent overview of the book:
Center for a Stateless Society » The Utopia of Rules

David Graeber has been interested in 'bureaucratic technologies' for some time now:

Published on Apr 27, 2012
The twentieth century produced a very clear sense of what the future was to be, but we now seem unable to imagine any sort of redemptive future. How did this happen? One reason is the replacement of what might be called poetic technologies with bureaucratic technologies.

David Graeber: On Bureaucratic Technologies & the Future as Dream-Time / 01.19.2012 @ SVA - YouTube

He gave a seminar at the occupied University of Amsterdam earlier this year:

Published on Mar 10, 2015
"Continually being told democracy is not actually possible - of large groups of people getting together and having discussions."

Lecture by David Graeber: Resistance In A Time Of Total Bureaucratization / Maagdenhuis Amsterdam - YouTube

David Graeber has been featured on this blog on other issues:
Futures Forum: An Exeter Pound: What came first: money or debt? ... David Graeber's "Debt: The First 5000 Years"

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