Monday, February 16, 2015

"A Big Little Idea Called Legibility"

This is a review of Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed:

"The book is about the 2-3 century long process by which modern states reorganized the societies they governed, to make them more legible to the apparatus of governance. The state is not actually interested in the rich functional structure and complex behavior of the very organic entities that it governs (and indeed, is part of, rather than 'above'). It merely views them as resources that must be organized in order to yield optimal returns according to a centralized, narrow, and strictly utilitarian logic. The attempt to maximize returns need not arise from the grasping greed of a predatory state. In fact, the dynamic is most often driven by a genuine desire to improve the lot of the people, on the part of governments with a popular, left-of-center mandate. Hence the subtitle (don’t jump to the conclusion that this is a simplistic anti-big-government conservative/libertarian view though; this failure mode is ideology-neutral, since it arises from a flawed pattern of reasoning rather than values)."


viennacapitalist said...

The link is excellent. Thank you!

CP said...

Read his series about The Office and sociopaths, clueless, and losers at corporations.