Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? From the author of the international bestseller Debt: The First 5, Years comes a revelatory account of the way bureaucracy rules our lives Where does the desire for endless rules, regulations, and bureaucracy come from? How did we come to spend so much of our time filling out forms? And is it really a cipher for state violence?
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Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? From the author of the international bestseller Debt: The First 5, Years comes a revelatory account of the way bureaucracy rules our lives Where does the desire for endless rules, regulations, and bureaucracy come from?
How did we come to spend so much of our time filling out forms? And is it really a cipher for state violence? To answer these questions, the anthropologist David Graeber--one of our most important and provocative thinkers--traces the peculiar and unexpected ways we relate to bureaucracy today, and reveals how it shapes our lives in ways we may not even notice Leaping from the ascendance of right-wing economics to the hidden meanings behind Sherlock Holmes and Batman, The Utopia of Rules is at once a powerful work of social theory in the tradition of Foucault and Marx, and an entertaining reckoning with popular culture that calls to mind Slavoj Zizek at his most accessible.
An essential book for our times, The Utopia of Rules is sure to start a million conversations about the institutions that rule over us--and the better, freer world we should, perhaps, begin to imagine for ourselves. Read more Read less. Frequently bought together.
Add all three to Cart. These items are shipped from and sold by different sellers. Show details. Ships from and sold by Amazon SG. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Previous page. Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. Debt: The First Years. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology. Next page. Review "A slim, sprightly, acerbic attack on capitalism's love affair with bureaucracy.
Should we just accept this bureaucracy as inevitable? Or is there a way to get rid of all those hours spent listening to bad call-centre music? Do policemen, academics, teachers and doctors really need to spend half their time filling in forms?
Or can we imagine another world? In other words, yelling at the book is not just part of the pleasure of reading it. It's part of the point. He is a master of opening up thought and stimulating debate. Our contemporary bureaucrats are revealed, in fact, as none other than you and me, forever administering and marketing ourselves. This is ultimately a book about how the systems we invent come to appear natural. We treat our world as though it is a fact, but actually, we produce it.
This is not a new idea, but it's one of the most hopeful we've got. It opens the door to change. Graeber's aim was to start a conversation on the boondoggles and benefits of bureaucracy. In that regard, he has ticked all the right boxes.
Ranging from witty analysis of comic-book narratives to penetrating discussion of world-changing technologies that haven't actually appeared, it demystifies some of the ruling shibboleths of our time. Modern bureaucracy embodies a view of the world as being essentially rational, but the roots of this vision, Graeber astutely observes, go all the way back to the ancient Pythagoreans. In his irrepressible, ruminative way, Graeber stands in the comic tradition of Walt Whitman, archy and mehitabel and James Thurber.
This is the chorus with which to laugh the trousers off corporate management. Stylish and witty. Part anthropological history and part provocative political argument, it's a useful corrective to what passes for contemporary conversation about debt and the economy. Customers who bought this item also bought. No customer reviews. How does Amazon calculate star ratings?
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Review this product Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. Verified Purchase. The Utopia of Rules by David Graeber is an engaging riff on the theme of bureaucracy and the BS people think about it.
Yet, just as people imagine criminals to be mostly black or violent, or war to be philanthropic or necessary, or estate taxes to be about family farms, or voter fraud to be impacting elections, or elections to have any value that could possibly be hurt by voter fraud, or a minimum wage to eliminate jobs, or corporate trade agreements to not eliminate jobs, or guns to make us safer, or prisons to "correct" something, or wealth to trickle down, or small-time foreign thugs to constitute a graver threat than a McDonald's diet, what matters is a fiction well told, not any facts.
Career advancement in a bureaucracy, Graeber writes, is based not so much on merit as on the loyalty exhibited by a willingness to pretend that it's based on merit. If you play along with the collective delusion, you're rewarded.
The effort to create a truly borderless and fair world is known as "anti-globalization. This was the story of Russia's transition from state to private economics, Graeber writes: more bureaucrats, not fewer.
When police bring law and order, we picture them turning a violent situation non-violent. In fact, they are not involved in most violent crime, and mostly show up to nonviolent situations which they turn violent. You have a much higher chance of being killed by police than by the terrorists they are now mostly imagined as combatting. When someone tells you to be "realistic" about such supposed fantasies as peace or justice, they are not telling you to recognize how things are, as they and you may imagine they are, but rather they are telling you to acknowledge the violence by which the state can impose its will no matter how stupidly it might choose to do so.
It is the royal usage that created such phrases as "real property" or "real estate. To "be realistic" about violence simply means to be violent about violence. After all, we all know violence exists; some of us choose not to multiply it. Cutting taxes on "job creators" doesn't create any jobs, just the reverse. With more wealth, they do things like taking their pay in stock options, and then using extra money that could have gone into new hires or raises or research for stock buybacks.
The result is a weaker economy inhabited by people convinced it's both a stronger economy and an inevitable economy against which one need not waste any energy struggling for change. Why don't we have robots doing our factory work and house work? Why don't we have useful technological advances on the scale of previous eras? In addition, robots are understood as job killers rather than time savers because we offer no one a guaranteed income even if they don't need to work. We begin with the requirement that everyone work no matter what, and then figure out stuff they can do to fulfill that requirement -- such as trying all day to get us to switch from one giant phone company to another.
Another problem is innovative corporate culture that kills innovation by investing in only sure things, requiring everyone to invest time in PR, and multiplying bureaucracy. People are told to cling to the American freedom of private health insurance companies as an act of rebellion against government bureaucracy, even as the insurance corporations create vastly more bureaucracy, paperwork, sickness, and death. We don't notice bureaucracy, Graeber believes, because it has mushroomed.
The average American will spend 6 months of their life waiting for stoplights to change and some larger length of time filling out forms. We don't notice bureaucracy, think we despise it, and secretly love it, Graeber thinks -- love it because it is the enemy of unpredictable and improvisational play, which we've been conditioned to believe is dangerous.
Of course, the opposite is true. The preceding is a sampling of Graber's book and my thoughts on it, not a summary. I urge you to dive into it yourself. It's a book that intentionally raises many large questions. A couple of small ones stand out as flaws, however: 1 Why in the world does the author keep his money in Bank of America? The whole point of a war on terror is that it's not endable, as terror can never be eliminated. Nor of course can it be outdone in terrorizing by anything moreso than war.
The fundamental insights of this book are brilliant. It's amazing how bureaucracy has come to take over our lives and yet we barely talk about. Even when we do, it's usually in the context of republicans railing against the government rather than a problem that has risen from our form of economic and political government. This book would be a good place to go to start the conversation on bureaucracy that we need to have.
Unfortunately, Graeber is just a little long-winded and theoretical and gets side-tracked too easily. The best anecdotes are the ones about his personal experiences in university departments and activist movements that really demonstrate how bureaucracy works.
I'd love to see a follow-on book similar to his Bullshit jobs book that takes a more practical look at the history of bureaucracy and with more anecdotes. Graeber is interesting because he throws out so many ideas per page, but half those ideas are half-baked and you get the feeling that he knows it and just wants to be provocative. Still an entertaining read, though.
This book will change how you view all commercial, political, governmental, institutional relationships. I thought it was a very good synopsis on beauracracy we live with every day, private and public. It gets you thinking on how democratic control and ownership might improve or eliminate much of the scourge. However I think it is light on how beauracracy is something we will have to live with democratic or not and that it is a part of our society for better or worse.
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The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy
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The Utopia of Rules
Look Inside. How did we come to spend so much of our time filling out forms? And is it really a cipher for state violence? To answer these questions, the anthropologist David Graeber—one of our most important and provocative thinkers—traces the peculiar and unexpected ways we relate to bureaucracy today, and reveals how it shapes our lives in ways we may not even notice…though he also suggests that there may be something perversely appealing—even romantic—about bureaucracy.
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The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy is a book by anthropologist David Graeber about how people "relate to" and are influenced by bureaucracies. It was published by Melville House and released on February 24, The book centers on the "political implications" of bureaucracies and Graeber's solutions. The book was released on February 24,
We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest. Everybody hates bureaucracy—even bureaucrats hate bureaucracy who likes stamping forms all day long? The Utopia of Rules is a clever, freewheeling, readable, and frequently entertaining collection of essays some previously published and some new about bureaucracy as a violent force. Bureaucracy, Graeber tells us, has swallowed the modern world whole. How did this happen? In the late nineteenth century, private businesses started to adopt bureaucratic techniques, with the result that governments and businesses, especially in Germany and the United States, became increasingly difficult to distinguish in their modus operandi and culture.