Also by David Graeber. Toward an Anthropological 3 The Utopia of Rules, or Why We Really Love Bureaucracy After All. Appendix. On Batman and the. With this diagnosis in mind, it is surprising that Graeber doesn’t explore The Utopia of Rules is packed with provocative observations and. The Utopia of Rules has ratings and reviews. To answer these questions, anthropologist David Graeber—one of the most prominent and.

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I was a little worried at first by the often hand-wavy approach to evidence “There’s no data for this phenomenon, but if you imagine this graph for me, it’d probably look like this over time In particular, his avoidance of the kind of academic jargon that left-wing professors deploy all too often is extremely welcome.

The rest ov the book explores various facets of bureaucracy. To view it, click here. Sitting just millimeters behind my left ear, for example, as I scan my Outlook for nuggets of relevant information buried in the torrent of internal corporate messaging.

The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

Retrieved February 28, Excellent and thought provoking exposee of how bureaucracy This is a series of essays that make you reflect on life in the US. In fact, Graeber doesn’t ever seem to realize the function of a bureaucracy, which is namely to provide or distribute goods or services to a large amount of people in an organized fashion. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. But David Graeber tje it and with style.

Should we just accept this bureaucracy as inevitable?

The Utopia of Rules – Wikipedia

Some of the reviews here have complained that the essays are not cohesive, that the editing is lacking. This holiday season, you will fail to change the world. Maybe it’s my fault.

The less of pf stake workers feel they have in their job, the larger a disciplinary apparatus is required to keep fhe performing it, and in the case of American-style corporate capitalism, that means many middle managers performing evaluations of all kinds: McKenzie, Lisa July 9, Gray, Grweber May 6, Nelson, Sarah May 15, As Graeber points out, corporate capitalism is the most highly bureaucratized version of capitalism, and the U. British Journal of Industrial Relations.


Any free-form play will quickly turn into a game with rules protecting us from our imagination. But eventually people want to write down all of the rules.

Along the way, he discusses how paperwork is generally under-studied because it is too boring, and how police are bureaucrats with weapons; he meanwhile comments on the useful discipline of structural analysis and the challenges of overcoming bureaucracies only to recreate them.

David Graeber is an anthropologist with a knack for discussing theoretical concepts in a clear and intelligible way.

The Utopia of Rules » Melville House Books

He recounts hearing a financial regulator talk about what happens when government agencies discover systemic fraud. And if there are to be rules, they must be enforced somehow, or else they are meaningless, and thus it is that you end up not just with bureaucracy but with people actively demanding ever more bureaucracy.

The First 5, Yearshe argued that the centrality of debt in social exchange came about only with the rise of graebdr government. As others have mentioned, Graeber dives into a lot of different areas.

And it’s difficult to get a grip on this in general, because there’s so many pretty revalatory ideas in here. I see other reviewers criticise the book for offering no solutions, but, well, there obviously isn’t one, it’s the way it is. But Graeber argues that there is a much darker side to modern bureaucracy that is rarely ever discussed. We treat our world as though it is a fact, but actually, we produce it.

One observation that I did like was: Some interesting thoughts, but not nearly enough to save the book. Feb 28, Rhys rated it it was ok. Graeber is a good writer I enjoyed Debt and Fragments – but, having finished this book, I’m just not sure what I read.

The result is that while those at the bottom of a social ladder spend a great deal of time imagining the perspectives of, and genuinely caring about, those at the top, it almost never happens the other way around.


Some of the reviews here have complained that the e I read this book during subway rides to and from administrator-led meetings on methods of assessment for student learning “competencies” for such abstract concepts as “Global Learning” to ensure we can show our “outcomes” are such that we can receive accreditation. Elegantly argued, clear, and insightful. You’re probably wondering, “Why in the world would someone who works for the Federal Government want to read about bureaucracy?

David Graeber on the Utopia of Rules: Why Deregulation is Actually Expanding Bureaucracy

Sure, Foucaultian ideas about the power of, well, ideas are not entirely wrong, but nonetheless most of the power of the state still comes down to the fact that if you break its rules, it will hurt you. This page was last edited on 26 Aprilat Do policemen, academics, teachers and doctors really need to spend half pf time filling in forms? Bureaucracy can be efficient, so workers get more things if they don’t mind being alienated defined as the ‘warping and shattering of the imagination’.

I love practically everything Graeber writes. Mr Graeber launches into the subject without providing any background or context, just expounds on all too familiar stereotypes as if they represented the actual truth.

Each of the three essays considers bureaucracy from a different angle. And yet, reading Graeber’s “The Utopia of Rules” brought me back to that sensation from over 15 years ago. Sep 16, Michael Burnam-Fink rated it liked it Shelves: Graeber, David March 1, Zantvoort, Bart May 30, If you are rich enough, you can come to some hhe agreement as to how much tax you are willing to pay.

Those who have assumed control in our current system did so on an ideological platform that vehemently criticized bureaucracy while relentlessly expanding it, says Graeber. I thin Graeber is a good writer I enjoyed Debt and Fragments – but, having finished this book, I’m just not sure what I read.