jju + davidgraeber   12

Post-work: the radical idea of a world without jobs | News | The Guardian
As with free-market capitalism in general, the worse work gets, the harder it is to imagine actually escaping it, so enormous are the steps required
work  utopian  economics  2018  davidgraeber  labour 
january 2018 by jju
Batman and the problem of constituent power | De Dicto
Ultimately, the division between Left- and Right-wing sensibilities turns on one’s attitude towards the imagination. For the Left, imagination, creativity, by extension production, the power to bring new things and new social arrangements into being, is always to be celebrated. It is the source of all real value in the world. For the Right, it is dangerous; ultimately, evil. The urge to create is also a destructive urge. This kind of sensibility was rife in the popular Freudianism of the day: where the Id was the motor of the psyche, but also amoral; if really unleashed, it would lead to an orgy of destruction. This is also what separates conservatives from fascists. Both agree that the imagination unleashed can only lead to violence and destruction. Conservatives wish to defend us against that possibility. Fascists wish to unleash it anyway. They aspire to be, as Hitler imagined himself, great artists painting with the minds, blood, and sinews of humanity.

This means that it’s not just the mayhem that becomes the reader’s guilty pleasure, but the very fact of having a fantasy life at all. And while it might seem odd to think any artistic genre is ultimately a warning about the dangers of the human imagination, it would certainly explain why, in the staid ’40s and ’50s, everyone did seem to feel there was something vaguely naughty about reading them. It also explains how in the ’60s it could all suddenly seem so harmless, allowing the advent of silly, campy TV superheroes like the Adam West Batman series, or Saturday morning Spiderman cartoons. If the message was that rebellious imagination was okay as long as it was kept out of politics, and simply confined to consumer choices (clothes, cars, accessories again), this had become a message that even executive producers could easily get behind.
comics  occupy  superheroes  batman  bane  politics  power  davidgraeber  2012 
january 2017 by jju
rigorousintuition.ca • View topic - The Utopia of Rules (Graeber)
This plays out in field after field, from journalism to nursing, physical therapy to foreign policy consulting. Endeavors that used to be considered an art, best learned through doing, like writing or painting, now require formal professional training and certification. While these measures are touted— like all bureaucratic measures—as a way of creating fair, impersonal mechanisms in fields previously dominated by insider knowledge and social connections, they often have the opposite effect. As anyone who has been to graduate school knows, it’s precisely the children of the professional-managerial classes, those whose family resources make them the least in need of financial support, who best know how to navigate the paperwork required to get this support. For everyone else, the main result of years of professional training is an enormous burden of student debt, which requires its holders to bureaucratize ever-increasing dimensions of their own lives, and to manage themselves as if they were each a tiny corporation.

Sociologists since Weber have often noted that one of the defining features of a bureaucracy is that its employees are selected by formal criteria—most often some kind of written test—but everyone knows how compromised the idea of bureaucracy as a meritocratic system is. The first criterion of loyalty to any organization is therefore complicity. Career advancement is not based on merit but on a willingness to play along with the fiction that career advancement is based on merit, or with the fiction that rules and regulations apply to everyone equally, when in fact they are often deployed as an instrument of arbitrary personal power.
bureaucracy  davidgraeber  2015  newpro  professional 
february 2015 by jju

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