13 September 2005

Technology and Bureaucracy (Part 1)

Bureaucracies, whether belonging to corporations or governments (or to NGOs), are far more similar that most ideologues imagine them to be. One of the objections to anarcho-capitalism (usually referred to by its adherents as "libertarianism") is that it regards only government power as insidious; corporate power, enhanced as it often is by a weak state, is regarded as harmless or "natural," and therefore, legitimate. Self-identified "libertarians" are likely to claim relations with a corporation are voluntary, whereas those with a state are not. But employers in a labor market nearly always have identical employment policies, and the ability of frustrated employees to "seek employment elsewhere" is usually not even academic. It's certainly easier for a determined millionaire to evade taxes on all but a token share of his income, than it is for most wage employees to do anything whatsoever to countervail the power of their employer over their lives.

This is not a leftist rant (for one thing, I'm not a "leftist" and I suspect this asymmetry of power is simply inevitable). However, I do want to alert readers to the fact that we live in times when the mere observation of facts is presumed to expose one to the allegation of thought-crime. It's disturbing to me, even now, that about two thirds or so of all blogs with any interest in public matters, display precisely zero intellectual curiosity. Rather than serve as a journal of the personal explorations of the writer, they serve as billboards for entirely Manichean world views. This is so even for bloggers who are professors or college students; the blogs don't express a point of view, so much as a body of beliefs that the reader must "take or leave." Facts that, however superficially, deviate from this belief system are accepted as evidence that whoever presented them is actually a "troll" or a stooge of "the other side." I'll be referring to this point in my next post.


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