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This complex of definitions lands Graeber squarely in the anarchist tradition, and though he layers contemporary anthropological theory into his analysis, he serves up a clear and generally jargon-free argument. But in the middle of the last century, particularly in the late sixties and early seventies, the word was everywhere. Everyone seemed to feel that the foibles and absurdities of bureaucratic life and bureaucratic procedures were one of the defining features of modern existence, and as such, eminently worth discussing. But since the seventies, there has been a peculiar falling off. A subject of only moderate interest until the postwar period, it shoots into prominence starting in the fifties and then, after a pinnacle in , begins a slow but inexorable decline. Bureaucracy has become the water in which we swim. Needless to say, the overwhelming majority of these obligations no longer involve actual, physical paper. This graph would almost certainly show a line much like the one in the first graph—a slow climb until But here the two graphs would diverge —rather than falling back, the line would continue to climb; if anything, it would do so more precipitously, tracking how, in the late twentieth century, middle-class citizens spent ever more hours struggling with phone trees and web interfaces, while the less fortunate spent ever more hours of their day trying to jump through the increasingly elaborate hoops required to gain access to dwindling social services. By the way, most similar paperwork-related terms yield almost identical results: The essays assembled in this volume are all, in one way or another, about this disparity. We no longer like to think about bureaucracy, yet it informs every aspect of our existence. The social movements of the sixties were, on the whole, left-wing in inspiration, but they were also rebellions against bureaucracy, or, to put it more accurately, rebellions against the bureaucratic mindset, against the soul-destroying conformity of the postwar welfare states. With the collapse of the old welfare states, all this has come to seem decidedly quaint.

However, she is soon taken by the great Iron Horse and is told by him that the Iron King has her little brother.

Later, she is rescued by Ash who agrees to help her through the Iron realm if she will come peacefully with him to the Winter Court. She agrees, and Robin Goodfellow joins them but is injured and left behind to heal along the way. Ash and Meghan soon develop an attraction to one another.

She recovers her brother and brings him home. The book ends with Ash appearing to take her to the Winter Court. The Iron Daughter[ edit ] Meghan's adventures continue with the second installment of the series. She starts out in the Winter Court where Ash pretends to have no relationship with her. She attempts to convince Queen Mab about the existence of the Iron Court but Mab does not believe her.

Meghan must go retrieve the scepter and prevent a war between the Summer and Winter courts. After Ash and Meghan find and return the scepter to the Winter Court, Ash declares his love for Meghan and is banished into exile. Meghan follows him, and she too is banished. The Iron Queen[ edit ] Meghan and Ash have been living in exile when they are given the opportunity to have their banishment lifted. All Meghan has to do is kill the new Iron King. She succeeds but ends up getting stabbed in the process.

She then finds a way to heal herself by combining her Summer and Iron magic together and she declares herself the Iron Queen. The Iron Knight[ edit ] Ash, unable to live in a world of iron, embarks on a quest to become human so that he can stay with Meghan.

By the nineties, lifetime employment, even for white-collar workers, had become a thing of the past. When corporations wished to win loyalty, they increasingly did it by paying their employees in stock options.

The common cant was that through participation in personal retirement funds and investment funds of one sort or another, everyone would come to own a piece of capitalism. In reality, the magic circle was only really widened to include the higher paid professionals and the corporate bureaucrats themselves. Still, that extension was extremely important. No political revolution can succeed without allies, and bringing along a certain portion of the middle class—and, even more crucially, convincing the bulk of the middle classes that they had some kind of stake in finance-driven capitalism—was critical.

Hence, the U. Democratic Party, or New Labour in Great Britain, whose leaders engage in regular ritual acts of public abjuration of the very unions that have historically formed their strongest base of support. These were of course people who already tended to work in thoroughly bureaucratized environments, whether schools, hospitals, or corporate law firms.

The actual working class, who bore a traditional loathing for such characters, either dropped out of politics entirely, or were increasingly reduced to casting protest votes for the radical Right.

The utopia of rules: on technology, stupidity, and the secret joys of bureaucracy - David Graeber

It was a cultural transformation. And it set the stage for the process whereby the bureaucratic techniques performance reviews, focus groups, time allocation surveys … developed in financial and corporate circles came to invade the rest of society—education, science, government—and eventually, to pervade almost every aspect of everyday life.

One can best trace the process, perhaps, by following its language. There is a peculiar idiom that first emerged in such circles, full of bright, empty terms like vision, quality, stakeholder, leadership, excellence, innovation, strategic goals, or best practices. Now, imagine it would be possible to create a map of some major city, and then place one tiny blue dot on the location of every document that uses at least three of these words.

Then imagine that we could watch it change over time. We would be able to observe this new corporate bureaucratic culture spread like blue stains in a petri dish, starting in the financial districts, on to boardrooms, then government offices and universities, then, finally, engulfing any location where any number of people gather to discuss the allocation of resources of any kind at all. For all its celebration of markets and individual initiative, this alliance of government and finance often produces results that bear a striking resemblance to the worst excesses of bureaucratization in the former Soviet Union or former colonial backwaters of the Global South.

There is a rich anthropological literature, for instance, on the cult of certificates, licenses, and diplomas in the former colonial world. In , 58 percent of journalists had a college degree.

Today, 92 percent do, and at many publications, a graduate degree in journalism is required—despite the fact that most renowned journalists have never studied journalism. Ability is discounted without credentials, but the ability to download credentials rests, more often than not, on family wealth. Almost every endeavor that used to be considered an art best learned through doing now requires formal professional training and a certificate of completion, and this seems to be happening, equally, in both the private and public sectors, since, as already noted, in matters bureaucratic, such distinctions are becoming effectively meaningless.

While these measures are touted—as are all bureaucratic measures—as a way of creating fair, impersonal mechanisms in fields previously dominated by insider knowledge and social connections, the effect is often the opposite. In some cases, these new training requirements can only be described as outright scams, as when lenders, and those prepared to set up the training programs, jointly lobby the government to insist that, say, all pharmacists be henceforth required to pass some additional qualifying examination, forcing thousands already practicing the profession into night school, which these pharmacists know many will only be able to afford with the help of high-interest student loans.

These debts do not just happen by accident. To a large degree, they are engineered—and by precisely this kind of fusion of public and private power. The corporatization of education; the resulting ballooning of tuitions as students are expected to pay for giant football stadiums and similar pet projects of executive trustees, or to contribute to the burgeoning salaries of ever-multiplying university officials; the increasing demands for degrees as certificates of entry into any job that promises access to anything like a middle-class standard of living; resulting rising levels of indebtedness—all these form a single web.

One result of all this debt is to render the government itself the main mechanism for the extraction of corporate profits. Another is to force the debtors themselves to bureaucratize ever-increasing dimensions of their own lives, which have to be managed as if they were themselves a tiny corporation measuring inputs and outputs and constantly struggling to balance its accounts.

Rather, the legal system has itself become the means for a system of increasingly arbitrary extractions. I once attended a conference on the crisis in the banking system where I was able to have a brief, informal chat with an economist for one of the Bretton Woods institutions probably best I not say which. I asked him why everyone was still waiting for even one bank official to be brought to trial for any act of fraud leading up to the crash of ME: So in that case … okay, I guess the real question is this: has there ever been a case where the amount the firm had to pay was more than the amount of money they made from the fraud itself?

ME: So what are we talking here, 50 percent? But it varies considerably case by case. Now, on one level, this might just seem like another example of a familiar story: the rich always play by a different set of rules. If the children of bankers can regularly get off the hook for carrying quantities of cocaine that would almost certainly have earned them decades in a federal penitentiary if they happened to be poor or Black, why should things be any different when they grow up to become bankers themselves?

But I think there is something deeper going on here, and it turns on the very nature of bureaucratic systems. Such institutions always create a culture of complicity. And insofar as bureaucratic logic is extended to the society as a whole, all of us start playing along. This point is worth expanding on. What I am saying is that we are not just looking at a double standard, but a particular kind of double standard typical of bureaucratic systems everywhere.

All bureaucracies are to a certain degree utopian, in the sense that they propose an abstract ideal that real human beings can never live up to.

Take the initial point about credentialism. Sociologists since Weber always note that it is one of the defining features of any bureaucracy that those who staff it are selected by formal, impersonal criteria—most often, some kind of written test.

In theory they are meritocracies. In fact everyone knows the system is compromised in a thousand different ways. The first criterion of loyalty to the organization becomes complicity. This is how bureaucracies have always tended to work. But for most of history, this fact has only been important for those who actually operated within administrative systems: say, aspiring Confucian scholars in Medieval China.

As a result, this culture of complicity has come to spread as well. Many of us actually act as if we believe that the courts really are treating the financial establishment as it should be treated, that they are even dealing with them too harshly; and that ordinary citizens really do deserve to be penalized a hundred times more harshly for an overdraft.

As whole societies have come to represent themselves as giant credentialized meritocracies, rather than systems of arbitrary extraction, everyone duly scurries about trying to curry favor by pretending they actually believe this is to be true. So: what would a left-wing critique of total, or predatory, bureaucratization look like?

I think the story of the Global Justice Movement provides a hint—because it was a movement that, rather to its own surprise, discovered this was what it was about. I remember this quite well because I was deeply involved in the movement at the time.

Technological advances—particularly the Internet—were knitting the world together as never before, increased communication was leading to increased trade, and national borders were rapidly becoming irrelevant as free trade treaties united the globe into a single world market.

In political debates of the time in the mainstream media, all of this was discussed as such a self-evident reality that anyone who objected to the process could be treated as if they were objecting to basic laws of nature—they were flat-earthers, buffoons, the left-wing equivalents of Biblical fundamentalists who thought evolution was a hoax. Thus when the Global Justice Movement started, the media spin was that it was a rearguard action of hoary, carbuncular leftists who wished to restore protectionism, national sovereignty, barriers to trade and communication, and, generally, to vainly stand against the Inevitable Tide of History.

The problem with this was that it was obviously untrue. Against it, they proposed a genuinely borderless world. Such arguments were, effectively, taboo. But we discovered that there was something we could do that worked almost as well.

We could besiege the summits where the trade pacts were negotiated and the annual meetings of the institutions through which the terms of what was called globalization were actually concocted, encoded, and enforced. The actions operated like a magic charm that exposed everything that was supposed to be hidden: all we had to do was show up and try to block access to the venue, and instantly we revealed the existence of a vast global bureaucracy of interlocking organizations that nobody was supposed to really think about.

And of course, at the same time, we would magically whisk into existence thousands of heavily armed riot police ready to reveal just what those bureaucrats were willing to unleash against anyone—no matter how nonviolent—who tried to stand in their way. It was a surprisingly effective strategy. This was not some natural process of peaceful trade, made possible by new technologies. The foundations for the system had been laid in the s, but it was only with the waning of the Cold War that they became truly effective.

In the process, they came to be made up—like most other bureaucratic systems being created on a smaller scale at the same time—of such a thorough entanglement of public and private elements that it was often quite impossible to pull them apart—even conceptually.

These actually developed the economic—and even social—policies followed by supposedly democratic governments in the global south. Below that came the transnational mega-corporations. Finally, one has to include the NGOs, which in many parts of the world come to provide many of the social services previously provided by government, with the result that urban planning in a city in Nepal, or health policy in a town in Nigeria, might well have been developed in offices in Zurich or Chicago.

We often came close. But we rarely quite out and said it. In retrospect, I think this is exactly what we should have emphasized. Even the emphasis on inventing new forms of democratic processes that was at the core of the movement—the assemblies, the spokescouncils, and so on—was, more than anything else, a way to show that people could indeed get on with one another—and even make important decisions and carry out complex collective projects—without anyone ever having to fill out a form, appeal a judgment, or threaten to phone security or the police.

The Global Justice Movement was, in its own way, the first major leftist antibureaucratic movement of the era of total bureaucratization. As such, I think it offers important lessons for anyone trying to develop a similar critique. Let me end by outlining three of them: 1. Do not underestimate the importance of sheer physical violence. Free-market liberalism of the nineteenth century corresponded with the invention of the modern police and private detective agencies,30 and gradually, with the notion that those police had at least ultimate jurisdiction over virtually every aspect of urban life, from the regulation of street peddlers to noise levels at private parties, or even to the resolution of bitter fights with crazy uncles or college roommates.

We are now so used to the idea that we at least could call the police to resolve virtually any difficult circumstance that many of us find it difficult to even imagine what people would have done before this was possible. Or, at least, no impersonal bureaucratic ones who were, like the modern police, empowered to impose arbitrary resolutions backed by the threat of force.

Here I think it is possible to add a kind of corollary to the Iron Law of Liberalism. The bureaucratization of daily life means the imposition of impersonal rules and regulations; impersonal rules and regulations, in turn, can only operate if they are backed up by the threat of force. All this takes place as social theorists continue to insist that the direct appeal to force plays less and less of a factor in maintaining structures of social control.

It begins to sound more and more like a desperate refusal to accept that the workings of power could really be so crude and simplistic as what daily evidence proves them to be. In my own native New York, I have observed the endless multiplication of bank branches. When I was growing up, most bank offices were large, freestanding buildings, usually designed to look like Greek or Roman temples. Over the last thirty years, storefront branches of the same three or four megabanks have opened, it seems, on every third block in the more prosperous parts of Manhattan.

In the greater New York area there are now literally thousands of them, each one having replaced some earlier shop that once provided material goods and services of one sort or another.

In a way these are the perfect symbols of our age: stores selling pure abstraction—immaculate boxes containing little but glass and steel dividers, computer screens, and armed security. And that conjuncture has come to provide the framework for almost every other aspect of our lives. When we think about such matters at all, we generally act as if this is all simply an effect of technology: this is a world whisked into being by computers.

It even looks like one. And indeed, all these new bank lobbies do bear a striking resemblance to the stripped-down virtual reality one often found in s video games. Since, in such video games, nothing is actually produced, it just kind of springs into being, and we really do spend our lives earning points and dodging people carrying weapons.

But this sense that we are living in a world created by computers is itself an illusion. To conclude that this was all an inevitable effect of technological development, rather than of social and political forces, would be making a terrible mistake. Do not overestimate the importance of technology as a causative factor.

Technological change is simply not an independent variable. Technology will advance, and often in surprising and unexpected ways. But the overall direction it takes depends on social factors. This is easy to forget because our immediate experience of everyday bureaucratization is entirely caught up in new information technologies: Facebook, smartphone banking, site, PayPal, endless handheld devices that reduce the world around us to maps, forms, codes, and graphs.

Still, the key alignments that made all this possible are precisely those that I have been describing in this essay, that first took place in the seventies and eighties, with the alliance of finance and corporate bureaucrats, the new corporate culture that emerged from it, and its ability to invade educational, scientific, and government circles in such a way that public and private bureaucracies finally merged together in a mass of paperwork designed to facilitate the direct extraction of wealth.

This was not a product of new technologies.

To the contrary, the appropriate technologies took decades to emerge. In the seventies, computers were still something of a joke. Consider the ATM machine.

Nor have I been able to find anyone I know who can. This is so true that in the wake of the U. What does this say about what really matters to Americans as a nation? Financial technology then has gone from a running gag to something so reliable that it can form the assumed backbone of our social reality. You never have to think about whether the cash machine will dispense the correct amount of cash. Meanwhile physical infrastructure like roads, escalators, bridges, and underground railways crumbles around us, and the landscape surrounding major cities is peppered with the futuristic visions of past generations now lying smelly, dirty, or abandoned.

None of this just happened. It is, precisely, a matter of national priorities: the result of policy decisions that allocate funding for everything from landmark preservation to certain kinds of scientific research.

Rather than causing our current situation, the direction that technological change has taken is itself largely a function of the power of finance. This is a kind of individualistic fascism. In the north Atlantic countries, all this is the culmination of a very long effort to transform popular ideas about the origins of value.

Storm Of Iron

Most Americans, for instance, used to subscribe to a rough-and-ready version of the labor theory of value. Since the valuation is carried out by government agents, this has, in the past, proved to be a potent source of disaffection. These payments, together with the sale of trading licences and manufacturing monopolies, provide the revenue needed by the bakufu to carry out the various functions of government. All surplus goods are bought and sold via a pre-H medium of exchange known as 'money'.

This takes the form of small, thin, rectangular sheets of compressed wood pulp dollars and small metal discs yen , each representing a given number of exchange units currency which confers an equivalent downloading power upon the holder and gives rise to the curious notion of personal 'wealth' - an outmoded concept that the Federation has wisely dispensed with.

Prologue Cadillac handed his bathrobe to his servant, stepped into the deep tub and sank down until the steaming water lapped his chin.

Two more female dead-faces, naked except for their white cotton headscarves, stood in the water on either side of him, waiting to cleanse and massage his bronzed body. He motioned them to begin, then closed his eyes and reflected, once again, on his good fortune.

Even though he was able to read the future in the seeing-stones, they had not revealed that, in a few short months after leaving the Plainfolk, everything he had ever wished for would be within his grasp. Power, responsibility, a task worthy of his talents, and - most important of all - standing. His life had been utterly transformed and, for the first time, he felt truly content. The warmth of the water pervaded his body, gently dissolving the flesh and bone.

With his eyes still closed against the flickering yellow light of the lanterns he had the sensation of floating, formless, like a spirit-being poured by Mo-Town into the womb of its earth mother.

Armed with the skills and the knowledge he had drawn from Steve's mind, he found it proved a relatively simple task. It was also immensely satisfying, for his arrowhead was sleeker and stronger than Bluebird, the ramshackle rig he had helped Steve to build and on which he had been taught how to fly.

Iron Warriors: The Omnibus downloadPDF, EPUB, MOBI

Cadillac smiled as he remembered how careful he had been not to learn too quickly. Brickman had gone back to the dark world of the sand-burrowers without realising he had given away the key to a treasure house of information.

Using the power granted by Talisman, he had made a mental carbon copy of everything the cloud warrior knew; every fact he had acquired, every learning experience since birth. The entire range of Brickman's talents, skills and knowledge were now his to command. Yes,,, the loss of Clearwater's soul was a small price to pay for such gifts. It was the same motor that Brickman had fitted to Bluebird and then discarded just before his escape because he could not make it work properly.

Cadillac did what Steve, in his haste, could not be bothered to do; he took it to pieces, checked every part, rebuilt it with loving care, and then continued to work on it until it functioned perfectly. Now the equal of Brickman in the air, he took off from the bluff above the settlement, skimming with the same lack of fear over the edge of the steep escarpment into the void.

He felt the wind embrace him, felt its cool sweet breath upon his face; was overcome by a rapturous sense of freedom as he was borne upwards in great sweeping spirals like the golden eagles who nested on the nearby mountain peaks.

Higher and higher he went, into the sky-world with its ever-changing sunlit terrain, climbing and diving between the towering walls of the cloud canyons. From afar, they looked like vast impregnable wind-carved snowdrifts, but the curving terraces and lofty pinnacles that cried out to be explored melted away as he approached, dissolving into a soft formless veil that enveloped his craft and swallowed the sun - like the dawn mists that shrouded the earth at the Yellowing.

For this was the domain of the Sky Voices; a magical landscape that existed only in the mind's eye - serene, awe-inspiring, majestic; endowed with the same fugitive beauty as a rainbow - forever beyond the grasp of mortal man.

Looking down, everything seemed so small. The problems that were so burdensome on the ground shrank into insignificance. The sense of release was so overwhelming, he stayed aloft for two whole hours.

Even after landing, he was on such an emotional high, his feet hardly seemed to be touching the ground. Mr Snow, in his characteristically sly way, let him wallow in the glow of self-adoration for a few days then brought him down to earth with a bump by telling him about the bargain he had struck with the Iron Masters. He made it sound so simple: Rifles,,, Cadillac responded with a baffled stare. There was no arrowhead.

The wrecks of the craft launched from the iron snake had been picked to pieces. And the cloud warrior was long gone. Mr Snow, seated on the other end of the talking mat, read his thoughts and answered with a glum nod.

The Amtrak Wars: Iron Master

I guess that means it's down to you. Cadillac went cold at the thought. Mr Snow brushed aside his objections. Such ingratitude. Was this how he rewarded Talisman - who had made him a wordsmith and seer, and had now made him the equal of any cloud warrior? Gifts such as these were given to be used on behalf of the Plainfolk.

Cadillac was to fly north to the Yellow Stone river, then turn east towards the trading post in the lands of the San'Paul. From there he was to follow the shoreline of the great river, the first of several.

The last, which ran north to south, was called Iri.