Review: The Utopia of Rules, by David Graeber

GODS & RADICALS

Reviewed: The Utopia of Rules – On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy. (2015) Brooklyn and London: Melville House.

Reading a book about bureaucracy may not sound like an exciting way to spend a weekend off with my family. And yet, having just started David Graeber’s latest – A Utopia of Rules – when I wasn’t making tea for my elderly grandmother, I curled up in a comfy chair with this little pink book, mocked up to look like one of the forms it excoriates, and excited by each new page. Although many of the ideas Graeber presents here aren’t new, the clarity and force with which they are drawn together and set out is a rare pleasure – a contrast with turgid official paperwork that was almost certainly intentional.

Graeber – a social anthropologist, anarchist, and prominent leftist thinker, based at the London School of Economics (LSE) –…

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