The Technocrat and The Anarchist

I don’t know about you
But I’ve come to realise that the technocrat is the bane of our existence.
Ken Loach’s extraordinarily beautiful film, “I, Daniel Blake” shows it.
The work of Jesse Dillard on administrative evil shows it.
Our everyday experiences with IT, Finance and HR, and bureaucracies in general often show it.
What to do?

The first thing to realise
Is that technocrats operate according to their own rules.
And the core of those rules means that they don’t care,
About you, the individual.
They can’t.
Their systems would dissolve,
Like the brown sugar witch.
They can’t handle human variation.

These rules exist for one reason and one reason only
To protect the greater good.
And the sacrificial lamb in that case is the individual.

It is Stalinist in its thinking, also Fascist
This technocracy.
Adam Curtis had a bit to say about this.
Have a look here before we go on. It’s a long read but I’ll wait…

Are you there?
Eye-opening, no?
For me the key is Hayek’s realisation that he had to make capitalism technocratic.
He borrowed from the left, to entrench the right.
Why is this important?
It gives us context.

We’re well and truly there now, no question,
No doubt.
And that means that, from the perspective of the individual,
It is no longer the collective vs the individual, the classic left vs right argument.
No, we’re beyond that now.
Because technocrats frame both left and right.

What does that mean for you?
Several things.
It means we have to find ways to be a bit subversive if we want to get anything done.
Because rules are, well, meant to be broken.
But broken intelligently.
Breaking rules intelligently means having a deep understanding of why they were formed and the impact they have on the organisation in which you work.
And how far you can push the limits.

That has to do with risk.
Your appetite for risk.
You need to be a risk taker in order to be a craftsman.
And all change makers are craftsmen.
They craft.
Sometimes they’re crafty.

The bigger issue is about technocrats.
Because they now provide the context.

In days gone by
The battle was between the communists and the anarchists
See Lenin and Bakunin for some insightful correspondence

The anarchists were fighting against
The weight of the state.

No longer.
The weight of the state has been replaced
By the tools of the technocrat.

Douglas Rushkoff has something to say about it here:

The really important part is tucked away towards the bottom,
“The very essence of what it means to be human is treated less as a feature than bug.”
So all those foibles that make us creative are bugs.
To be squashed.
Or updated out.

The Importance of Ideas