The Utopia of Rules

On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

paperback, 272 pages

Published Feb. 23, 2016 by Melville House.

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4 stars (7 reviews)

5 editions

Review of 'The Utopia of Rules' on Goodreads

4 stars

Four or so essays on power, violence, and freedom, often through media critique and briefly sketched historical analogies. Themes of creativity (imagining better worlds) and force (police violence, the exhaustive interpretive labor that bureaucracy requires from those at the bottom); neoliberalism's squashing of technological progress and social freedoms while redefining those terms so it may champion them; science fiction and fantasy and play and games. Keeps coming back to imagination and its ambiguity and potential for destruction, leaving us left or right more comfortable within layers of rules even if they harm us.

Review of 'The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This wasn't the easiest read (I finally finished this after about three years of false starts), but once it got going for me, it really got going. A mind-changing meditation on the nature of power and authority and the real and fictional manifestations that power (the essay on futurism was a particularly fun read), the book succeeds at developing a left-wing critique of bureaucracy and the state. Strongly recommended.

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