Utopia of Rules

Author David Graeber
Published 2018
Rating 5/10
ISBN 9781612193748
Status Finished on 2020-05-30

Strictly less interesting and less persuasive than Debt or Bullshit Jobs, with an odd (and admittedly self-aware) discursiveness rather than an actual thesis.


Power makes you lazy. Insofar as our earlier theoretical discussion of structural violence revealed anything, it was this: that while those in situations of power and privilege often feel it as a terrible burden of responsibility, in most ways, most of the time, power is all about what you don’t have to worry about, don’t have to know about, and don’t have to do. Bureaucracies can democratize this sort of power, at least to an extent, but they can’t get rid of it. It becomes forms of institutionalized laziness. Revolutionary change may involve the exhilaration of throwing off imaginative shackles, of suddenly realizing that impossible things are not impossible at all, but it also means most people will have to get over some of this deeply habituated laziness and start engaging in interpretive (imaginative) labor for a very long time to make those realities stick.