David Graeber’s book on rules and bureaucracy examines the topic from a refreshing standpoint. Much management literature, since at least Bennis (1965), has made the claim that bureaucracy and competitive markets and/or change are somehow incompatible. The world needs to be post-bureaucratic – ‘bureaucracy must die’ (Hamel, 2014), organizations must be more entrepreneurial (Drucker, 1984). These are the refrains we hear – if we are to survive and grow, creativity must be unleashed from the shackles of bureaucracy.
Corporate governance – as a functionalist approach to the promotion of efficiency and wealth creation and an antidote to stagnation and corporate scandals – has been much in vogue for a few decades now. Influential publications on corporate governance rank among the most cited in the social sciences.
It was November 2008 and it happened at the London School of Economics’ School of Management. The city was trembling above the shockwaves of a devastating financial crisis yet Professor Luis Garicano had good reason to be cheerful, at least on the beginning of the particular day we’ve got scene-setting cause to look back on him. As the Departmental Head he was leading The New Academic Building’s opening ceremony and the event had attracted a large and illustrious crowd.
Accounts of neoliberalism have focused principally upon regimes of accumulation and their socio-economic conditions and consequences. From outsourcing to de-industrialisation and privatised Keynesianism through to concerted and widespread attacks on labour, these shifts have been framed by commentators in terms of the ‘restoration of class power’. The epochal transformations of administrative, state and IFI structures and operations have, through the fetishistic mantra... more
The communism of capital? What could this awkward turn of phrase mean, and what might it signify with regards to the state of the world today? Does it merely describe a reality in which communist demands are twisted to become productive of capital, a capitalist realism supplemented by a disarmed communist ideology? Or does the death of the capitalist utopia mean that capital cannot contain the antagonism expressed by Occupy and other movements anymore, and therefore must confront communism upfront?
To do critical theory used to be fairly straightforward. The existing order of things – Global Capitalism, Consumer Society, Late Capitalism or State Monopoly Capitalism – could be criticized for its shortcomings in relation to an actually existing alternative. This alternative did not have to be fully realized to exist. It was enough that the ideas that it embodied (socialism, free love, authentic human relationships) moved the imaginations of a multitude of people for the alternative to be real (at least in the Hegelian sense of that term).