Managers come from the same stultified society as the managed

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

Americans were once accustomed to solving problems themselves, T. Greer notes — less as rugged individuals than as rugged communitarians:

When a novel problem occurred, they would gather together with others affected, and would together take action to resolve the problem before them. This lived experience of jointly solving novel problems has largely disappeared from American life. Americans have spent several generations the subject of bureaucratic management, and are rarely given real responsibility for their own affairs. The “Karen” like impulse of contemporary life is to defer to experts; when a vexing problem disturbs, the default solution is an appeal to management. The problem with all this: managers come from the same stultified society as the managed. Once they attain power they realize they have no more experience building problem-solving institutions than the rest of us.


  1. Harry Jones says:

    The thing to note here is that productive collaborations assemble themselves from individuals that manage to connect with others of equal merit.

    The hard part is finding others worthy of working together with as peers.

  2. RLVC says:

    In our dreams … people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions fade from their minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk.

    We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply.

    The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things that their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.

  3. Bomag says:

    I found the article’s example a bit curious: Sanitary Commission from the Civil War, where some strong-willed individuals created a new bureaucracy.

    I’ve been told the Civil War turbocharged the shift of political power from local, individual control to consolidating such in the central federal capitol; thus empowering bureaucrats and technocrats over the local guy in the marketplace of ideas.

  4. RLVC says:

    Bomag, are you suggesting that industrialization and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race?

  5. Bomag says:

    “are you suggesting that industrialization and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race?”

    Too soon to tell.

    It has brought us nice things, but it might not allow us to keep nice things.

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