- Paperback: 460 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; New edition edition (9 Mar. 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300078153
- ISBN-13: 978-0300078152
- Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 3.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (The Institution for Social and Policy Studies) Paperback – 9 Mar 1999
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." . . a paean to human liberty. . . . This book [owes] much of its value to the details of the particular case studies, and to Scott's enthusiasm and ingenuity in seeing links among apparently different human projects. . . . [A] remarkably interesting book . . ." -Cass R. Sunstein, New Republic -- Cass R. Sunstein "New Republic" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Then the focus appears to waiver. There is a chapter on agriculture in developing economies that characterizes agricultural extension efforts from the first to the third world as analogous to Lenin's nationalization of industry, or Nyerere's forced resettlement of Tanzanians. But the targets -- the agricultural extenders who dismiss established practices -- lose solidity and become shadows. They are no longer living, breathing, powerful rulers,; instead they are the "credo of American agriculture," the "catechism of high- modernist agriculture," the "high-modernist aesthetic and ideology of most colonial trained agronomists and their Western-trained successors" -- truly straw men.
The conclusion is a call for social systems that recognize the importance of what Scott calls "metis": a Greek word for the practical knowledge that a skilled and experienced worker has of his craft.Read more ›
A good book to start to understand why we are where we are now with how the states and governments run things With sometimes disasterous results.
Recommended book for my history degree by a great Ruskin college oxford teacher.
Useful for my first year dissertation to understand why things are like they are. And to understand why govt do what they do.
He also sees that this imposition from above results in many of the most important failures of the imposition of artificial evenness on people and on situations which are unforseen.
In itself a useful critique.
This critique is really an updated critique of the one that various german Romantics offered of the Enlightenment's vision of a rational state governed by rational laws: specifically Goethe's arguments about the organic nature of a place and its people.
He even grasps part of what makes this kind of thinking more useful in our century than in previous ones. Our technology allowed implementation of a standardised new scheme easier than documentation of old ones.
Now for the less good:
The author fails to realise this. Indeed it seems that most readers, intent on preaching libertarianism, fail to see this, and instead think that money is the solution to all ills.
Because he fails to realise this, his book becomes a running series of anecdotes, looking at particularly outstanding examples, and labeling the problem "High Modernism".
In brief: he falls prey to his own problem, by looking at history as input into methods, he searches to hard for easy examples, and fails to list as many examples caused by markets which are driven by the same principles: the reduction of the individual to an input into a process. That input must, then, be homogenised the same way one homogenises the metals to be input into an alloying process.
The book is part of a useful discussion, but the context and knowledge to engage in it does not seem to be present at this time. Unfortunate.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must read for those that need to understand the delusional nature of 'management/hierarchy/bureaucracy'......Published on 17 Aug. 2014 by Arthur Doohan
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