Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Barriers to Efficiency

Unaccountability is a problem in centralized management, especially as hierarchies become entrenched. An example is a political mailing list that I'm unsubscribing to -- the unsubscribe page brings me to:

The Democracy for America staff has been alerted to your request to unsubscribe. It can take up to one week for your name to be removed from our system, please be aware that you may receive 1-2 emails during that processing time.

Apparently, this means that the form is going to a real person, who, when they get around to it (up to a week!), will manually unsubscribe me from the system. This is obviously a bad system -- it's on a computer, and it should not be difficult to hook up the form so my unsubscription happens immediately. From what I understand from my friends who grew up under it, the Soviet Union was full of such inefficiencies (of different specific kinds, na klar). Red tape isn't unique to red government though -- many dealings with government here involves a lot of paperwork. A possible justification for this is that the state has a higher obligation to fairness and propriety which businesses lack, and thus the burden of openness and fairness mandates a lot of the specifics of paper trails. I can understand this for some things done in the past, but at least in modern times, the delays and interaction needed in paper trails should be able to be hidden behind computers. It does seem to be an interesting comprimise -- the need for fairness mandates inefficiency and irritation for everyone. Could this be part of the reasoning behind the Soviet fall into bureaucracy? (Another explanation is damage done to society under Stalin) Is there a way around it? Specifically, does this impact the Three Rules of Communism as I understand them? Is large-scale fairness and tracability possible without the human hassle? One might argue that a proper mindset based less on consumption would lessen the need for concerns of this kind, but even if the needs are lessened, we still may need to keep an eye on them.

I've been reading a bit on Trotsky and art, particularly in the role and forms of art on the way towards building a classless society. I am impressed. I also am interested in how the struggles within the Soviet Union and the Communist movement in general on art have played out.

Tags: philosophy

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