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What is the anarchist critique of efficiency

0 votes
If it does how does it tie in with division of labor?
asked Feb 27, 2015 by DonnieDarko (890 points)
Can you say more about what you are digging at?
I suppose I'm just digging at this particular argument against work and a critique of the productivity and "efficiency" of capitalism. Why is it considered so important to have an "incentive" to do something, why is it considered by anarchists to not be. Why is it considered important to be productive? Why is it considered important to be efficient? Why do anarchists generally believe it not to be? There's not much to it i don't think.
i happened to come across this essay today. it sounds like the type of critique you asked about...


1 Answer

0 votes
AN anarchist critique of efficiency would certainly include division of labor--as part of the cogification of people.
i believe this critique would start by troubling the definition of efficiency, and who determines it.
for example: are assembly line workers making a product? or are they creating themselves?
which is the assembly line efficient for?...
answered Mar 2, 2015 by dot (52,130 points)
"cogification"... i like that. :)
Could you explain what you mean by the difference between production and creation?
i won't try to answer for dot, but i like thinking about the distinction, and i look at it this way...

production implies a producer/consumer relationship...things, "services", and so on, need to get produced so someone else can consume them, and consumption needs to exist so that people have a reason to keep producing...

whereas creation represents an internal drive to express oneself, to play, to dream, and to then give form to those desires.
i'm not actually making a distinction between production and creation in my response. the point is where is the "efficiency"? if we are most engaged with creating ourselves, then is an assembly line an "efficient" way to do that well?

(ps: baa's response is fine, and if i were in a different mood i might make that argument myself, but right now i'm finding semantic distinctions like creation vs production overly precious. regardless, it isn't the point i was trying to raise.)
What is the assembly line efficient for?  Does the assembly line produce a product, or does it produce line workers - dispirited people doing a pointless job, utterly alienated from both the product they produce and the alienated consumer of that product?
Whether painting smiles on a plastic piece of shit in the smog bowl of industrial china, or shuffling useless pieces of paper from one file to the next in a highrise office in brussels, more and more of the human race spends most of its waking hours 'on the line' - just another cog in the machine.  But when we accept that we are a cog - a lifeless piece of machinery, to be used up, worn out and then discarded for a newer model - then we explicitly accept our own dehumanization, and we accept that some other bastard has the 'god-given right' to dehumanize us (and all those around us).

An interesting thought.  and what happens in the minds of the cognified?  What sort of eternal internal conflict simmers between the compliant dehumanized corporate drone mind, and that inextinguishable spark of autonomy harbored in even the most down-trodden slave - all teeth and claws and shining eyes waiting for the slave-mind to turn away a moment too long, too late.
When they dream of the barricades, do they wake in a cold sweat terrified their betters may learn of their deviant nightmares, or do they wake in laughter - dropping back into slumber in the afterglow of their insurrection to come?