Against Efficiency

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I feel your pain. That is why after being let go at age 60 from a long time job due to company "efficiencies", and unable to get re-employed, I decided to do frack all. What's the point? Now I can read whatever books I want, watch whatever tv I want. Go for nice leisurely bike rides in parks pursuing my photo bug hobby. What me worry? I will be dead soon and efficiently charred to ashes to make room for ...well...more efficient humans.

Phil Menger more than 11 years ago

against efficieny

Could this be a textbook problem with word definitions? Why is the word efficiency in its current popular usage used only as a measure of short-term micro domestic economics? Why can we not extend its definition, and our conversations about efficiency, to include the value of things that cannot be immediately measured in one fiscal year in dollars? For example, what constitutes an efficient community? How do we valuate it vis a vis a dollar? Or, do we? Same goes for environmental do we construct an operating model for society that levels the playing field between community, environment and economics? The more we converse and question, write about and delve into these issues, the more likely it is that politicians will sit up and take notice. And yes, if it means the first stepping stone is to put a dollar on the value of community, then do so...follow the money down its snaky trail until we figure out how much it costs to displace people from their homes or workplaces when the bus routes change, when they can no longer get to school, get the market, get to public services (such as health) when much would that cost? On a macro scale, very much indeed, of course, and still covered by our tax dollars likely, but at least the bus company gets a set of good-looking account ledgers! Intelligent people like Stephen are just the sort of people we need to get in there and stir up the words to get this conversation out there. Kudos, thanks, and carry on!

Patty Holmes more than 11 years ago

Yes, but...

It sounds like the main contention isn't efficiency per se, but cuts labelled efficiency. If the bus new bus routes worked better, there'd be no problem. The problem is they're not more efficient, they just cost less.

The inevitable efficiency squeeze is unpleasant, but is there an alternative? I'm not asking this rhetorically, I share Henighan's concern, but I don't know what else there is: I don't picture efficiency suddenly going out of style among people who make more money from it. What structure of globalized finance is there that doesn't value efficiency?

Also, Nabokov reminds us that Flaubert doesn't mean bourgeois in the Marxist sense, but "as a state of mind, not a state of pocket." For that reason, I'm not sure what to make of the reference here.

Good article though. I agree with the thrust and, like Henighan I think, I don't think there's an answer...We can say nothing in reply.

JD Halperin more than 11 years ago