Southern Nights

dystopia_1

James C. Scott in his Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed  took a long hard look at the Utopian projects of the 20th Century, the state-initiated social engineering projects that all in one way or another ended in tragedy and failure. What he discovered were four basic elements that in combination led to utter failure in each and every case. The first element is the administrative ordering of nature and society. The second element is what he termed high-modernist ideology. For Scott this was the scientific and technological project of enlightenment progress, the endless expansion and inclusive rationality at the heart of capitalism and even socialist projects. The third element is an authoritarian state that is willing and able to use the full weight of its coercive power to bring these high-modernist designs into being. A fourth element is closely linked to the third:…

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