Okay, let’s rearrange them later.

A long time ago, a very smart guy named Max wrote about a phenomenon he thought would take over the world. He called it ‘bureaucracy.’ He was thinking bigger than the phone company. He noticed people mainly want to be better off than the next guy. He watched his contemporary institutions, endlessly hiring, promoting, and retiring people through various positions – enduring forever themselves. They were staffed from a wage-slave labor force, whose members contentedly spent lifetimes fighting for the next rung up the ladder. He saw no end to it.

The thing is, we’re not really in danger from Al-Qaeda, North Korea, or disruptions in the Middle East. Aside from the occasional explosion or anthrax-mailing, nothing is likely to happen. We’re vigorously running in place, and that’s satisfying enough. On-again off-again bomb threats are good ways to exercise the bureaucracy, and it strengthens with a workout. Our paymasters have achieved global accounting. Our militaries are wildly efficient. The mightiest minds of the thinking classes are all bent towards: keeping the system running.

Another smart guy named Karl said, ‘yes, but the system always starves people from the bottom up, until those in the middle get hungry, and then they throw a revolution.’ Max didn’t think so. He figured institutions could always print enough paper to pay middling wages; to keep things going. Dismal guy, from some points of view.

Oh he did, though, mutter something about a ‘charismatic leader,’ someone who shows up unexpectedly and charms everyone into flocking away from their institutions. I wonder what that was about.

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