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November 25, 2013



A lot of this particular type of boss class is not exclusively "capitalist", with some of the worst managerialism residing in the public sector.


"Which raises a paradox."

It's a paradox that's been hiding in clear view since at least 1968. The Establishment view then was that exercising the right to free speech would lead to totalitarianism, or that those demanding free speech were totalitarians.

I think the justification of this point of view is that if we had too much free speech that would lead to chaos and then that would lead to totalitarianism. The answer to that is, I suppose, that the current system must be pretty weak if free speech leads to chaos.


@ Anthony - of course you're right. The thing is that the public sector is taking its managerialist mindset from a capitalist model. (I was thinking of capitalism in the sense of "top down" control, rather than private sector markets)


Could not agree more !

With NSA and GCHQ spying on all and sundry, how can we be a free people?

The Money Laundering Regulations now effectively mean that all transactions need the approval of the police.

Dare to speak out in the work place and you are likely to be "managed" out of the organisation.

If you challenge the consensus then you have an "attitudinal problem".

I fear the blunting of the national IQ which such intellectual repression and conformity produces will not assist the country's future prosperity.

Rant over


"The thing is that the public sector is taking its managerialist mindset from a capitalist model."

yes and no imho - so yes in that for example far too much public sector project management is informed by the Prince2 approach - originally designed to project manage IT contracts but now applied to the broad range of services including far too much social care. The need to work this way is tied into many contracts so that large chunks of civil society are now aligned to this approach.

Even then there is a specific public sector approach which comes from a paternalist pov. It has commerce related trappings and perhaps commercial approaches gave this approach a new language and structure but I don't think it can be blamed on capitalism as it has a deep foundation in the faith in the state to intervene as an external force in order to "fix" people and a lack of trust in collectivist approaches.


The public sector has always been prone to managerialism, but it did traditionally operate in a pluralist environment, having to balance the competing demands of Whitehall, local councillors and the unions.

The last 30 years have seen that environment whittled away, largely replaced by a "commercial" relationship between central government and large private companies.

Prince2 was created as a filter for public service outsourcing (IT was the first place they started). It prevents smaller businesses from competing with the favoured suppliers who have made its manipulation a core "skill".

It adds nothing to vanilla PM best practices and has few fans in the private sector beyond ex-public cartels that lack the competitive pressure to change (e.g. the utilities).


Its not so much that 'Marxists were the totalitarians and capitalists were on the side of pluralism' (or the other way around) but that the people who like telling other people what they can and can't do stopped pretending to be Marxists, and now pretend to be capitalists. They just wanted to tell people what to do so joined the 'winning' team to be allowed to do so.

Churm Rincewind

What was it you were saying the other day about inferring too much from individual examples?

I fail to see how a small number of anecdotes amount to any substantive evidence for "the decline of British Universities", let alone the triumph of totalitarianism.

Phil Beesley

@dongately: "yes and no imho - so yes in that for example far too much public sector project management is informed by the Prince2 approach..."

Prince2 (is it not becoming Prince3?) defines project management practice in the public *and* private sector. It might work for some, where it is possible to assess risks based on past experience, when a project is like something that has been delivered previously.

Ironically, given its roots, Prince does not work well in IT. Few IT projects are a rework of something that the company previously delivered; the desired product is complex and demands multiple inputs. It is not the IT of PrinceX.


It has always been a conceit of the right that they believe in freedom. But their version is very selective.

Socialists and social democrats in europe have a much better record as regards freedom. But Blair and his cronies have made the mainstream left party less liberal in various ways mixing up the picture.


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