RvK: The one requirement that turned out to be the key element in the all encompassing move towards the entrepreneurial state: decentralizing authority (identity)

Submitted on Thu, 09/03/2020 - 20:45

We are paraphrasing this entire argument, taken from the book of Paul Du Gay *In Praise of Bureaucracy, (Sage, 2000)  as we think it is an important explanation as to why identity has become such an important topic, the  key to transform the model of representative democracy, read our everyday life - and move as much of its economic and productive value (infrastructure, logistical supply chain and assets) into a new organizational model tuned to 21th century technologies. 


The major trend in terms of future and proactive value is to disinvest in  the 'middle' - actual services and value. produced by labour -  and invest significantly in mundane assets like housing, hotels, prisons as Blackstone is doing (focussing on the absolute bare necessity of humans to have shelter) alongside highly complex and invisible sources of new value hidden in fintech and analytics in which the human no longer present but an 'entity': a combination of presence (documentation and digital  identity), a record of what surrounding devices report (face recognition, surveillance, and or personal 'innocent' smartphone use) and behavioural input (simply by 'being', 'moving', 'shopping'...). The combination of these forms of identification we call an 'event identity'.


This middle  is 'society'. The actuality and the promise of politics is that if you behave well and. pay taxes you will get 'good' and or 'sufficient' services in return, which makes you want to use them and  keep that model intact. It is clear that this model can no longer keep its promises. It will be citizens, us, who will face the breakdown and. implosion of the middle and we must do everything to prevent it. We can no longer count on the internal dynamics embodying the model: politicians, nor can we trust the institutional framework that supported them. The course of action open aims to 1) understand why identity is the last man standing, after which implosion and civil war (of a new and  a particularly vicious kind) will logically follow, 2) propose a viable alternative to bridge the coming crucial three years and 3) organize a general strike if actors in power refuse to transform into new governance structures.


There is a very simple reason why we are in this predicament today. We are not concerned with intent, so we refrain from investigating as to whether this was a deliberate robbery and attack on public and democractic values. We are concerned with the effects. 


The main argument of Du Gay is that arch father of bureucracy Max Weber  has been misunderstood to have  foregrounded buraeucracy as a primary carrier of rationaloization in all spheres of human life, which has led to a rejection - but actually clearly states that  there exists an independent burraucratic morality and that egime value  (public life, private life, work life) and ethics need to be part of different systems of practice. The attributes  - adherence to procedure, acceptance of sub-and superordination, commitment to the purpose of the office  - do not represent partly a complete' or well-rounded identity. rather they should be regarded as a positive moral and ethical achievement in their own rght. The frustration of adherence to protocol and. procedure  is a byproduct of achievements that  ensure fairness, justice and equality in the treatment of citizens. and naturally this frustration has grown with automation, biometrics, sensor detection networks, surveillance Big data and AI. Still, according. to Peter Blau (1956)  detailed information that offends or. irritates the individual from whom it is requested is exactly the requirement of efficient and effective administration, and has always offended us. The question then boils down to a trade, do we feel that we get a good return on investment by 'offering' our intimate details? And. if not, whose fault is that? Could  it be that a 'regime' of bureaucracy' itself is not to blame? Might it be the case that by imploding representative democracy we are ousting the very backbone. of its promise  - bureaucracy as an enabler - putting it firmly in the hands of the new leadership in the network (and by default the next global  governance) Blackstone (with Google, Deloitte, Hilton in the Board)?


Du Gay relates how entrepreneurial governance became the magic word in the 90s new public mamagement of representative democracies. It has ten essential principles:


"Entrepreneurial governments. promote competition between service providers. They. empower citizens by pushing control out of the bureaucracy, into the community. They measure the performance of their agencies, focusing not on inputs, but on outcomes. They are driven by their goals - their missions- not by their rules and regulations. They redefine their. clients as customers and. offer. them choices - between schools, between training programs, between housing options. They prevent problems before they emerge, rather than simply offering services afterward. They put their energies into earning money, noit simply spending. it. They decentralize authority, embracing. participatory management. They prefer market mechanisms to bureaucratic mechanisms. And they focus not simply on providing public services but on catalyzing all sectors -public, private and voluntary - into action to solve their community's problems." (Osborne and Gaebler, 1992, 19-20)


What went wrong?

What is the only element that was not carried out?


Reading this list of requirements, in a cybernetics because that is what it is in 2020 we can quickly testify  to its enormous scope of success:


“Because this approach presupposes that no organizational context is. immune from the winds of change, it naturally. assumes that all organizations - whether hospitals, charities, banks or government departments - will need to develop similar norms and techniques of conduct, for without doing so they will lack the capacity to pursue their preferred projects. As Kanter (1990:356) forcefully. argues, all organizations - public, private and voluntary - must either move away from bureaucratic guarantees to post-entrepreneurial flexibility or....stagnate - thereby cancelling any commitments they have made..”


The one requirement that turned out  to be the key element - They decentralize authority, embracing. participatory management - is only now being carried out, but only after current and  proactive value  in the system has been removed from all participants, by the successful operational capabilities coming into play by outcome based competition catalyzing market mechanisms paid for by customers (as the new only role of former ‘citizens’) empowering specific actors who have executed this roadmap and instead of decentralizing  authority at the beginning of the 90s or  alongside early 2000s, through identity management, it is only now, after there  is no more value in the system, that this decentralized authority is on the market in the form of outsourcing digital identity management in all European countries. 


Like a snake biting its own tail, but as a a bigger snake, it is then capable of leaving citizens fully behind, not even anymore as ‘customers’, but purely as entities, dynamically portable  parts of ‘event identities’, thus fully instating the primacy of financial capital as the new political model.