Seeing Like a State

How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed

Ranked #3 in Forestry, Ranked #10 in Utilitarianismsee more rankings.

Compulsory ujamaa villages in Tanzania, collectivization in Russia, Le Corbusier's urban planning theory realized in Brasilia, the Great Leap Forward in China, agricultural modernization in the Tropics - the 20th century has been racked by grand utopian schemes that have inadvertently brought death and disruption to millions. Why do well-intentioned plans for improving the human condition go tragically awry? less

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of Seeing Like a State from the world's leading experts.

Marvin Liao Partner/500 StartupsI tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books. (Source)

Dan Sullivan Recommends this book

Venkatesh Rao Scott’s book is very important for anybody who wants to have an understanding of how complex modern societies work, why things seem to fail predictably, and what you can do about them, to a limited extent. (Source)

Clare Lockhart Seeing Like A State. He’s quite similar to Dewey in a way. He also sees the state as only a mechanism. But he thinks that the way that the state chooses to count, or the way it chooses to see, will inform how it behaves and what kind of animal it becomes. Scott explains, for example, how in France, in early modern times, the state decided to count two things. It decided to count how much salt there was and how many able-bodied men there were, because it wanted to tax the salt and send the able-bodied men off to war. Now perhaps the state decides to count other things, how many healthy people... (Source)

Roger Pielke Jr A good lesson for people thinking about climate change, whether to create a global policy for carbon dioxide emissions. (Source)

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