The dictate of efficiency


First they raise efficiency, then they simplify, then they automate, then they infantilize, then they incapacitate, then they manipulate, then they oppress and then the rest of us are, for all practical purposes, enslaved.

Boom, we’ve lost our freedom. Just like that, in the name of progress.

Haven’t you ever wondered, whether planned obsolescence includes us as well?

How meaningful is it to be efficient, if it leads to a boring, controlled life?

If efficiency is about doing things right, as Peter Drucker said, we also have to ask how expensive – not just in monetary terms – it is to do the wrong things right. Drucker also said that effectiveness is about doing the right things. There definitely is a mismatch between doing things right and doing the right things these days. There is too much Taylorism in the system and it is increasing its dominance through big data, using personal data not only to improve the efficiency of the worker, but also the efficiency of the consumer: Make sure s/he consumes more and more.

In my opinion, we must reconsider, whether efficiency really is the non plus ultra for society as a whole. After all, it kills diversity, ultimately making entire systems more vulnerable.

Humanity needs more effectiveness.

The more people we herd together, the easier it becomes to influence and control them. It becomes easier to get them to adapt their behavior in order to follow trends. It is efficient, raising the profitability for a few.

Remember “if you like this, you will also like that”?

The downside being that the bigger the herd, the less flexible it becomes, the less likely it is to change habits and innovate. This in turn stabilizes the control system, i.e. the bureaucracy. Not only that, but like cancer, the latter metastasizes.

In reality therefore, the bigger, the worse, because the bigger, the more impersonal. Social pressure is high in small communities, because people know each other. In large herds, they don’t.

This, incidentally, is one reason, why in my opinion we should stop glorifying mega-cities as well. When I think of mega-cities, I’m always reminded of factory farming, both being very efficient.

How relevant is geographical proximity in a world connected online anyway?

There’s much more to humanity than just being efficient, at least for now. Cooperation and collaboration depend on the degree of voluntariness, not on the sample size.

What if customers were just as obsessed with efficiency as companies?

Consumerism would be dead, wouldn’t it?

And then what?


Fascinating idea, if you ask me.

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