Zeldin, Theodore,  Philosophical Anthropology: An Intimate History of Humanity
New York: 1994, ISBN 006017160X
Page 469

In ancient times, justice was blind, unable to recognize the humanity that is in everybody. In modern times it has been one-eyed, narrowly focused on the principle of impersonality, imposing the same rules on everybody so as to avoid nepotism and favouritism, but unable to notice what people feel when they are treated impersonally and coldly, however justly or efficiently. The impersonal monetary compensations of the welfare state have not been able to heal the wounds of unfairness, because nothing can compensate adequately for a wasted life, least of all when even in the USA, which has studied efficiency to its limits, it takes seven tax dollars to get one additional dollar of income into the hands of a poor person. Only with both eyes open is it possible to see that humans have always needed not just food and shelter, health and education, but also work that is not soul-destroying and relationships that do more than keep loneliness out, humans need to be recognized as persons.

 

Bruce Springsteen, CBS News, Interview on 60 Minutes,
New York: 1996 Page 11 of the transcript

Mr. Springsteen:


"In my opinion, it was the failed policies; you know, that the efficiency of the economy is not the most paramount thing.

A country’s judged not by just its accomplishments, but by its compassion, the health and welfare of its citizens, you know.

That’s the—that’s the core of its spirit."

Sclove, Richard,  Democracy And Technology
New York: 1995. ISBN 089862861X
Page 48

What of the concern that strong democracy could be grossly inefficient—wasteful of time and hazardous to prosperity? As with competing forms of social organization, there are such risks. But this concern may also involve misconstruing the meaning of efficiency and the nature of strong democracy.

An action is efficient if it accomplishes its end without the unnecessary expenditure of scarce resources. However, in a strong democracy social ends are not simply given. They must be formulated via a strong democratic process. Thus, rather than conceivably impairing economic efficiency, democracy is a precondition for legitimately specifying the ends with respect to which efficiency is defined.

Mark Twain, from Internet site Quoteland.com

"We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read."

Gouyette, Claudine; Pestieau, Pierre “Efficiency of the Welfare State.”
Kyklos, 1999, Vol. 52 Issue 4, p537, 17p, 5 charts, 3 graphs

To better grasp our approach, consider two countries that are identical in all respects but for the way their welfare state operates. In the first country social spending is allocated towards the truly poor households, or towards those facing unexpected income losses; transfer programs as well as the production of social services are run efficiently in terms of costs and resource utilization. In the second country, the picture is totally different: the Matthew effect prevails; administrative costs are rather high and productive efficiency in social services is low. It is pretty clear that in aggregate terms, efficiency is greater in the first country than in the second one and our aggregate measure would reflect this difference (obviously, the assumption that these two countries are identical in all other respects is crucial)….

Fermi, Rachel,  Picturing The Bomb
New York, 1995: ISBN 0810937352
Page 1

Because they understood the energetics of nuclear fission—the enormous output of energy for such a small input of material—the physicists also understood almost immediately that this unexpected discovery would have major political consequences. One atomic bomb, probably not much bigger than an ordinary aerial bomb, certainly no bigger than a truck, could destroy a city.

Arthur M. Okun,  Equality and Equity: The Big Tradeoff
Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1975
Pages 6 and 10

Features of Rights

An obvious feature of rights—in sharp contrast with economic assets—is that they are acquired and exercised without any monetary charge. Because citizens do not normally have to pay a price for using their rights, they lack the usual incentive to economize on exercising them....

Second, because rights are universally distributed, they do not invoke the economist’s principle of comparative advantage that tells people to specialize in the things they do particularly well. Everybody can get into the act, including some who are not talented actors....

A third characteristic of rights is that they are not distributed as incentives, or as rewards or penalties. Unlike the dollar prizes of the marketplace or the non-pecuniary honors and awards elsewhere, extra rights and duties are not used to channel behavior into socially constructive pursuits....

Norgard, Jorgen S.  Declining Efficiency in the Economy
Denmark: 1996. ISSN 13964038
Page 281

The only way economic growth can continue in a society where people’s economic wants are already rather satisfied is to provide satisfaction in a more inefficient way. One way is to convince people to prefer beer, cookies, fruit, and other products from remote regions instead of from their own region.

Another is to confuse means and ends. Most of the needs in Europe today are social and psychological, which calls for personal relations, but their satisfaction is marketed through material means. People are being taught to get satisfaction from purchasing goods rather than possessing them. The consumer becomes addicted to the flow of goods, which is itself the root of the environmental problem. The businesses that act as pushers have the full support, acknowledgement, and even subsides from growth-oriented governments.

Mander, Jerry  In The Absence Of The Sacred
California: 1991 ISBN0871567393
Page 95

The main point to understand in all this is that the efficiency of television in influencing and controlling the populace does not result so much from any premeditated conspiracy by the military or corporations as it does from a de facto conspiracy of technical factors. As is the case with computers, TV technology is more efficient and more effective as an instrument of centralized control than it is for any other use.

Dave Barry,  Dave Barry In Cyberspace
New York, 1996: ISBN 0517595753
Page 11

Without computers, the government would be unable to function at the level of the effectiveness and efficiency that we have come to expect. This is because the primary function of the government is—and here I am quoting directly from the U.S. Constitution—“to spew out paper.” This can be very time-consuming if you use the old-fashioned method of having human beings sit down and manually think about what each individual piece of paper is actually going to say. This is why today’s government uses computers, which are capable of cranking out millions of documents per day without any regard whatsoever for their content, thereby freeing government employees for more important responsibilities, such as not answering their phones.

Hillman, James.  Kinds of Power: A Guide to its Intelligent Uses
New York: 1995. ISBN 0385469640
Pages 33 and 38

The extermination camp in German-occupied Poland, Treblinka, and its commandant, Franz Stangl, present efficiency at its purest. Treblinka was the largest of five camps built exclusively for the purpose of extermination. According to a most conservative estimate these camps killed close to 3,000,000 people in seventeen months.

The extermination camps were devised for the Final Solution because an earlier method—simply shooting masses of people above pits to be bulldozed under (a method used by the Nazis in the Soviet Union) -- was soon rejected as inefficient for what Himmler was to call “the enormous task ahead.”*

Gitta Sereny,  Into That Darkness
(New York: Random House/Vintage, 1983
p. 98

In contemporary psychological language, efficiency is a primary mode of denial. Stangl makes this clear in his explanations. His single-minded devotion to doing an efficient job closed his eyes to what the job was actually doing. His efficiency defended him from his sensitivity. Work justified itself; efficiency for its own sake—and it could not be stopped “because it worked.”

From “The Deserted Village” by Oliver Goldsmith

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,

Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.
Princes and lords may flourish....
But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied.

Aldo Leopold, “The Ecological Conscience
speech to the Conservation Meeting, Minneapolis, June 1947

Reprinted from the December 1947 issue of the Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin

We have not asked the citizen to assume any real responsibility. We have told him that if he will vote right, obey the law, join some organizations, and practice what conservation is profitable on his own land, that everything will be lovely; the government will do the rest.

This formula is too easy to accomplish anything worthwhile. It calls for no effort or sacrifice; no change in our philosophy of values. It entails little that any decent and intelligent person would not have done, of his own accord, under the late but not lamented Babbitian code. No change in human conduct is ever accomplished without an internal change in our intellectual emphases, our loyalties, our affections and our convictions. The proof that conservation has not yet touched these foundations of conduct lies in the fact that our philosophy, ethics and religion have not yet heard of it.

Gauss, Christian. The Prince
New York
Page 86

A prince, therefore, not being able to exercise this virtue of liberality without risk if it be known, must not, if he be prudent, object to be called miserly. In course of time he will be thought more liberal, when it is seen that by his parsimony his revenue is sufficient, that he can defend himself against those who make war on him, and undertake enterprises without burdening his people, so that he is really liberal to all those from whom he does not take, who are infinite in number, and niggardly to all to whom he does not give, who are few.

William Knowlton. Writing to Learn
New York: 1998. ISBN 0062720406
Page 36

The British Empire, however inefficient in its management, was very much a going concern, and wise men on both sides of the Atlantic believed that its success was intimately connected with the bumbling way in which it was run.

They saw both the prosperity and the inefficiency of the empire as results of the freedom that prevailed in it. Freedom, inefficiency, and prosperity are not infrequently found together, and it is seldom easy to distinguish between the first two. The British Empire was inefficient, but its inhabitants were prosperous, and they were free.

Greider, William. Fortress America: The American Military and the Consequences of Peace
New York: 1998. ISBN 1891620096
Page 158

The global economic system, led by the United States, governs trade, financial markets, and the rights of capital by imposing complex rules but insists that fundamental human freedoms are not a legitimate basis for global regulation. Raising questions of environmental protection, labor rights, or social equity -- not to mention the democratic principles of free speech and freedom of assembly -- is described as an intrusion on the trading system, possibly even an impediment to the spread of prosperity. National sovereignty (including America's is told to yield to the efficiencies of globalizing enterprises

Scott, James C.  Seeing Like a State
1998

ISBN 0300070160
Page 98

For many specialists, a narrow and materialist “productivism” treated human labor as a mechanical system which could be decomposed into energy transfers, motion, and the physics of work. The simplification of labor into isolated problems of mechanical efficiencies led directly to the aspiration for a scientific control of the entire labor process. Late nineteenth-century materialism, as Anson Rabinbach emphasizes, had an equivalence between technology and physiology at its metaphysical core....

What is most remarkable about both traditions is, once again, how widely they were believed by educated elites who were otherwise poles apart politically. Taylorism and technocracy were the watchwords of a three-pronged idealism: the elimination of economic and social crisis, the expansion of productivity through science, and the reenchantment of technology. The vision of society in which social conflict was eliminated in favor of technological and scientific imperatives could embrace liberal, socialist, authoritarian, and even communist and fascist solutions. Productivism, in short, was politically promiscuous.

Simpson, Kemper.  Big business, Efficiency and Fascism
New York: Harper and Row 1941
ISBN 040416529X


Page 31

Hitler and Mussolini asked for unlimited power and the suspension of democracy in Germany and Italy in order to obviate the evils of communism. Big business asks for unlimited size and the abrogation of competition in the United States in order to serve the American consumer by increased efficiency. Have Hitler and Mussolini through fascism obviated the evils of communism? Has big business in the United States through ever increasing size and limitation of competition accomplished a compensating efficiency? The writer believes that both of these questions must be answered in the negative.

V. I. Lenin, “The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government
(1918), Collected Works, Vol. 27 (Moscow, 1965)
p. 259

The Taylor system, “like all capitalist progress, is a combination of the refined brutality of bourgeois exploitation and a number of the greatest scientific achievements in the field of analysing mechanical motions during work, the elimination of superfluous and awkward motions, the elaboration of correct methods of work, the introduction of the best system of accounting and control, etc. The soviet Republic must at all costs adopt all that is valuable in the achievements of science and technology in this field. The possibility of building socialism depends exactly upon our success in combining the Soviet power and the Soviet organisation of administration with the up-to-date achievements of capitalism. We must organise in Russia the study and teaching of the Taylor system and systematically try it out and adapt it to our ends.”