Unwinding Technocracy

Annelise Riles

in Collateral Knowledge

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780226719320
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226719344 | DOI:
Unwinding Technocracy

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This chapter explores the technocratic state which was framed as a problem of bureaucratic rationality. It does this through an ethnographic account of one instance of crisis surrounding the authority, legitimacy, and efficacy of governmental regulation of the market. This crisis involves a neoliberal revolt against the regulatory state and the chapter looks at its consequences. This chapter describes how this critique—originating in the academy, but picked up by politicians, journalists, and eventually by bureaucrats themselves—reframed the informal ways Japanese bureaucrats had long regulated the economy as “nontransparent” or even “corrupt,” and how the target of such political claims became the person of the bureaucrat and his or her personal ethics. At the same time, parallel “reformist” projects attacked the legal subjectivity of the population. Finally, this chapter presents arguments that state that many current proposals to reform the markets and their regulation, despite their cheerful modesty, make very much the same move.

Keywords: unwinding technocracy; nontransparent economy; technocratic state; bureaucratic rationality; governmental regulation; regulatory state; neoliberal revolt; market reforms; market

Chapter.  17680 words. 

Subjects: Financial Markets

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