Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed

  • Levine A
  • Scott J
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Abstract

Why have large-scale schemes to improve the human condition in the twentieth century so often gone awry? James C. Scott analyzes diverse failures in high-modernist, authoritarian state planning-collectivization in Russia, the building of Brasilia, compulsory ujamaa villages in Tanzania, and others-and uncovers conditions common to all such planning disasters. What these failures teach us, he argues, is that any centrally managed social plan must recognize the importance of local customs and practical knowledge if it hopes to succeed.

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Authors

  • Andrew Levine

  • James C. Scott

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