Seeing Like a State

By James C. Scott, James C. Scott,

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

Book description

"One of the most profound and illuminating studies of this century to have been published in recent decades."-John Gray, New York Times Book Review

"A powerful, and in many insightful, explanation as to why grandiose programs of social reform, not to mention revolution, so often end in tragedy. . .…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Seeing Like a State as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Have you ever wondered why we can’t just make the world better? Sure, we’ve made enormous strides in agriculture and medicine over the past few centuries. We can generate electricity and move around the world in a day. We can feed and heal people. But why haven’t we just sat down and figured out the right way to live? Planned it all out on a clean sheet, like an architect.

Seeing Like a State is a book about why it’s impossible for ambitious programs of top-down control to succeed, and why they so often end up with millions of people…

From Seth's list on about how the world really works.

The fifth book is Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott which teaches how the state makes people legible and controllable by naming them, giving them addresses, marking them, or moving them. 

From Kara's list on power and the powerless.

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