Vol. 14 No. 1 (2021): Aesthetics in Times of Contagion

The bureaucratic rationalization. On the “intelligent stupidity”

Marcello Barison
University of Chicago

Published 2021-07-20


  • Musil,
  • Bureaucracy,
  • Ludwig von Mises,
  • Liberalism,
  • David Graeber

How to Cite

Barison, M. (2021). The bureaucratic rationalization. On the “intelligent stupidity”. Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi dell’estetico, 14(1), 117–124. https://doi.org/10.36253/Aisthesis-12038


Focusing on the problem of bureaucracy as a striking example of the ‘necessary stupidity’ that real-life forces us to tolerate, the philosophical meaning of Musil’s «intelligent stupidity» will be discussed. To a closer confrontation with the text, and with passages from (italic) Man Without Qualities (/italic) that are particularly relevant to the theme of the relationship between stupidity and bureaucracy, a number of reflections will be anteposed in order to highlight how, by making the concepts of liberalism and bureaucracy react to each other, it is possible to sketch a first outline of that aporetic of stupidity that seems to characterise so substantially the behaviour of modern man.


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