Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Bernal vs. Weber

After some recent reading, I found a fair bit of resonance between Bernal and Weber. There may be something for future thought so I'm going to record some pull quotes:

“Civil Service and Army methods of administration are essentially unsuitable for the carrying on of research. Research is always an exploration of the unknown, and its value is not to be measured by the amount of time spent on it but by the output of new ideas thought of and tested out. Regularity of hours or days, clocking in and clocking out, with an annual fortnight's holiday, is not conducive to original thought.” (Bernal, [1939] 1967 pg. 106)

“The decisive reason for the advance of bureaucratic organization has always been its purely technical superiority over any other form of organization... And as far as complicated tasks are concerned, paid bureaucratic work is not only more precise but, in the last analysis, it is often cheaper than even formally unremunerated honorific service.” (Weber, 1958 pg. 204)


Bernal, J. D. ([1939] 1967). The social function of science. Cambridge,: M.I.T. Press.
Weber, M. (1958). Bureaucracy (H. H. Gerth & C. W. Mills, Trans.). In H. H. Gerth & C. W. Mills (Eds.), From Wax Weber: Essays in sociology (pp. 196-244). New York: Galaxy / Oxford University Press.


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