The Webbs on the standardisation movement

Here’s what the Webbs had to say about how the standards movement fitted into their plans for A constitution for the socialist commonwealth of Great Britain (1920).

It renders people “nominally free” but “virtually compelled” – praised as “expert control” without “democratic control”.   They justify such human control in terms of efficiency and supposed cost savings.  It accords well with statist regimes.  

This insight was a generation before ISO 9000 moved from standardising manufacturing to controlling behaviour and record-keeping.

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