Bureaucracy’s Playthings

“‘In the average business office, record making constitutes approximately ninety percent of the activity. Alert businessmen keep a constant check on their costs of doing business. One paper lost, mislaid, or delayed can and often does inconvenience and retard a dozen or more people in their work.’

“Furthermore, ’few people realize that, of all the service activities of an organization, the creation and the storage of business records are the greatest consumers of space, salaries, and equipment’—in 1967, at least.”

Shannon Mattern looks back at the way we once handled paperwork and filing systems in pre-Internet offices (Reanimation Library). Read more on business from the Longreads Archive.

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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