From early in the Cold War era it became a habit to lampoon the idiocies of centralized communist planning in the Soviet Union. There was plenty to lampoon. George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, and later “1984” became eerily predictive. What we never noticed though, deafened by all the ideological shouting, was that the strengths and weaknesses of collective activity are found everywhere there are humans. The United States is on the cusp of decline as a successful civilization exactly because, for ideological reasons, it manages collective activity very badly and at vast, wasteful expense. Selfishness and greed, in the end, don’t come cheap. For example, 62% of the bankruptcies in America occur simply because there has been no well-managed universal health care. That leads to huge personal and national losses. Not smart. On the other hand, it remains true that any organization will multiply individual errors, and resist correction of the problem. If the organization is a communist state, that multiplication of error can be catastrophic (as we saw, for example, in China’s so-called Cultural Revolution, which came close to destroying the state altogether). Even in our modest “capitalist” democracies though, this is a daily problem. We may have millions of companies, but as in the planned state, they lock individual faults into a collective framework, and even imitate the errors of other organizations. Countless millions are trapped in soul-destroying workplaces where some brainless “authority” figure micro-manages his small kingdom into a paralysis which can go on for years. The individual meeting an organization of any size is always at risk. Recently I had reason to spend a little time in a hospital. On discharge I was given a document which listed my “co-morbidities” – a catalogue of terrifying conditions supported by a collection of life-threatening pills to take every day. It was all pure fiction, apparently manufactured by some bored muppet in an off-moment. I protested, and was ignored. The patient is always stupid. The “medical record” had been created and was sealed with the authority of the organization. I consulted a GP. We agreed that the hospital was insane and trashed the pills. I wrote formally to the hospital and ostentatiously signed it “PhD” for effect. Into the void. The hospital continues to send letters assuming my pending “morbidity”. This is the story of organizations everywhere, and why, occasionally, there are revolutions.