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Rustichello's Folly

Over the past decade or so accountability has become a bit of a fetish in public and corporate administration. Sometimes it seems like every parrot in the pet store is talking responsibility and accountability. If there’s a responsibility being devolved somewhere then there’s usually a tool just around the corner to map out the accountability framework. This is as it should be, whenever we do a thing on behalf of others it is necessary to ensure that we do that thing as well as possible and to standards that make doing the thing worthwhile.

The trouble is that the recent fixation with responsibility and accountability has meant that these are not deployed as shared concepts. They are used as means by which individuals are located within a matrix of functions, operations, and tasks: drilling down within the vast ledger of action and inaction. Collective responsibility is increasingly managed by means…

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