"Graeber describes the contemporary era as the "age of total bureaucratisation," in which public and private bureaucracies, now so intertwined as to be effectively indistinguishable, have become the main mechanisms for Wall Street profits, and describes how bureaucratization brings the threat of violence (through legal and police enforcement) into almost every aspect of daily life in wealthy countries. Graeber argues that bureaucracies are no longer analyzed or satirized as they were in Catch-22 or The Castle. The book centers on the "political implications" of bureaucracies and Graeber's solutions.
Graeber notes that Americans largely dislike bureaucracies, but while they are not motivated to change bureaucracies, he thinks they should be. He makes an urgent call to remove the bureaucratic limits that hamper creativity. He argues that the "order and regularity" of bureaucracy is more harmful than valuable, and elaborates that rules do not apply equally in practice and are more "instruments through which the human imagination is smashed and shattered"."