the question seems to make the assumption that large infrastructure projects would be desirable or necessary in a world without institutional hierarchies. which implies the persistence of mass (and i mean mass) society.
i am not sure that maintaining mass society is possible without the institutional hierarchies that co-created/co-depend on it. so i think the question remains in the realm of (accepting) the status quo, rather than questioning what creates and underlies that status quo.
1) I don't like the business centered analogy, and the presence of contractors and contractees implies the further absent-god presence of contracts which in turn imply a legal structure, making the whole thing look like, at best, backdoored anarcho-capitalism.2) Lack of coercion is an insufficient criteria for anarchism as far as I'm concerned, which ought to exclude even a hypothetically coercionless hierarchy. If it can be all carrots, then someone is doling out the carrots, which is just financing by other words. Lack of coercion can also be said with the word voluntary, and voluntary hierarchical organizations run by those with accumulated finances is, at best, backdoor anarcho-capitalism.3) I think there are real limits to the number of people that can actually self-organize, cf. Dunbar's Number, and so definitely disagree with the idea that any project of any size can be accomplished through anarchism. Granted, it is conceivable that very large scale projects could be accomplished through cooperation by multiple self-organizing groups, so what I mean is that it is presently indeterminable exactly what large scale projects can be accomplished anarchistically, but I do not think it is the case that any or even many large scale projects could be achieved anarchistically.4) Finally, I disagree with the moralistic sentiment in the last line even, or perhaps especially, if it's merely a conflation of anarchy with the Good.
i agree the business metaphor (including carrots) is counter indicated. i wonder what syrphant would think of demotivational training (a book :) )...?
Here's a good snippet from Demotivational Training (thanks for the recommendation, dot!)
"What is a motive? It is in the most basic sense that which leads to movement. By extension it is a reason to act. Motivation is, then, thecreation and communication of motives to get people to movein a direction that is seen as useful, or (to speak the language ofour times) to make them continuously more flexible and mobile."
While I agree with Paoli in general, I think he suffers from the same paralyzing capitalism-paranoia we often see on this website. What a jump he makes from "reason to act" to "make them continuously more flexible and mobile." ????? I suggest we just stop tilting windmills and stick with that "basic sense" of Paoli's: motivation is that which leads to movement. IFF we consider self-willed movement as the defining feature of life, then motivation is the reason for living. Knock carrots all you want, but giving and finding reasons to get up in the morning is not necessarily back-door, sneaky, cape-and-top-hat wearing curly moustache capitalism coming to steal your children.
Another good snippet from Paoli:
"The second reason motivation is more crucial than everis that the real needs of individuals to which social institutionsonce claimed to respond (we could mention among others, theneed for stability, the thirst for social encounters, the pleasureof mutual recognition, the hope for a better life) have been systematicallydestroyed by market colonization."
I agree. But it is not the market that is really to blame but the attitudes of the participants in market exchanges. There've been a bunch of asswipes in the market that failed to recognize the "real needs of individuals."
In a different place (http://eipcp.net/transversal/0704/paoli/en) Paoli has a wise old man advise a frustrated entrepreneur as follows:
" You can’t train a person to be motivated any more than you can teach him to be free. In both cases the training process itself eliminates any possible free will. Whoever is forced to *act* motivated cannot possibly *feel* motivated.""But then what am I to do?" asked the entrepreneur."You can inspire respect and emulation by setting a good example, by demonstrating your own model behavior. You should treat your co-workers as you wish them to treat you. They should enjoy the same affluence as you do, rely on the same security in sickness and old age, have sufficient time for leisure and socializing and above all: they must find fulfillment in what they do. Then you won’t have any need for motivational trainers and your people will remain loyal to you."
Couldn't put it better myself.
Now, I see no reason -- other than human personality flaws -- why a bunch of people can't find mutual recognition, give each other reasons for moving, and helping each other "find fulfillment in what they do" in the construction and maintenance of an airport...without hierarchy or shared goals or anything, really, than mutual respect and golden-rules all around.
We can't do it, though, because it would require a level of trust that we cannot possibly get to, not with all the back-door capitalists lurking in the shadows... ;) First the righteous have to do a big witch-hunt purge until no one remains but those who "believe that they don't believe in anything anymore." (from Demotivational Training). ;)
syrphant, in your last example, one can take a point of view that both a) and b) occurred. one can feel a sense of connection and shared accomplishment and a sense of individual accomplishment. i don't see it as an either/or situation.
i disagree with your notion that your goals were distinct ("you moved your side, i moved mine") because as you both move your sides of the table, you must adjust, balance, steer, make eye contact with another, feel and sense the combined movement of your efforts, etc. as you move with the other person....much different than each lifting and carrying their side independently of the other. you also share the goal of moving the table from one spot to another.
edited to add....
tthe idea of "deserving praise and pride" doesn't resonate with me. "deserves" according to who? it sounds as if some authority exists which determines who deserves something, and who doesn't. the word "deserve" itself smacks of authority to me.