> Skip to content
  • Published: 21 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9780262045780
  • Imprint: MIT Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 168
  • RRP: $41.99

Sludge

What Stops Us from Getting Things Done and What to Do about It



How we became so burdened by red tape and unnecessary paperwork, and why we must do better.

We've all had to fight our way through administrative sludge--filling out complicated online forms, mailing in paperwork, standing in line at the motor vehicle registry. This kind of red tape is a nuisance, but, as Cass Sunstein shows in Sludge, it can also also impair health, reduce growth, entrench poverty, and exacerbate inequality. Confronted by sludge, people just give up--and lose a promised outcome: a visa, a job, a permit, an educational opportunity, necessary medical help. In this lively and entertaining look at the terribleness of sludge, Sunstein explains what we can do to reduce it.

Because of sludge, Sunstein, explains, too many people don't receive benefits to which they are entitled. Sludge even prevents many people from exercising their constitutional rights--when, for example, barriers to voting in an election are too high. (A Sludge Reduction Act would be a Voting Rights Act.) Sunstein takes readers on a tour of the not-so-wonderful world of sludge, describes justifications for certain kinds of sludge, and proposes "Sludge Audits" as a way to measure the effects of sludge. On balance, Sunstein argues, sludge infringes on human dignity, making people feel that their time and even their lives don't matter. We must do better.

  • Published: 21 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9780262045780
  • Imprint: MIT Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 168
  • RRP: $41.99

About the author

Cass R Sunstein

Cass R. Sunstein specializes in constitutional law, regulatory policy, and economic analysis of law. In the academic world, he is by far the most cited law professor in the United States. He has also written for many popular newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The American Prospect, Time, Harpers, and The New Republic. He has also appeared on many national television and radio shows, including Nightline, Fox News, the ABC Evening News, the NBC Evening News, 20/20, the News Hour, The O'Reilly Factor, and Fresh Air.

Sunstein graduated in 1975 from Harvard College and in 1978 from Harvard Law School magna cum laude. After graduation, he clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. Before joining the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School, he worked as an attorney-advisor in the Office of the Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Sunstein has testified before congressional committees on many subjects, and he has been involved in constitution-making and law reform activities in a number of nations, including Ukraine, Poland, China, South Africa, and Russia. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Mr. Sunstein has been Samuel Rubin Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia, visiting professor of law at Harvard, vice-chair of the ABA Committee on Separation of Powers and Governmental Organizations, chair of the Administrative Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools, a member of the ABA Committee on the future of the FTC, and a member of the President's Advisory Committee on the Public Service Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters.

Mr. Sunstein is author of many articles and a number of books, including Republic.com (2001), Risk and Reason (2002), The Cost-Benefit State (2002), Why Societies Need Dissent (2003), The Second Bill of Rights (2004), Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005), and Worst-Case Scenarios (2007). He is now working on various projects involving the relationship between law and human behavior

Also by Cass R Sunstein

See all

Related titles