Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Workplace Is No Place To Earn A Living

Turning workers into robots without rights (except the right to quit and become a robot somewhere else) is the key to the "productivity" of the state capitalist system. But there has remained a productivity/wage gap, with wages remaining stagnant or not increasing anywhere near the rise in productivity. The companies most of us work for reap the benefit of our wage slavery, while we, the workers, lose ground and can barely maintain our standard of living. Meanwhile we toil in monotonous jobs that most of us hate, going home each night to spend a few hours watching mindless "entertainment" or subtle or not so subtle statist propaganda on the television, and spending the entire week looking forward to our weekend, when we might have a little time to actually be human.

Frederick Winslow Taylor introduced the idea of "scientific" management to the workplace.

From Wikipedia:

Taylor's approach is also often referred to, as Taylor's Principles, or frequently disparagingly, as Taylorism. Taylor's scientific management consisted of four principles:

1. Replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on a scientific study of the tasks.
2. Scientifically select, train, and develop each employee rather than passively leaving them to train themselves.
3. Provide "Detailed instruction and supervision of each worker in the performance of that worker's discrete task" (Montgomery 1997: 250).
4. Divide work nearly equally between managers and workers, so that the managers apply scientific management principles to planning the work and the workers actually perform the tasks.

Taylor had very precise ideas about how to introduce his system:

It is only through enforced standardization of methods, enforced adoption of the best implements and working conditions, and enforced cooperation that this faster work can be assured. And the duty of enforcing the adoption of standards and enforcing this cooperation rests with management alone.

Workers were supposed to be incapable of understanding what they were doing. According to Taylor this was true even for rather simple tasks.

'I can say, without the slightest hesitation,' Taylor told a congressional committee, 'that the science of handling pig-iron is so great that the man who is ... physically able to handle pig-iron and is sufficiently phlegmatic and stupid to choose this for his occupation is rarely able to comprehend the science of handling pig-iron.

The introduction of his system was often resented by workers and provoked numerous strikes.

h/t Check Your Premises


  1. Okay... if you ever read anything I ever wrote, read this:

    High percentage progressive taxes correct this. When the people at the top of a company write their own checks, they consider a few things.

    The first thing they consider is the company's operating capital. Most owners are intelligent enough to not take so much money that they cannot possibly run the company.

    Next, they look at the utility of their own paycheck. I'm not sure whether you're aware, but income over a certain amount (but not up to that amount) was taxed over 90% for decades in this country. It was not until Reagan that these taxes were greatly reduced. If an owner would lose 90% of the money he makes over (for the sake of argument) $1 million, chances are he won't take as much as if he would lose only 40-60%. Dipping in for a bigger scoop seems more reasonable.

    These bigger scoops are the raises the workers should be getting. That guy whose job is primarily to write his own check just pockets more of the money the company earned as his own personal wealth. Republicans would have you believe that wealth is then reinvested... which it is, but only virtually through banks, bonds, stocks, etc.

    Add to this the fact that individuals with this much cash are the very people buying the votes that corrupt our government, and frankly I don't see how any sober individual can come to the conclusions that conservative economists come to through theoretical mind experiments with no basis in reality. "Redistribution" isn't how progressive taxes work, it works by penalizing and discouraging miserly behavior.

  2. Uh, Ginx? Your solution to the accumulation of power of one hierarchy (the corporation) is... to let another, just as evil hierarchy (the State) accumulate more power?

    That's not a good "solution." In fact, it solves absolutely nothing.


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