February 24, 2009
Taylorism is the western equivalent of stakhanovist productivism. And where most of us would inevitably pick the excess of stakanovism, taylorism remains essentially unchallenged.
Historically, fordism was amongst the first large scale application of this so called “scientific management”. Since it has penetrated most sphere of productions. It has been the arrow of progress and it is not politically correct to question progress nor its vector, in western society. It is the worse of all taboos. By definition, the west is technologically superior and the rest is under development. Following our guidelines to become westernized. Anything else is obscurantism.
By definition, taylorism, or its derivatives, is the indisputable productivist algorithm. By definition, this unquestionably smart mind creation materialized into unquestionably harmonious factories, producing unquestionably beautiful cars, unquestionably useful micro-wave to heat unquestionably delicious fast-food, or unquestionably clever nuclear submarines to tour and crash in our oceans. No questioning allowed.
Some humanists pointed to the suffering, the de-skilling, the de-humanising, to the alienation of the population. But then, the group benefiting from it, the emerging oligarchy found it perfectly acceptable.
Surely, such successful and emancipating approach to work could not just remain under the hands of a lucky few in car chains, or steel factories. From manufacturing, taylorism was transposed to any form of management. Physical taylorist conditioning muted to intellectual conditioning, through some sort of taylorist mental implants. The problem is that we are totally unaware of the depth of penetration of these intellectual viruses, these mental screws . They belong to our mental landscape, like wallpaper. They have penetrated our reasoning and condition our reasoning. The algorithm of taylorism is programing our thinking unconsciously, invisibly. We do not take decisions anymore. The algorithm does and is overruling us. But, we don’t like the idea of the west being conditioned. We would like it to be ideal and superior.
For example, most corporate bullshit bingo these days is nothing but approximate taylorism. Companies logos, slogans, internal communication, are nothing but taylorist mental implants to be accepted by the brain. “Just do it” kind of slogans, progressively robotizing the employees thinking. The mind of an employee has to bend to the ideology of the company the same way the workforce of a car manufacturer has to bend to screw. An employee has to believe lies if requested. Swallowing company’s slogans is what people dislike most at work these days. But silence is the price of a salary.
Which corner of an office is not under the scrutiny of a debilitating taylorist algorithm or its derivatives these days ? What is stress if not the visible part of the iceberg of western self-inflicting taylorist conditioning ?
Totally unscientific, absurd, counter-productive, costing more than the cost it scrutinizes, freezing creativity, stopping intelligence, sabotaging decisions, it does not really matter, as long as it looks like efficiency driven, and is coming out of suit-tie robots showing upside down excel graphs while mumbling sounds like management keywords. The smell of taylorism is enough in our days of naivety. Ask the banks. Ask the credit victims. Ask Madof.
Re-structuring -an classic euphemism for sacking- whatever the context, is sometimes the only room for immediate efficiency gain. It does not matter if the company will not survive in the mid term, as long as it looks efficient today. This is how far taylorist thinking has penetrated society. Self destruction. Sawing its own branch as long as it sounds productive.
Brussels and its eurocracy is not a place where emancipation of mankind is at stake anymore. Brussels is becoming progressively the center of a taylorist only driven Europe. Thinking under the auto-pilot of growth for growth. Where are the initial concepts gone ? Most official speeches these days are about increasing productivity. No more than a crude productivist conditioning. How fascinating. How emancipating. How enlightening.
“Work more, to earn more”. Is this rat-race-slogan the european intellectual horizon of the XXIst century ? Is this rat-race-slogan, the conceptual enlightenment for the XXIst century ? Voltaires, Rousseau would be just fucking ashamed of us. How much does this stupid productivist slogan weight compared to the smart conjunction and subtle equilibrium of concepts such as “Liberté-Egalité-Fraternité” ?
In a word, taylorism -or its ersatz- has become totalitarian. It is everywhere and is unquestionable. Like the dogma of growth: work more, to earn more, to waste more, to borrow more, to work more… Until death happens.
How far are we willing to go with such debilitating societal programming? How could we accept to go that far in the fragmentation of tasks and of thinking ? How did we accept taylorist conditioning taking decisions for us ? What is this absurd race for the illusion of total efficiency all about?
How can we worship such fanatic algorithm ?
How did we not reject this absurd totalitarian productivism ? How did we let it become such a lethal mental deadlock ? How did we accept as a result to be pushed that far into materialism ? How did we not realize this developing western mental illness called materialism ?
Some humanists point to the suffering of the population now being reduced to a workforce, to the millions of victims queuing at the doll. But then, the oligarchy found it perfectly acceptable.
This is even how it self-defines.Author : herve