Thursday, November 11, 2010

if we’d all just be a little more altruistic maybe this ‘system’ would work?

So our friend Mr. Crawford tells us about about his work as a ‘abstractor’ (someone who writes abstracts for articles that are published in magazines). The objective of the job on the surface appeared to require substantial cognitive ability. But in the end, he found the job ultimately unsatisfying. The work was reduced to little more than a glorified bulleter of points made in the article – repleat with quotas on the number of articles abstracted and with the only measurement of quality reduced to grammar and spelling forms.

So then he says,

“What I want to emphasize is that the presence of this third party (the conglomerate that owned the company he worked for) seeking to maximize  a surplus skimmed from my labour, in a manner not sensitive to the limitations of pace arising from the nature of the work itself, must drive the work process beyond its limits.

Yet to identify greed as the problem would be to place the issue beyond serious address, leaving only important lamentation or a tedious exhortation to altruism.While greed may indeed be the root cause of our impoverished work life, it is surely no the case that the managers who design and orchestrate the process are themselves greedy (or rather, they surely are greedy no less or more than the rest of us, but that is not he issue.)  …The problem, rather, is in the organization of managerial work within which they must operate.”

I like this guy more and more all the time…

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