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By Daniel Cohen

The "modern occasions" of the early 20th century observed the increase of the meeting line and the idea that standardization might make the realm a greater position. but besides larger creation potency got here dehumanization, because the department of work created many roles requiring senseless repetition instead of awake involvement with paintings. In our personal sleek occasions, a similar revolution has been wrought via details know-how. In Our glossy occasions, Daniel Cohen lines the roots of this revolution again to the uprisings of 1968, whilst the adolescence of the industrialized global rejected the bourgeois values in their mom and dad and the overall scenario of the employees. scholars raised within the anti-establishment tradition of the Nineteen Sixties have been capable of shatter the realm of standardization created by way of their mom and dad. via the tip of the 20th century, info know-how had created decentralized paintings buildings that inspired autonomy and private initiative. yet with this higher flexibility got here the psychic rigidity and burnout of "24/7." Cohen explores the various ways in which the hot expertise has replaced our paintings and private lives, our very conceptions of relations and neighborhood. He argues compellingly that the current period represents a revolution that may be accomplished in basic terms while the significance of human capital is not any longer overshadowed by way of the cost-saving efficiencies demanded via monetary capital.

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Indeed, according to this study, managers take on responsibility that in the past was shared by three to five people. In effect, they themselves are subject to the narrowing of hierarchical structures, and the physical and (especially) mental price they pay often results in a shortened career. Their fortunes made, they stop working earlier and earlier (often to become consultants). What makes this intensification of work particularly difficult stems from the fact that it does not keep each of the various tasks thereafter done by the same person from remaining quite specialized.

Another essential principle that explains the new polyvalence of work is the hunting down of stoppages. The hotel night clerk who prepares guests’ bills for the next morning patently takes up two tasks with no informational ties and without hierarchical relations. The fact that he is asked to execute both tasks is proof of a new obsession with the organization of work: to hunt down wastefulness, to no longer pay people for doing nothing. As Philippe Askenazy illustrated,6 the systematic rise in work-related accidents that accompany industrial reorganizations is the proof that a new “Stakhanovism” is at work in today’s production world.

2 In this time of great stock market battles, when shareholder values have asserted themselves and have created a new landscape for modern capitalism, it is astonishing to hear the echo of industrial capitalism from less than 30 years ago. What storm was then brewing on the earth? The certainty with which Galbraith presents the stability of the old system amuses and astonishes us. Would it have been able to continue functioning so well indefinitely? ”3 Contrary to Galbraith’s thoughts quoted above, this response was guided by the idea that capitalism would not survive the bureaucratization process generated by managerial capitalism.

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