Monday, April 27, 2015

We Are Hands Again: Under Slave Drivers, Overseers

"The companies we work for, the businesses we buy from, and the political system we participate in all seem to have grown less accountable. I hear it over and over: They don’t care; our voices don’t count."--Robert Reich 
Management has devolved to where people are but "hands" again.  It can have high tech accoutrements.

Note what all the technology and bureaucracy that wonderful, noble company has invested hundreds of millions in doesn’t ask her to do. Learn. Think. Reflect. Teach. Inspire. Lead. Connect. Imagine. Create. Grow. Dream. Actually…serve customers. Heaven forbid. It just beats her over the head, over and over again, three times a minute, every twenty seconds, with how much she hasn’t sold; hasn’t made; hasn’t produced. For her shitty .0003% commission. According to the quota that’s been set for her. By her boss. For his boss. For their boss. And so on all the way up the food chain.--Umair Haque from The Asshole Factory
Yet, it's foundation is as old as written history.  Consider the Pharaoh's demands to the Hebrews: 

Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy.  
Here's my take on our walk back in time:

We are but hands in the workplace.  The mind is teased into believing input is wanted, but once given, the system quickly discounts, even retaliates against those speaking out.

Our hands are to do the work, under a barrage of inspections and intrusions.  The mind is not capable of checking its own work, of giving input or feedback, of offering engagement and relationship.  Management is in control and their will be done. 

Our hands must be motivated by management with their "superior minds."  Management torments via a lowly duality.  One side has threats of consequences, the other enticement via offering of bribes.  Management commands, "meet the goal/target or else."  Fear consumes people to the point that 25 to 33% lie, cheat or steal to achieve petulant management's demands.  Yet, these supposedly intelligent managers cannot see the pattern they create. Society is incapable of detecting the harms of extrinsic motivators.  As a result America sends teachers to jail and leaves financial miscreants free to commit fraud again.

Our hands must beat our co-workers hands.  Whoever sells the most, delivers the fastest, has the fewest accidents, the least days off for sickness, wears the loudest tie, tells the best joke, makes the hottest burrito, donates the most to the boss' favorite charity gets the prize.  Everything is a contest and only "winners" or "incredibly insecure, hypercompetitive people" win.  Competition is the antithesis of teamwork.  Management wants our hands to willingly compete in whatever absurd, whimsical manipulation they devise.

We are but hands to pull the voting lever every two years.  Politicians of both stripes ignore our voices until roughly eighteen months before a Presidential election, ten to twelve months before an off-year election. Both Red and Blue team politicians tap the federal wallet to enrich their friends and funders, whose opinions and wants are courted year round. 

Our hands not only make corporate executives super-wealthy, they enable investment firms who own companies to profit even more handsomely.  Our hands are not to notice executive fingers dipping into the company treasury for obscene levels of executive compensation.  Our hands are to be happy with the meager droppings that fall from above.

Our hands matter as implements of production, nothing more.  The term hands came from an agrarian society which required human labor.  Serfs were needed to produce for the landed gentry.  The family farm survived by having a large number of children to help with chores.  The industrial revolution introduced production lines which required labor.  Workers were encouraged not to think, but to use their hands as told.  

Our hands deliver whatever level of "customer non-service" management requires to enrich themselves and any invisible ownership group bilking the company for dividends and fees. 
Our hands are not to notice the horrific, surreal darkness supplied in perpetuity by our corporate and political leaders.  Our hands are to be kept limp by our side.

What these chuckle-heads don't know is our hearts.  It pumps the blood that feed our mind and hands.  It stands up to their inhumane systems daily by observing their manipulations, calling them by name and refusing to bend or break.

How does a nation live with leaders interested only in themselves or serving a select few?  Said that way, the people can easily live without them.  But since they aren't going away anytime soon, render unto management, that which is management's.

Listen to your heart.  It will enable you to speak peace to violence, to speak love to greed, to stand in the face of anger, to hold your principle when all forms of retaliation are sent your way.   Your heart is what they really want.  Enough hearts aligned together can break the heart-eaters.  It has always been this way.

Live your heart, however it calls you.

Update 5-22-15: This lamentation points to the poor quality of our business leader and their overseers.

Update 7-7-19:  Reich notes how Oligarchs control our government from the White House to Red and Blue Team corporacrats.