In many jobs, especially low-level ones, employees are treated like robots or cattle who must conform and obey to whatever mad strictures are devised by assholes in the executive suites. Independent thinking is suspect. Do not go beyond the strictures of what your operating instructions are. You are a profit-making machine, nothing more. Jobs like these can rapidly turn one into an asshole, and that’s because they were designed by assholes.
This fine rant titled ‘The Asshole Factory” is from Umair Haque, London-based consultant, author, contributor to Harvard Business Review, “where he focuses on capitalism and creating prosperity in the 21st century.” He starts by talking about a friend with two recent degrees from top schools who could only gt a crappy job in retail. Her work life is incessantly regulated and monitored by apparatus that makes NSA seem mild.
What is Mara’s job like? Her sales figures are monitored.by the microsecond. By hidden cameras and mics. They listen to her every word; they capture her every movement; that track and stalk her as if she were an animal; or a prisoner; or both. She’s jacked into a headset that literally barks algorithmic, programmed “orders” at her,
Mara’s boss sits in the back. Monitoring all twelve, or fifteen, or twenty people that work in the store. On a set of screens. Half camera displays, half spreadsheets; numbers blinking in real-time.
The economy doesn’t make stuff anymore. That much you know. So what does it make?
It makes assholes.
And that’s not just a tragedy. It is something approaching the moral equivalent of a crime. For it demolishes human potential in precisely the same way as locking someone innocent up, and throwing away the key.
This is what happens where capitalism runs amok, fostered and encouraged by a deliberately comatose government, when rules and laws are not enforced against the monied class. It’s not capitalism at all, more like a new feudalism. The serfs are expected to do whatever the overlords require. Not only is a system like this deranged, it can’t and won’t last. Productivity will drop, resentment will climb. Sooner or later the peasants will revolt, because they always do when subject to vicious exploitation.