An introduction to Tony whose trade is CNC miller/turner. An occasional series looking at British engineering and a few of the people left working in it.
"In corporations, work is divided in an increasingly visible way into highly skilled positions of research, conception, control, coordination and communication which deploy all the knowledge necessary for the new, cybernetic production process, and unskilled positions for the maintenance and surveillance of this process. The first are few in number, very well paid and thus so coveted that the minority who occupy these positions will do anything to avoid losing them. They and their work are effectively bound in one anguished embrace. Managers, scientists, lobbyists, researchers, programmers, developers, consultants and engineers, literally never stop working. Even their sex lives serve to augment productivity. A Human Resources philosopher writes, “[t]he most creative businesses are the ones with the greatest number of intimate relations.” “Business associates,” a Daimler-Benz Human Resources Manager confirms, “are an important part of the business’s capital [...] Their motivation, their know-how, their capacity to innovate and their attention to clients’ desires constitute the raw material of innovative services [...] Their behavior, their social and emotional competence, are a growing factor in the evaluation of their work [...] This will no longer be evaluated in terms of number of hours on the job, but on the basis of objectives attained and quality of results. They are entrepreneurs.”
The series of tasks that can’t be delegated to automation form a nebulous cluster of jobs that, because they cannot be occupied by machines, are occupied by any old human – warehousemen, stock people, assembly line workers, seasonal workers, etc. This flexible, undifferentiated workforce that moves from one task to the next and never stays long in a business can no longer even consolidate itself as a force, being outside the center of the production process and employed to plug the holes of what has not yet been mechanized, as if pulverized in a multitude of interstices. The temp is the figure of the worker who is no longer a worker, who no longer has a trade – but only abilities that he sells where he can – and whose very availability is also a kind of work. "
Quote from The Coming Insurrection.
Music: Örsten Adagio Sostenuto