Why Utopia Never Arrived: Three Reasons

Whatever happened to the expectation that the cybernetic revolution would lead to shorter work and self-realisation? Just as we all know that the paperless office simply wasn’t, we also know that the net result of infotech has been the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs and even customer enquiries to Asia, plus the conversion of the employee into what past centuries would have called the “retainer”, available round the clock (“You rang, sir?”) and owing total loyalty (but, unlike his feudal predecessor, not receiving any in return).

Why was everyone wrong? The optimism rested on three misapprehensions. First, Maslow was quite wrong about people’s need or even wish for “self-realisation”, whatever that means. Above gratification on the pyramid is only undeserved self-esteem. Second, we forgot all about Their need to keep Us busy enough to prevent the possibility of reflection. Third, productivity is not nearly as important to our masters as we thought. There is something that they want far more than they want increments in efficiency, nay, far more even than profit. The reptile brains of our employers get off on watching hard work done by others. It does not need to be profitable or even rational work, as long as it is visible work done for your benefit – which tells our masters that they have arrived and are now high-status reptiles.

Posted on June 5, 2012 at 18:43 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE ENSLAVING MAMMAL, From Free To Unfree Labour

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