What if we lived in an age where scientific reason and mathematical formulas ran our lives?
I can just imagine many of you nodding and thinking “…as it should be.”
But something happened to experience and instinct along the way. It wasn’t measurable, so it got tossed. Along with compassion and caring for individuals and appreciating the differences that make us a complex and rich society.
Over the years people have found it profitable to develop models of efficiency and to market them to different companies – even governments – in order to help those groups get “more bang for their buck”.
As example, in the 1920-40s (before he took his life after being accused as a Nazi sympathizer), Charles Bedaux developed a wage-incentive plan which measured productivity in Bedaux units – one unit indicating the work to be done by one man in one minute. A bonus was paid for work done in excess.
Campbell’s Soups, Kodak and General Electric were a few of the companies using his methods, which included detailed floor plans of how employees should move at their desks and on assembly lines in order to maximize their productivity.
His methods may have helped create a more efficient workforce, but they also eliminated innovation, genius and anything else the individual had to offer.
Bedaux wasn’t the only one, because companies are always looking for ways to squeeze that last penny out of their workers’ productivity. What is really unfortunate is that governments treat their skilled and professional people the same way, and we are the recipients of that method which recognizes nothing but “efficiency”.
We must recognize this conformity before we can deviate from it and be individuals once more.
Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal