By Daniel Cohen
The "modern instances" of the early 20th century observed the increase of the meeting line and the assumption that standardization could make the realm a greater position. but in addition to higher creation potency got here dehumanization, because the department of work created many roles requiring senseless repetition instead of unsleeping involvement with paintings. In our personal glossy instances, a related revolution has been wrought by way of info expertise. In Our sleek occasions, Daniel Cohen lines the roots of this revolution again to the uprisings of 1968, while the formative years of the industrialized global rejected the bourgeois values in their mom and dad and the overall state of affairs of the staff. scholars raised within the anti-establishment tradition of the Nineteen Sixties have been capable of shatter the area of standardization created by way of their mom and dad. through the top of the 20th century, details expertise had created decentralized paintings buildings that inspired autonomy and private initiative. yet with this larger flexibility got here the psychic rigidity and burnout of "24/7." Cohen explores the various ways in which the hot expertise has replaced our paintings and private lives, our very conceptions of kinfolk and group. He argues compellingly that the current period represents a revolution that would be accomplished purely while the significance of human capital is not any longer overshadowed by way of the cost-saving efficiencies demanded by means of monetary capital.
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Extra info for Our modern times : the new nature of capitalism in the information age (Nos temps modernes)
In their everyday life, they travel much less, they eat however they can in airplanes. . ” Indeed, according to this study, managers take on responsibility that in the past was shared by three to five people. In effect, they themselves are subject to the narrowing of hierarchical structures, and the physical and (especially) mental price they pay often results in a shortened career. Their fortunes made, they stop working earlier and earlier (often to become consultants). What makes this intensification of work particularly difficult stems from the fact that it does not keep each of the various tasks thereafter done by the same person from remaining quite specialized.
3 A typical way to approach consumption is to consider it motivated by the desire to do better than or at least as well as one’s neighbors—to do “like the Joneses,” in the words of the consumption theorist James Duesenberry. As much as the satisfaction of this desire is “possible” (that is, as much as individual destinies remain tied by a common dynamic), the consumer society appeases the frustrations it creates. But what will happen if the inequalities widen? What can the individual do if the Joneses get ahead of him or her?
Similarly, workers 26 Chapter 2 must click from one task to another. 1 The specialization of the Fordist world is being supplanted by polyvalence. Paradoxes of Clicking To grasp this new nature of work, let us first return to what Adam Smith said of the division of work in general. For the author of The Wealth of Nations, the main source of worker productivity is the specialization of tasks. 3 Taking an example from the university, imagine a researcher who limited his or her knowledge to a very thin slice of material—for example, the history of Burnout 27 France in the first half of 1789.
Our modern times : the new nature of capitalism in the information age (Nos temps modernes) by Daniel Cohen