Friday, February 4, 2011

Controlling the People (1): On the Job

New World Notes News
Vol. 4, No. 6 -- February 4, 2011

This week in New World Notes, radio program #153, February 8, 2011

Controlling the People (1):
On the Job

TV classic: Lucy and Ethel on the assembly line
at the chocolate factory.
(Click on arrow to play).

Executive summary [sic]

This week we look at control of workers on the job. We focus on the system of Fredrick Winslow Taylor, the industrial efficiency expert who discovered how to improve productivity by de-skilling workers, reducing their power in the workplace, and assigning to each a very limited, repetitive task. Taylor, as much as Henry Ford, is the father of the modern workplace--offices as well as factories.

This is the first in an occasional series of programs on social control.

Top: Taylorism has shaped American offices as well as factories.
Bottom: Factory scene from a performance of The Pajama Game.
Most graphics: Click to enlarge.

Notes, credits, & links

Most of this week's audio was taken from the recent video documentary Human Resources (Metanoia Films). The complete, 2-hour video is available online. Thanks to Robin Upton and his program Unwelcome Guests for bringing this documentary to light.

Additional music this week from the musical comedy, The Pajama Game (first performed 1954):

  • Time-Study Man (program intro)
  • Racing With the Clock

New World Notes is produced under the auspices (Latin for "Freedom of Information Act") of WWUH-FM, a community service of that beacon of light in darkest Connecticut, the University of Hartford.

You can listen to any installment of New World Notes online or else download it (as an mp3 audio file) for later listening. The show is archived at both and (from #90 onwards) The Internet Archive. Either link should get you a reverse-chrono listing of available installments. Or browse the show's Web site: Each installment has a page, and each page has links to the recorded audio.

Series overview: Political and social commentary in a variety of genres. Exploring the gap between what we want ... and what they're trying to make us settle for.

Click to enlarge.

Coming soon (Tuesday air debut date shown)

  • February 15 -- Food, Part 3. Some bizarre effects of a bizarre agribusiness system.
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