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Hard times and the "fact" and "fancy" of modern labour management

journal contribution
posted on 2015-12-01, 00:00 authored by Keith Abbott
Dickens believed that, played out in practical terms, the pursuit of a totally rationalised society devoid of ‘Fancy’ only served to benefit those in power to the impoverishment of those in their charge. He was appalled by a selfish and self-interested philosophy that combined with laissez-faire capitalism to reduce human effort to mere numbers for the sole purpose of determining its monetary worth. His story thus provides a rebuke to the dehumanising effects of utilitarianism and the way it is used to calculate workers in the manner of machines; reducing them to little more than a resource that is no more or less important any other resource used in industrial enterprise. Their modern-day counterparts live in similar Hard Times in being in the grip of laissez-fair economics of global proportions, which visits upon them similar conceptions of their worth, as evidenced by the current precariousness of their employment and their present exposure to the vicissitudes of arbitrary power exercised by managements still wedded to utilitarian principles. As a result, the ‘light of Fancy’ that at one time would periodically burst through in earnest storms of protest, is now refracted into cynical asides directed at rational systems that continue to standardise and homogenise all that ‘counts’ in working life.

History

Journal

Macrotheme review

Volume

4

Issue

7

Season

Winter

Pagination

53 - 61

Publisher

Macrotheme Capital Management

Location

Austin, Tex.

ISSN

2379-9765

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2015, Macrotheme Capital Management

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