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Guest Post: The Knowledge Economy's Two Classes of Workers

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The knowledge economy has important implications for both workers and organizations.

 
Setting aside that our economy is by and large organized to benefit a State-financial Elite and the technocrat Caste that serves them, let's consider the two classes of worker in what Peter Drucker labeled the Knowledge Economy in his 1993 book Post-Capitalist Society.
 
At the risk of simplifying Drucker's nuanced account, here is a precis:
 
The Marxist class division of labor vs. capitalist/management no longer adequately describes the new economy, as knowledge workers own "the means of production" which is first and foremost knowledge. Corporations and government offer an organization within which workers can apply their knowledge (i.e. the means of production in a knowledge economy).
 
Since the new economy is no longer characterized by capital vs. labor, it is a post-capitalist economy.
 
Knowledge workers are a minority of the workforce; the majority are service workers, either skilled or low-skilled.
 
Economist Robert B. Reich divides the workforce into similar categories: "symbolic analysts" (knowledge workers) and two classes of service workers: "routine producers" and "in-person servers."
 
Since the service workers own and leverage less capital (knowledge), their ability to create surplus value and thereby demand high wages is intrinsically lower than the knowledge workers.
 
This creates a structural tension, as society has to establish a way to maintain the wages of the service workers in an economy where the value and income they can generate by their labor is capped.
 
Let's be clear about one thing: it is misplaced nostalgia to pine for the "good old days" of high-paying but soul-deadening factory jobs. Fully 40 years ago, workers were already rebelling against the yoke of rigid machine-driven production: 1970-1972: General Motors, the Lordstown struggle and the real crisis in production:
 

The other root cause of our present difficulties with the workforce might be termed a general lowering of employees' frustration tolerance.Many employees, particularly the younger ones, are increasingly reluctant to put up with factory conditions. Despite the significant improvements we've made in the physical environment of our plants. Because they are unfamiliar with the harsh economic facts of earlier years, they have little regard for the consequences if they take a day or two off.

For many, the traditional motivations of job security, money rewards, and opportunity for personal advancement are proving insufficient.

Large numbers of those we hire find factory life so distasteful they quit after only brief exposure to it. The general increase in real wage levels in our economy has afforded more alternatives for satisfying economic needs.

There is also, again especially among the younger employees, a growing reluctance to accept a strict authoritarian shop discipline. This is not just a shop phenomenon, rather is a manifestation in our shops of a trend we see all about us among today's youth.

More money, time and effort than ever before must now be expended in recruiting and acclimatising our quality control programs have been put to severe tests; large numbers of employees remain unmoved by all attempts to motivate them; and order in the plants is being maintained with rising difficulty.

That this is not simply a bosses' problem was expressed by youthful Gary Bryner, President of the Lordstown local of the UAW (July 25, 1972):
 

There are symptoms of the alienated worker in our plant-- the absentee rate, as you said, has gone continually higher. Turnover rate is enormous. The use of alcohol and drugs is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. So has apathy within our union movement towards union leaders and towards the Government ... (The worker) has become alienated to the point where he casts off the leadership of his union, his Government... He is disassociated with the whole establishment.

Here's the key quote from this excellent historical essay:
 
Modern capitalism can, by and large, cope with the traditional type of economic problem, for instance those dealt with by Marx, it can continue to develop production. It is in difficulties, however, when confronted with a massive resistance to its values, priorities and whole pattern of authority.
 
In the traditional labor vs. capital framework, we expect the resistance to come from labor; in the knowledge economy, that resistance is arising from those who own and control the means of production, the knowledge workers themselves.
 
This has important implications for corporations, non-profit organizations and government alike. In Drucker's view, "Every organization has to build in organized abandonment of everything it does. Increasingly, organizations will have to plan abandonment rather than try to prolong the life of a successful policy, practice or product."
 
In other words, creative destruction is the necessary result of constant, purposeful innovation. Any organization which fails to do so will become obsolete. The same can be said of those providing the knowledge capital to the organizations, the knowledge workers.
 
One consequence that none dare speak is the absolute reduction of any functional need for layers of management, or anything resembling traditional management.The Internet is a tool for eliminating management, along with generally needless/useless meetings and the other sources of unproductive friction in modern corporate and government organizations.
 

Management exists to minimize the problems created by its own hiring mistakes.Valve says the secret of their management-free environment is hiring good people. That sounds right to me. We don't have any weak contributors in our start-up so we have never felt a need for management.
One of the interesting aspects of better global communications, better access to information, and better mobility is that collectively it reduces the risk of making hiring mistakes. When employers were limited to hiring people who lived nearby, and the only information at their disposal was lie-filled resumes, every growing company would necessarily absorb a lot of losers. But now that entrepreneurs can hire the best people from anywhere in the world, we have for the first time in human history the ability to create teams so capable they require no management structure. That's new.

I think the manager-free model only works for a business that has high margins and depends more on creating hits than cutting costs. The videogame business fits that model, as do many Internet businesses. And in both cases entrepreneurs can hire from anywhere in the world.

So here's my summary: Management only exists to compensate for its own poor hiring decisions. The Internet makes it easier to locate and then work with capable partners. Therefore, the need for management will shrink - at least for some types of businesses - because entrepreneurs have the tools to make fewer hiring mistakes in the first place.

Management won't entirely go away, but as technology makes it easier to form competent teams without at least one disruptive or worthless worker in the group, the need for management will continue to decline.

Even organizations based on rigid command hierarchies such as the U.S. military are finding that decentralized command decisions based on proximity to information flow, field intelligence and detailed knowledge of local assets trump sclerotic centralized command structures in getting demonstrable results.
 
If this is true in sprawling bureaucracies, it is certainly true in smaller organizations.
This is the economy that every worker has to understand if they want to navigate it to their own benefit. Every enterprise and organization that wants the most productive workers has to understand that their task is not "managing labor," it is offering workers of all levels opportunities to be effective and to contribute.
 
In my view, each worker is an enterprise, and the less time, energy and money wasted on management and friction, the more time and energy there will be for wealth creation or value creation, and as a result, more money available for wages.
 
For more on this topic, please read The Ten Best Employers To Work For (March 28, 2013).

Via correspondent Rui N.P.: America: A Nation of Permanent Freelancers and Temps.

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Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:09 | 3389517 CH1
CH1's picture

How about this: Hierarchy Sucks.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:38 | 3389593 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing that you don't put a tomato in a fruit salad.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:43 | 3389605 DJ Happy Ending
DJ Happy Ending's picture

Learn to code bitchez

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:43 | 3389779 lewy14
lewy14's picture

The productivity of the media coder is negative.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 19:32 | 3389889 ACP
ACP's picture

The author forgot the third category of worker; separate government from the other two, because it's neither knowledge nor service.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 21:18 | 3390273 spinone
spinone's picture

Bullshit.  I doubt you have ever interacted with a high level of government.  The pople at that level are hard working and brilliant.  The scary thing is that they have so much power, if they are bad people they can do really bad things.  But good people at a high level of government can do good things.

I know that its really popular to bash government right now, especially on ZH.  But remember that government workers are silently toiling away on fiber optic networks, transportation networks, communications protocols, 911 systems,, food inspection programs, and hundered of other programs that keep us all safe and healthy and make modern life possible.

Much of what the public sector does are essential services that the private sector abandoned because they couldn't figure out how to make a profit at it.  Thats why government costs money and doesn't make money.  The money making operations are done by the private sector.  Government is for managing the essential services that are money losers.

If you think government is a waste or the private sector can do everything that modern society requires, you need to grow up. 

Then there is graft and corruption, but that discussion if for another day

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 22:07 | 3390462 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

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Fri, 03/29/2013 - 22:08 | 3390466 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Talk about bullshit. 

Much of what the public sector does are essential services that the private sector abandoned because they couldn't figure out how to make a profit at it.

Government took over control of these services and parcelled them out to well connected friends. The reason many services weren't provided was because they would have bankrupted the owner. Guess what, now it just bankrupts all of us through ridiculous tax structures that have demoilished a capable economy.

If government really cared what I thought, they would force me to pay for their brilliant policy. Governments are tyrants, they steal, murder and destroy through selective application of law, undeclared war, 9/11 false flags, poisoning water and food supplies, and those inspectors and other regulators you tout? The ones that are on the dole, giving Americans a false sense of food security or financial security.

You are a spineless fool and government troll to boot. Fuck off. You may love tyranny, but I prefer to kick it in the face. There is no good reason for government, with the possible exception of some organized defensive security. Every thing else is a paen to slavery.

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 06:54 | 3391013 Helvetico
Helvetico's picture

Yeah, man, we should get rid of the Federal Aviation Administration right away! They're just tyrants preventing airplane disasters that would "streamline" the airlines. What about the Coast Guard and all their needless, tyrannical rescues of boaters? What about the interstate highway system? The fucking Internet? Those suck pretty badly, too, don't they? Let's not forget about NOAA and the The National Hurricane Center...who the fuck needs forecasts, huh? You're a fucking moron if you can't structure a reasoned argument about the pros AND cons of the federal government. Like most of life, it's more complicated than you make it out to be, so you focus singlemindedly on one side of the argument, just like a religious fanatic, and froth at the mouth...just as ludicrously and inneffectively as one. 

 

Now go fuck off to the hills, Unabomber-style, and leave the sane folks alone.

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 08:44 | 3391121 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

What,  private airports cannot provide air traffic control? Did the FAA catch the Boeing battery problem? Pilots and airlines don't have an incentive to keep the skies safe?. 

Stateless societies would have to maintain some degree of defense, but again, it would never require the overbloated military industrial complex we have today. Intersate highway system? You mean the socialization of costs? Who profits from the system? Transportation industries and business. Why shouldn't they pay to build and maintain it? The NOAA and Hurricane center are useless. They can tell you a hurricane may be forming or a tornado is coming, but they can do nothing to stop it. If the service is worthwhile, people will pay for it and provide it.

The point your missing, is government doesn't give you a choice. It merely creates new services and charges you, whether you want them or not- regardless of the expense or cost to the economy. There are thousands of wonderful services a government could provide: universal massages, free vacations, free food and wine at exclusive restaurants. Unfortunately, it all involves costs, costs that a private economy would have put the brakes on before they started. There is a reason we have excessive debt levels, we can't afford what the government provides, so we all pay a treendous cost in lost productivity, lost capital and interest.

Further, to provide all these great services you need the power of coercion. So, along with your list of wonderful services we get the police state, military imperialism, taxation that precludes property ownership, education to enhance the State, mass propaganda through media and fiancial market manipulation.

There is nothing complicated about it. Some people, like yourself appear to love the drudgery of slavery that is guaranteed by strong central government. Scared little children that are incapable of facing the world without their big brother government. What's the matter? Can't handle a little personal responsibility and true liberty?

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 09:44 | 3391187 spooz
spooz's picture

Would "putting the brakes on" include raising tolls on the privately owned roads? So what if the unemployed peasants can't afford to travel to the minimum wage job because their discretionary funds must pay for private food supply, private education and private health care? You'll be okay if you can spring for private security with your discretionary funds to keep them at bay when they become desperate.

Fuck your version of liberty for the oligarchs.

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 10:01 | 3391208 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Every gallon of gas is taxed to pay for those roads. Your minimum wage worker is already paying a toll, it may in fact be higher than if he were charged one. You don't think the minimum wage earner deosn't pay for police protection already? In property tax or as part of their rent? Registration fees on cars, etc.

You assume minimum wage workers GET healthcare, what if they don't? The cost of government has raised the price of heathcare to outrageous heights, well beyond what a private system would cost. Private education could end up being cheaper and of better content, allowing the student to customize their education to meet their needs and wants. Further, what right do you have to take money from me to pay for these entitlements? Who made you the CFO of America? 

The Constitution guarantees our right to private property- this means property the government cannot compromise, yet no one is allowed private property in America. It is all subject to confiscation through requisite taxation. The worker is still taxed on what they purchase, on income and for other taxes. This further diminishes their income. 

We haven't even begun to analyse the effects of socialism on an economy and how it results in debt slavery. Your inability to analyze the effects of government is telling of a government education. 

Trying to smear me with a label fo oligarch is laughable. Get a better argument.

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 12:19 | 3391492 spooz
spooz's picture

I see more danger in "free markets" becoming monopolies than you do, where bottom line is all that matters. I see our country is moving in the direction of more privatization, with a global corporate oligarchy running the show with no reason to provide anything but crumbs to the local labor units. The monopolies they will have over the roads will allow them to charge whatever the market will bear, with special pricing for their partners. 

We've had many years of private health care, and it has resulted in insurance monopolies who are so strong their lobbyists managed to keep the status quo intact while denying us a public option. The health care system is increasingly owned by  private rent seeking interests (insurance, corporate health care, Big Pharma) instead of exploring the VA model for a lower cost public option.  So privitization becomes a monopoly where providing health care is more about denying claims to lower costs than it is about providing low cost, effective health care.

Where in the world do you see a system of private education working for anybody but the haves, as a method of legitimizing their claims to their rightful place in the meritocracy?  The main complaint is that teachers are earning too much.  How about we just automate education and eliminate that job category, too?  Why should any worker unit earn anything more than minimum wage?

As far as private property goes, get a clue sucker.  The oligarchs are ending up with all the marbles while the peasants drown in debt. They've become so powerful they own the legislature.  Inequality isn't discussed, because its the hidden agenda of neolibs.

 

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 14:28 | 3391827 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

What you need to learn to "see" is government's hand in those monopolies, governments's influence through regulation that protects industries. This isn'r free markets, it's crony capitalism. It is government that creates barriers to entry and a lack of competition.

Healthcare ceased being private with the creation of the AMA. A private cartel was allowed to dictate standards of care and who would provide it, courtesy of government. Education is mandatory, nothing free market about fascism. Government determines the curriculum, the quality of education and the length of time. Unions create additional inefficiencies and costs that burden us with ourless than stellar system (you do follow global ratings of education systems?)

You are as clueless as they get. The Elites end up with all the marbles, because people like you defend their system of debt slavery. Government is just a tool to control the masses and you have bought it hook. line and sinker. You recognize they own the legislature ( remember to include the executive and judicial branches), how can you look to the government for help? 

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 15:47 | 3392015 spooz
spooz's picture

I see SIZE as being the barrier to functioning free markets.  Do you really think that further deregultion of the predatory financial sysem will end rule by banksters?  Government regulations still function as a pesky nuisance that slows down the looting. 

I agree the AMA has a hand in keeping the cost of health care more expensive, its another example of crony capitalism bought by those who wish to extract as much rent as possible from the system.  They lobbied against a public option, which the rest of the developed world has been able to deliver in a comparitively cheaper and more efficient manner.

As for education, I like to look at real world models.  The Pearson Report on developed world educational systems finds Finland's 100% state funded system to be the best.  Not a single model for the libertarian utopia of "free market" education in the developed world, but lets take a chance on the next generation and give the corporations a try at it, right? 

Exactly what are you proposing as a restraint on monopolies, or is it all a hopey changey thing?

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 19:13 | 3392352 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Here's a free lesson in economics: there is nothing wrong with a monopoly, UNLESS IT IS PROTECTD BY GOVERNMENT. Why would a company grow to control an entire market? They provide a service or product that is at the best price possible. Otherwise, other would enter the market and begin to take market share. If the monopolist attempts to raise the price too high, the market finds substitutes and the monopoly fails.

However, if the monopoly is protected by government, then a monopolist can abuse the population, as the market can no longer exert any influence. 

You want to look to the State for examples of excellence, but I don't want State involvement. Now, why is your opinion any better than mine (and vice versa)? I could care less how good Finland's system is, I'm happy creating my own education system. However, the State doesn't allow voluntary compliance, they only function through force. How good is a system if compliance is via the barrel of a gun?

Believe it or not, the market is completely capable of regulating ALL ACTORS. However, we have more regulations than people can read, how well has all that regulation worked? MF Global, JPM, HBC, LIBOR, Madoff, etc Regulations are the means by which special actors get special access to markets.

There is every reason to try something else and every historical reason to try something else. Most important: THERE ARE NO PERFECT SYSTEMS, every system has problems and challenges, but this one has obviously failed, how do you expect a failed system to succeed? 

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 19:40 | 3392465 spooz
spooz's picture

Why WOULDN'T a company want to grow big enough to control an entire market? Once they are big enough they have the staying power to kill any competitors who try to cut prices, using cartels if necessary.  LIBOR price fixing is a good example of how the modern day monopoly of Too Bigs has control of entire markets with no oversight.  When the financial markets are fixed, there is no free market where bids and offers create a price.  How do you expect anybody but the oligarchs to benefit from a system that seeks to extract rents from every corner of the economy?

Besides economies of scale, the monopolist has deep pockets for capital expenditures that can also contribute to techological superiority and control of natural resources.  As the honey flows up, other anticompetitive actions can be taken, like dumping or price fixing.  Concentration of wealth allows monopolies to become powerful enough to make life miserable for the 99% while the economic royalists feed the propaganda machine, talking about liberty.

 

 

 

 

 

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 20:12 | 3392534 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Of course a company would like to grow. What is wrong with that? Especially if it results in a good product at a fair price? However, it never CONTROLS the market, it participates and if unprotected, is always subject to market discipline.

But there has been oversight. Lots of oversight by multiple agencies on two continents. Free markets are NOT a function of government, but the lack of intervention that comes without government.

How will a system function without a profit motive and price determination. This is the purpose for rent seeking. Why should a person employ you if they cannot profit from it? Why should they risk their wealth?

Simple question: would you pay too much for a product? I can't make it any simpler than that. This is why a monopoly without the ability to raise barriers via state intervention or the ability to force the use of its' product via State intervention will always fail. There can be short term benefits, but it cannot be sustained. The market will find new solutions. Apple exhibited technological superiority, how has that worked out? Just think how difficult it would have been without patents?

I can't give you an education in economics, but you can start with: "Man, Economy and State with Power and Markets" by Rothbard. pages 1143-44.

 

 

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 23:53 | 3392756 spooz
spooz's picture

Monopolies CAN and DO control markets when big enough, through the monopoly mechanisms I mentioned above, which you haven't addressed. 

To answer your question, if it comes to something I NEED, I will be FORCED to pay too much for a product when price gouging monopolies are the only ones providing it. They will use the anticompetitive methods I listed in my previous post, and others (link below)  In many parts of the country, there is only one health insurer available, and I am forced to buy (even without a mandate) if I don't want to be bankrupted should I have some bad luck.  Mergers and aquisitions have given these guardians of our health care system control over prices, which is why premiums keep outpacing inflation in the rest of the economy.

There is no reason to believe that the little guys will win out over the monopolies, as there is no example of the utopian free markets anywhere.  But you brainswashed Mises followers have faith that somehow the little guys will win if the big gubmint will just get out of the way.  Sorry, but it doesn't even make intuitive sense, without a real world model.

Wake up. There is critical thinking going on outside your Mises reading list.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-competitive_practices

Sun, 03/31/2013 - 13:36 | 3393131 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Again. you are using an example where government intervention is involved. Insurance companies are controlled by government through a credentialling process that creates a high barrier to entry. Try again. Further, you attach the costs to the insurance industry, while ignoring the medical industry, pharmaceuticals and others that make up the total industry and thereby the total cost of insurance.

Another example of a monopoly is the FED. Total monopoly. Completely protected by government. Absolute barriers to entry and effects everyone in America more than ANY other industry. Want to talk about that monopoly?

A better example would be an industry so remote that it has to provide a company store and housing, much like coal miners suffered in the late 1880's and early 1900's. Still, they CHOSE to remain and live under those conditions. You can say they NEEDED the work, but that is a choice. 

Free markets are not utopian and they exist everywhere- we call them black markets and they function and supply goods and services when governments destroy markets. When governments intercede on pricing and amounts, these markets see opportunity and goods get re-routed to supply demands at real market prices. 

You big governmentt people are so brainwashed, you think fascism is freedom. You think government is helping you, while they destroy the value of your labor through dollar inflation, poison your food supply through preference for industry players, kill your children in unending wars and destroy your meager wealth through taxation. To be so thick, that when faced with the obvious, you continue to rail against what your government has created and maintained and call it private monopoly is why propaganda is so successful.

What you should be asking yourself is WHY you don't see free markets, but see government intervention in every industry. It isn't because of natural monopolies, it is because industries that were once the largest players in their segments wanted to decrease competition and they could do that by using government regulation. Continuous competition is hard, controlling government is much easier.

There obviously isn't any critical thinking going on in your neighborhood at all.

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 08:59 | 3391145 de3de8
de3de8's picture

Helvet,
Yeah, that's all that gov't controls!

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 10:04 | 3391216 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Yeah.  Without the FAA the airlines would let their $200 million dollar planes crash every day. 

 

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:46 | 3389612 akak
akak's picture

Knowledge is knowing that the beet masquerades as a vegetable.

Wisdom is running the fuck away from it.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:59 | 3389638 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Knowledge is a bunch of scientists in a lab working for Monsanto... Wisdom is telling them to fuck off...

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:07 | 3389670 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

  You're an articulate man F_S.  That one liner was absolute perfection!

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:39 | 3389760 Henry Hub
Henry Hub's picture

***Knowledge is a bunch of scientists in a lab working for Monsanto... Wisdom is telling them to fuck off...***

Well try telling Monsanto to fuck off is probably going to land you in a heap of legal problems especially if you're a small time farmer. The Monsanto Protection Act has just been passed.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/03/28-6

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 20:52 | 3390127 mkhs
mkhs's picture

An illegal law is not a law.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:27 | 3389723 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

knowledge is knowing that you deposit your paycheck into a bank.

wisdom is knowing that you don't leave it there.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 21:24 | 3390289 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

 

If this is true in sprawling bureaucracies, it is certainly true in smaller organizations. This is the economy that every worker has to understand if they want to navigate it to their own benefit. Every enterprise and organization that wants the most productive workers has to understand that their task is not "managing labor," it is offering workers of all levels opportunities to be effective and to contribute.
Except government where creating as many managerial positions as possible is required to absorb all the useless spawn of the big contributors.  The apparatchik class cannot ever truly be done away with as long as it greases the cash flow to politicians pockets.

FORWARD SOVIET!

 

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 19:45 | 3389919 masterinchancery
masterinchancery's picture

The Brits won the naval war against Napolean because their Captains "knew how to disobey orders" and frequently did so. Same in business--rigid heirarchy equals Death.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:10 | 3389518 Go Tribe
Go Tribe's picture

Each worker is an enterprise? Yeah, right. That sounds like it's coming from a "guru." What's a fuckin' enterprise???

Americans today would kill for those old factory jobs.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:11 | 3389682 Coke and Hookers
Coke and Hookers's picture

I've never subscribed to this knowledge / non-knowledge worker distinction. Knowledge is easily available and everybody can access it more or less but the worker class that dictates how advanced society can be is the group that can actually learn and solve problems. I'm surrounded with university educated people with plenty of knowledge but zero ability to solve problems. They often become drones in support functions in companies where they perform assigned roles like monkeys - when they are not attending some stupid conventions pretending to be cutting edge in their 'fields'. The people who can actually sort shit out and solve problems are few and far between. They are either at the absolute top in the company hierarchy or in senior specialist jobs. The middle manager levels and lower level specialists are often at the end of their ability regardless of their 'knowledge'. This applies to any organization, even software firms where maybe 90% are code writing robots and 10% actually design the software.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:26 | 3389719 The Abstraction...
The Abstraction of Justice's picture

I can write novels and screenplays in comparison to the legions of literary critics who write nothing, yet I am barely recognized. The people at the top were give money by their parents, or from the State, for selling out. This includes writers. Most of the best seller list is torture porn, murder porn and immigration porn. When it is is not such porn, it is invariably ghost written celebrity biography chaff. We do not live in a meritorious age.

 

There is no such thing as a code writing robot. Every programmer without significant creative or analytic ability does not write code, they write bugs.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:30 | 3389737 Coke and Hookers
Coke and Hookers's picture

"We do not live in a meritorious age."

That's putting it mildly. We live in an age that worships vacuity in all its forms.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:59 | 3389809 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

In philosophy/economics terms, that would be "capital" winning the battle against "labor"....  you can try and church up the age old distinctions, but they still ring true...  at some point, the infrastructure becomes so captured that innovation is corrupted and stolen.  The author has been able to pinpoint industries that act to the contrary, but fails to acknowledge that this is the exception and not the rule.  The internet CAN cure much of what ails us, but like all mechanisms, it too can be corrupted and compromised...  or, to put it another way, owned.

Real, tangible innovation is few and far between...  the knowledge producers the author espouses are really just "peers" to existing entrenched power...  it isn't that folks at the top of the chain can't produce in the same way, it's just that they've largely moved past it at this point, given rent seeking is vastly more efficient or other endeavors simply pay more.  This is what our society incentivizes...

It's also really strange to draw a distinction between mechanisms that have already been described ad nauseum for centuries (at least)...  because the internet comes along, we need to invent new terms for workers?  We need to ignore cycles that happen over and over and over again?  It stinks to high hell of someone desperate for an academic schtick.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:51 | 3389803 Henry Hub
Henry Hub's picture

***10% actually design the software.***

I have worked in software development companies where the really bright developers are slowly pushed out by morons who are great at schmoozing and office politics but couldn't write a line of of code never mind design an application. The world is powered by bull shit.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:56 | 3389818 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

This is inevitable in every bureaucracy...  you have to be able to play the game if you want to succeed...  this is eventually why the sociopaths end up running the asylum.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 20:17 | 3389998 Clark Bent
Clark Bent's picture

In a free country, the workers are the knowledge. In the early summer of 1944 American GI's were met with the insoluble problem of French hedgerows making every half-acre plot into a squared-off mini-fortress that made a breakout of armor impossible. Before the upper-echelon geniuses had even grasped the problem, local GI's figured out that if you welded a "comb" of angle iron from the beach tank defenses onto a Sherman tank, you could take a run at a hedge and break through it. 

Free countries breed individuals who believe that it is their responsibility to save their own lives. The highly organized, rigidly heirarchical Germans were rarely as innovative. 

The so-called "knowledgeable" in this country are largely the caste that makes it to Ivy Leagu schools. They also share "progressive" slave minded solutions to what to do with all these unuseful persons. Real achievement is not much appreciated, only novelty itself. 

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 21:02 | 3390079 Coke and Hookers
Coke and Hookers's picture

The German army actually encouraged independent thinking in their frontline commanders and soldiers. Tactical decisions were usually made by commanders on site and initiative was rarely punished. The German army was probably the first to do this which is surprising considering how rigid German society was.

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 16:53 | 3392184 Hive Raid
Hive Raid's picture

Each worker is an enterprise. Absolutely.   I am the CEO of my little piece of the economy. I am my own business, with a single customer who furnishes me with a computer in their office, who loves me because I require no management.

 

As for the rest, interesting stuff to think about but it sounds like the thousand other "cutting edge perspective" articles delivered every month between glossy covers. Smile, your economy has been gutted and shipped offshore, so the only decent paying jobs are the professions and high-tech, which we will now call "knowledge workers". There is no capital left, so we will say that these skilled people are the capital; and by that formula, "the people" now hold the power. The revolution is a success comrades! No more evil bosses! ... no more jobs that will feed a family for the common man.

 

" Let's be clear about one thing: it is misplaced nostalgia to pine for the "good old days" of high-paying but soul-deadening factory jobs."

Few people have the intelligence and mental endurance to succeed as knowledge workers. The bulk of people need decent paying jobs where they can be productive by operating the capital--factory jobs. Now the bulk of people are permanently adrift on the open sea. This is a good thing if you hate the people of a country, as our ruling Jews do. Also, factory production is no less harrowing than retail work.

 

"Many employees, particularly the younger ones, are increasingly reluctant to put up with factory conditions. " - 1972

Factories' cultures can exhibit sufficient morale, if the pay and culture are adjusted properly. Japan succeeds. National culture is a primary factor which has not been mentioned here. By 1972, the second Jewish Bolshevik Revolution was well under way in America (the Jews murdered 20 million Russians with the first, less than a century ago), and traditional American culture was in disarray. By design, Americans were losing the sense that this was "their country", so willingness to endure for the collective good was diminished; compare that to factory productivity and morale during WWII (in which Jewish banks and media conned the people to enthusiastically engage in the bloodletting of their European brothers).

 

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:13 | 3389526 Vashta Nerada
Vashta Nerada's picture

I really don't see the kibbutz business model generating beaucoups of FCF.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:22 | 3389551 optionsman
optionsman's picture

this is such bullshit. knowledge is freely available. information is freely available. that has been the case over the last 20 years. are you suggesting that only 1-10% of our society is taking advantage of this freely available knowledge and information? the situation has never changed. those that own real assets and means of production is one of its kind they have faired very well in this post capitalist world. those that own just knowledge are a dime a dozen. and that knowledge's half life is about 10yrs at best as well.....

just saying.....

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:36 | 3389586 Diamond Jim
Diamond Jim's picture

nah...he's is suggesting that only 1-10% of the population has the capacity to take advantage of "freely available knowledge". Have you checked to see if high school kids today can read, write or interpret a simple sentence ??? Do they know anything about economics or science ???

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:14 | 3389690 Coke and Hookers
Coke and Hookers's picture

He should call it what it really is: Intelligence. Smart people run the show and keep the machine running. The less intelligent perform simpler duties regardless of their 'knowledge'.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:21 | 3389710 The Abstraction...
The Abstraction of Justice's picture

I know plenty of smart people with no money. The wealthly people I know were all born wealthy - either that or they are Politically Correct Zionist sell outs.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:24 | 3389718 Coke and Hookers
Coke and Hookers's picture

I know plenty of stupid people with shitload of money they 'earned' themselves. Most of them are either mildly sociopathic or total genetic sociopaths. It seems sociopathy is a real asset in the labor market these days ...

They tend to be bankers, real estate agents or in 'import/export'.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:30 | 3389733 The Abstraction...
The Abstraction of Justice's picture

I know the type, finances their business with drugs. Spend all day gambling with other people's money, then tell the world how wise they are when the ball lands on red.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:57 | 3389635 wee-weed up
wee-weed up's picture

Knowledge workers... service workers... skilled workers... low-skilled workers...

In the end, the government makes sure were all just serfs.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:56 | 3389821 Henry Hub
Henry Hub's picture

In the end, the oligarchy makes sure were all just serfs.

 

Fixed it for ya.

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:18 | 3389702 rbg81
rbg81's picture

I'm a college professor, and I can tell you that more connectivity does not necessarily increase knowledge.  Kids today have an almost infinite amount of information at their fingertips--instanctly accessible.  Yet the vast majority use it poorly, if at all.  They use electronic devices to create echo chambers where they can only communicate with their friends.   in some cases, they ignore what in front of their [physicial] face in favor of what's on the screen. It almost makes you want to cry to see so much capabilty and potential wasted.  Instead of creating a new generation of geniuses, we are creating a generation of idiots.  There are exceptions to this, and I really hope that I'm wrong, but its what I see.

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