By Daniel Cohen
The "modern instances" of the early 20th century observed the increase of the meeting line and the assumption that standardization may make the realm a greater position. but in addition to larger construction potency got here dehumanization, because the department of work created many roles requiring senseless repetition instead of wide awake involvement with paintings. In our personal glossy instances, a similar revolution has been wrought by means of info know-how. In Our sleek instances, Daniel Cohen lines the roots of this revolution again to the uprisings of 1968, whilst the adolescence of the industrialized international rejected the bourgeois values in their mom and dad and the overall state of affairs of the employees. scholars raised within the anti-establishment tradition of the Sixties have been capable of shatter the realm of standardization created via their mom and dad. via 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 numerous ways in which the recent expertise has replaced our paintings and private lives, our very conceptions of relatives and neighborhood. He argues compellingly that the current period represents a revolution that would be accomplished merely while the significance of human capital is not any longer overshadowed by way of the cost-saving efficiencies demanded through monetary capital.
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Additional resources for Our modern times : the new nature of capitalism in the information age (Nos temps modernes)
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. An executive who types her Burnout 31 own letters is no less specialized than her predecessor; she simply adds her work as a secretary to her work as an executive. We could thus say that the computer revolution imitates the reversal of the fallow at the dawn of the eighteenth century, when the peasants learned to rotate crops to avoid having to leave fields uncultivated every 3 years.
14 Curiously, the “humanistic” values behind May 1968 have not always been apparent to the people involved. This misunderstanding was most tragic for all those who came to establish themselves as workers in factories. They discovered that the workers resented their young bourgeois freedom. For the workers themselves, the uprisings were a question of rejecting factory work and the general situation of the worker. 15 We can even say that our “modern times” are born of these tears. The cinema, which showed what assembly-line tactics could do for industry, had the best view of these implications.
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? 4 Can we say that by the measure of this last criterion that the consumer society is in crisis? It is indisputable that the question of consumption arises in terms other than those that were apropos in the 1950s and the 1960s.