Overworking: Post-Fordism: Part 2

by Beauchamp Art

Not all of those in a position go privilege are in support of a Post-Fordist approach that compartmentalises the whole life, not just the working day. Political figures including “German employment minister Andrea Nahles [are] considering new ‘anti-stress’ legislation, banning companies from contacting employees out of hours” [Stuart, 2014],  stating that “there is an undeniable relationship between constant availability and the increase of mental illness” [Nahles, 2014]. Though this may not be attributed exclusively to the concerns of employers for the wellbeing of their workers, or trades unions’ frequently-squandered efforts, but more a reaction to the reduced efficiency of over-worked employees. As A new study by Leerdammer found “the average British worker only takes 26 minutes and 28 seconds of lunch […] the missing time adding up to working an extra 19 unpaid days per year,” due to pressure of their workloads and to impress their bosses; nevertheless 22% admitted feeling less efficient as a result.  [i100, 2015]

Even the posthumous human may be exploited; as Dior’s recent decision to use the late Marilyn Monroe as their brand ambassador indicates how “death is no longer an obstacle when it comes to advertising” [Yossman, 2015]. The dead women forming the ideally “compliant, submissive and easily manipulated” form for antifeminist advertisers. Simultaneously evidencing how death itself is considered a weakness, rather than a necessary aspect of life; and digital reincarnations enables aspirational immortality to the select few; making for perpetual, undying, unpaid slave-labourers.

(To apply the Modernist practice of declaring the seat of a range of subjects) this computer use could be interpreted to mean that the Post-Fordist work ethic penetrates every aspect of life within reach of electricity and wi-fi: “in bed” – the death of sleep, “on the train” – the death of place, “in a bar” – the death of leisure, “in the air”, the death of escape, of nations, of the body and the move towards becoming post-Human.

The flightless land mammal of man now soars across the oceans in electronic telepathic-like connection with its fellow beings, for those of whom have the capital to afford plane tickets, tablet computers and internet subscriptions; the financial and power apartheid means evolution is only available to those with wealth, further perpetuating an international class system that transforms the first-third world distinctions into a technologically practiced eugenics.

Post-Fordism extends man’s capacity to divide itself into haves and have-nots on an even greater scale, as the difference in wealth across the world from the poorest to the lowest is astronomically. In a society what only values individuals on their ability to generate capital over all else (post-Industrial-Capitalism), then the meek inherit a scorched Earth, as those in privilege are launched into the sociological stratosphere; with any hope for a mutual understanding or comprehension of the ‘Other’ becoming increasingly impossible.

(As the mountain tops look over the desert in the superiority of benign disaffection, an un-empathic, machine-like aspiration for the death of humanity and its feeble emotions; while the desert gazes up in wonder and awe, derelict at its meagre status as the community of sand grains are lost to the wind, self-worth shattered and society is dead.)

Reinforcing new divisions based on the old, escalating Meritocratic self-assurance to deifying levels. Taking the arbitrary distinctions between the ‘ours’ and ‘theirs’ divisions, in which the “imaginative geography of the ‘our land – barbarian land’ variety does not require that the barbarians acknowledge this distinction” [Said, 1979: 54]. In other words, those in positions of (wealth/technological/power) privilege are able to define themselves against the ‘other’ to thereby assert their sense of sociological superiority.