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Monday, December 31, 2012

The Corporation in the Early Twentieth Century

"The drawbacks of corporate life are more difficult to specify yet just as pervasive. The need to get on by pleasing others in ways that you don't quite understand, the sense of being watched to see if you are measuring up, the ludicrous yet intense jealousies over cars, furniture, and office space and pay, all contributed to a kind of enervating paranoia. In the world of the corporation there was no such thing as simply doing a job well - you must be either rising or falling within the organization. Management of companies was based on fostering low-level fear among staff, the result being a peculiar mixture of individual ambition and corporate conformity - you stayed safe and got on by second-guessing what others wanted, and by adhering to some never-quite-defined corporate code. Adherence to the corporation became a necessary part of workers' psychology, even if they disliked their jobs; conformity became the price of security."

- Roger Osborne (in the book Civilization