By Colin Jenkins / hamptoninstitution.org / Jan 19, 2017
Bosses don’t grow on trees. They don’t magically appear at your job. They aren’t born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions of power within organizational hierarchies. They possess no natural or learned talents, and they are not tried and tested through any type of meritocratic system. Rather, they gravitate to these positions of authority by consciously exhibiting attributes that make them both controllable and controlling – being punctual, highly conformist, placing a premium on appearance, knowing how to talk sternly without saying much of anything, blessed with the ability to bullshit.
Hierarchies aren’t natural phenomena within the human race. Outside of parenting, human beings aren’t born with the inclination to be ruled, controlled, “managed,” and “supervised” by other human beings. Hierarchies are artificial constructs designed to serve a purpose. They are a necessity within any society that boasts high degrees of wealth and power inequities. They are a necessity for maintaining these inequities and ensuring they are not challenged from below. They exert control, conformity, and stability within a broader society that is characterized by artificial scarcity, widespread insecurity, unfathomable concentrations of wealth and power, and extreme inequality. Without such control, these societies would unravel from within as human beings would naturally seek autonomy and more control over their lives and the lives of their loved ones – control that would amount to nothing more than the ability to fulfill basic needs.
Despite the artificial and arbitrary nature of both bosses and hierarchies, they persist. They dominate our days from the time we wake until the time we go to sleep. They control our lives, our livelihoods, and our ability to acquire food, clothing, shelter, and all that is necessary to merely survive. If we do not subject ourselves to them, we run the risk of starving, being homeless, and being unable to clothe or feed our children. Despite this, we seldom examine them, seldom question their existence or purpose, and seldom consider a life without them.
Capitalism, Hierarchies, and “Management”
“People stopped being people in 1913. That was the year Henry Ford put his cars on rollers and made his workers adopt the speed of the assembly line. At first, workers rebelled. They quit in droves, unable to accustom their bodies to the new pace of the age. Since then, however, the adaptation has been passed down: we’ve all inherited it to some degree, so that we plug right into joy-sticks and remotes, to repetitive motions of a hundred kinds.”
– Jeffrey Eugenides
The Contradictions and Inefficiencies within Hierarchies
“Maybe it is not a coincidence that, even in heaven, under the perspective of the Bible, there is a hierarchy. After all, what better way to impose the “benefits” of accepting the power of a hierarchy in the human mind?”
– Miguel Reynolds Brandao
Corporate Doublespeak, Contrived Leadership, and Insecurity
“Corporations are totalitarian institutions. Board of directors at the top of managers give orders, everyone follows orders. At the very bottom of command, if you are lucky you can rent yourself to it and get a job, and if you are sufficiently propagandized you may even buy some of the junk they produce and so on.”
– Noam Chomsky
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WARNING!! Lots of words..