Another interesting bit from The New Ruthless Economy about the transition from a Taylorism of the body to a Taylorism of the mind. It’s important that we see algorithmic and quantified control in this longer-term historical context. From loc 1382-1390:
Ford and Taylor were mostly intent on controlling the bodily movements of workers tied to machine shops and assembly lines. But today’s scientific managers are trying also to control the minds of their white-collar employees. That is what the whole superstructure of control, scripting, and surveillance along the digital assembly lines is designed signed to achieve. Here are the outlines of a project truly Orwellian in its ambitions. The project is to develop technologies that are essentially human-proof in their operation, technologies whose control over employee behavior is so powerful that, no matter how ill trained, alienated, or transient a workforce may be, technology can still be relied upon to deliver strong and improving levels of employee productivity. No other hypothesis can account for the call center industry’s surreal and chilling combination tion of employee exploitation combined with hyperimmersion in information formation technology. With this technology the employee’s managers apparently believe that they can keep employees working flat out, pushing ing aside the employee’s knowledge in favor of scripts and databases, and relying on technology’s all-seeing eye to detect and contain manifestations festations of employee discontent.