September 8, 2009

Video review: Gilbreth time motion, social condition series 3

Taylorism and Scientific Management.

In this film, Gilbreth shows how more productivity can be made by doing as few motions as possible. Gilbreth (actually both of them as they were married) were early pioneers of time motion studies. The book and movies Cheaper by the Dozen were based on the family of the Gilbreths.

What was at first an idea of simply finding the easiest and best way to do a work process, became a hated and feared management style in the wrong hands of greedy capitalists along with other ideas like Fordism and assembly line speed-ups. It became not an easy way to do things, but a way to de-humanize and control workers to produce so fast that they could barely stop to scratch or rub one's eyes for fear of falling behind.

This film was made in the era of scientific management, and the drive for efficiency.
Taylor's methods were mentioned by Lenin is his book, Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government. Later, the Five Years plans of Stalin also were influenced by faith in progress by science and technology as was common both in communist and capitalist systems.

The dystopic novel Brave New World takes these ideas to the extreme, predicting that capitalism with it's drive for efficiency would plan, control every aspect of life on the planet for the sake of the economy.

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