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  • You know the book 'End of Work'?

  • -Rifkin? -Rifkin, yes. Jeremy Rifkin said:

  • "Madagascar.... Certain islands produce vanilla flavor.

  • It's one of the most popular flavors for ice-cream and candy.

  • They get about $25 a pound for vanilla

  • but it takes a lot of nurturing and work."

  • A scientific group began to make vanilla

  • synthetic vanilla, same atomic structure.

  • They can make it for about $3 a pound

  • versus $25. That's going to wipe out all the island's survivors

  • the farmers, you understand, in Madagascar.

  • It's going to wipe out all those people.

  • There are always people that think they won't be wiped out

  • because they're the managers.

  • Japan is making program managers

  • that program sequences of car production.

  • They get all the workers together to work as a team

  • and they move the machines at a certain speed.

  • Then they pick it up a little to get the guys working faster.

  • The guys complain.

  • If they complain too much, they're canned.

  • They keep running the machines faster until a person

  • slows up. When he slows up there's a light that blinks at his station

  • so the other guys say "Pick it up!"

  • There's a lot of stress in Japan,

  • emotional stress because they work them

  • continuously; they order them.

  • It's team work and they love the company

  • and after hours, they have company dinners

  • and affairs. The worker hardly ever sees

  • the members of his family.

  • Years later, after they retire

  • they usually degenerate because

  • they've been worked to the limit.

  • They have no hobby, thinking or anything else

  • and they're lost without the company.

  • Do you understand? There are psychological problems.

  • (Intv) The company is like their 'family' more than their real family.

  • - Yes, the company pushes and shoves to see how much it can get out of them.

  • What you have to remember is that the company will not succeed

  • unless it's faster than General Motors

  • better than Toyota. You know what I mean?

  • They can't. The whole world today depends on

  • how efficient your production is.

  • If you have machines doing most of the work

  • then the help has to be

  • like computer programmers. They all make recommendations

  • and they familiarize all the workers

  • with every aspect of production.

  • They are 'generalists'

  • in the automobile production field, not in thinking.

  • Their devotion to the company is like a mother.

  • Without that mother, they'd have no jobs.

  • There's new organizations forming in Japan

  • that try to counteract that, but that doesn't bring any money to Japan

  • so it won't be too successful.

  • You can't counteract something unless you bring something new.

  • (Intv) They don't give many social services over there either, do they?

  • -They do have some. The Japanese that have been laid off

  • and those affiliated with good will and all that

  • to a limited extent.

  • Japan doesn't have the social services the US has, yet.

  • When they get laid off there is no future. There's nothing they can study

  • unless they study computer programming

  • and they have a hell of a lot of computer programmers in Japan.

  • Do you understand? The programmer

  • operates the sequences

  • whereas the foreman used to do that.

  • He used to say "The wheels come on. Now they go to painting."

  • Now the computerized program does that.

  • The guy in charge used to be in the front office.

  • Now his desk is right in the shop

  • next to the working man.

  • They dress like the working man; they wear the same clothing

  • and that's to make them feel that they're all one.

  • American engineers went to Japan to study their system

  • and they're installing it in America.

  • That's what 'time-and-motion people' are.

  • They get more motion out of people in less time.

  • If you assemble certain things using a straight assembly bench

  • if you bend it, all the parts are nearer

  • and so you can assemble things faster, but you don't get paid more.

  • Do you know what I mean? So 'time-and-motion men'

  • are also engineers who try to get the most motion

  • in the least amount of time out of most people.

  • As their job is to get to do that,

  • their job is not to benefit people.

  • There should be psychologists

  • to study stress levels and stop [it] at a certain point.

  • That does not help the company, do you understand?

  • That's why they don't have psychological fatigue studies

  • but we would have that because that means more hospitalization.

  • If you don't have fatigue studies

  • the company doesn't pay for it, the worker pays for it

  • so that's his problem. If he gets sick or has a nervous breakdown

  • and has to go to a psychologist or to a hospital.

  • The company does not study that

  • because it doesn't do them any good to find out what the level is.

  • I think it would do them good, but they don't understand that.

  • All they have are charts of production levels.

  • If it goes up higher, whatever the production line is

  • that's getting that high mark

  • called exponential curve.

  • They try to put that on all levels.

  • Japanese companies

  • do not share ideas with other Japanese companies

  • but they do welcome visits to their plant

  • and people make notes and walk away with the same thing.

  • The supermarkets (I don't know if you notice this)

  • don't have all the cashiers working.

  • They have certain aisles open

  • and they put more load on the girls, [it's] tabulated.

  • They have new machines

  • that measure the phone calls that the help makes

  • while they're on the production line.

  • If a phone call runs over a certain amount of time, it's noticed.

  • It's printed out so the executive managers of the supermarkets

  • know how much time you spend on the phone, even though it's your family.

  • If you take more than four days off a year, they tend to can you.

  • When I say capitalism is inefficient, it hurts itself because

  • the more people you lay off eventually

  • they won't have the money to pay taxes or buy the products.

  • Do you understand what I'm saying?

  • If you don't you're supposed to interrupt me.

  • Capitalism was OK maybe a hundred years ago

  • because we didn't have any other systems, but it's socially offensive today.

  • People have higher stress levels, most normal people

  • because their company tries to get them

  • to take their work home and think about it.

  • (intv) But you've been around a while. Would you say

  • stress levels...If you think back once, 20 years ...

  • -Even among the executives...

  • (Intv) Let's say when you were a child, do you think back and remember if

  • people had just as much stress then as they do now or less?

  • -They had less

  • because they weren't laid off as much.

  • Today you work for a company, you get laid off

  • and you look for the same job again and it's gone.

  • Automation is being installed very quickly

  • and the rate that automation is being installed

  • is going up like that.

  • It isn't a slow, long curve.

  • If they build automation plants

  • you don't need heating in the winter

  • because machines don't need that.

  • When you've got humans working there, you need heating

  • daylight and electric lamps. You don't need that with machines.

  • You also have to give a little insurance on the working people.

  • You have to have a nurse and a first aid station.

  • You don't need that with machines.

  • With machines it's called 'lights-out manufacturing'.

  • A factory could be dark, as long as it's automated.

  • That's why... Human systems go on strike, they smoke

  • they go to the bathroom, they fuck off which is all normal

  • but with machines there's no fuck off.

  • They work hard all the time and make no demands.

  • If I say we're moving toward a machine world

  • it isn't a wish that I have. It's a natural direction of technology.

  • An engineer's job is to tighten up systems

  • and make things work better.

  • The engineers don't know that they're

  • hurting other people. They say "Well, why don't you become an engineer?"

  • until they get laid off.

  • Until you have a...You have a monitor in a supermarket

  • that works with a cashier

  • that measures the time. If a person calls up and says

  • "Are you having any specials on beans today?"

  • If they spend too much time on the phone, they're moved out

  • and so their phone calls are monitored.

  • The more you know about people and their bank accounts

  • the more you know that we're going to have a good business year

  • if a lot