TED Conversations

Mackenzie Andersen

manager, Andersen Studio

This conversation is closed.

Pride in one’s work matters to the individual and the society. Work brings life meaning- work is not just a means to an end.

Leslie T Chang is using an “end justifies the means argument”, which purportedly represents the voice and courage of the workers in the global factories but serves the corporate agenda well. Nothing she says is untrue as it is a general truth that people will make the best of whatever circumstances in which they find themselves. Chang’s argument at best works as a collective voice of a collective society and represents a sort of tyranny of the majority in which those that don’t fit the collective world view don’t really matter and as such they become the social outsiders who in this day and age are ripe candidates for the global terrorist movement.

I in this blog post, I pursue the denigration of the act of “making” in which I make the connection between the local ( in my case Maine, USA) and the global. This post is part of an ongoing series.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 19 2013: Nonesense! The time when it mattered whether the worker took pride in the product of their labour is long past. The vast majority of jobs today are assembly line, office cubicle and service (servants really) tasks which, for the worker, are repetitive, boringly mind numbing, and prone to repetitive injuries that are chronic and debilitating. Meanwhile the wages attached to these "jobs" have not kept pace with inflation for years meaning that more and more people every year are driven deeper and deeper into debt or destitution just to survive.

    Besides, more and more employers these days simply view workers as problem prone necessities that can be easily replaced at any time and whose wages - even the subsistence wages - are a cost factor rather than an investment in the product. The garment workers in Bangladesh are a classic example of where the "jobs" market is headed.

    It is time to think beyond mere "jobs" as the principle means of obtaining a "living". Nor should a "job" define a person's value or relevance. Science and technology, robotics and automation, have been eliminating the human component from the "jobs" market at an every increasing rate for decades. And that is a good thing. Yes, there will always be tasks that humans must perform and which can not be trusted to machines alone, but those tasks are become scarcer every year.

    But I say good riddance to the assembly line jobs that dehumanize the workers by making them simply another part of the plant's machinery and offer little to no mental stimulation or value as employees since they are so easily replaceable.

    There is a rich, vibrant and engaging life to be found outside the workplace and a mere "job" and it is time we looked outside this box towards other ways that people can find value in what they do such as volunteering, community projects, family care, amateur sports and a host of others. But that is another thread :)

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.