A painting of me

The Alienation of the Worker

   13 August 2007, early morning

[Siracusa’s list of enterprise desires for the iPhone] is, to be blunt, horseshit. It’s apologist blathering to cover up a failure of imagination and ambition. And it’s saying that people cease to become people when they’re at work, and are instead Enterprise Employees.

The emphasis here is mine. This is a tiny point from a much longer article by Anil Dash on developing products for the enterprise market. I thought it was interesting he didn’t feel a need to argue this point: obviously you are the same person at work that you are at home; to think otherwise is ridiculous. To many this idea is axiomatic. In reality, its a reflection of the cultural norms within a capitalist society. For the vast majority of people in the world, work does strip you of your humanity. Our relationships to our coworkers, our bosses, and our customers, can’t be called “human” in any sense of the word. People do become enterprise employees when they arrive at work. Those of us living in the West live in a world built by people who were interested in preserving their wealth, and the modes of production that allow them to continue generating wealth. Think about how important property rights are in any country that operates with a capitalist economy. Property rights are of paramount importance. Think about the cultural norms put in place to explain away poverty and inequity in these countries. Poor people are poor because they are lazy. Rich people are rich because they work hard. These are 18th century puritan Christian ideas that are no longer questioned. Finally think about how we can reach a point where working in a cubicle farm can be called being human.



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