foundation hyperamerican

Among other things this means control over

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Unformatted text preview: major source of uncertainty in social life—other people.Among other things, this means control over subordinates by superiors and control of clients and customers by workers. There are many examples of rationalization oriented toward gaining greater control over the uncertainties of life.The burgeoning of the genetic engineering movement can be seen as being aimed at gaining better control over the production of life itself. Similarly, amniocentesis can be seen as a technique which will 377 378 PART V SOCIAL CHANGE allow the parents to determine the kind of child they will have.The efforts to rationalize food production and distribution can be seen as being aimed at gaining greater control over the problems of hunger and starvation. A steady and regular supply of food can make life itself more certain for large numbers of people who today live under the threat of death from starvation. At a more specific level, the rationalization of food preparation and serving at McDonald’s gives it great control over its employees.The automobile assembly line has a similar impact. In fact, the vast majority of the structures of a rational society exert extraordinary control over the people who labor in them. But because of the limits that still exist on the degree of control that rational structures can exercise over individuals, many rationalizing employers are driven to seek to more fully rationalize their operations and totally eliminate the worker.The result is an automated, robot-like technology over which, barring some 2001 rebellion, there is almost total control. In addition to control over employees, rational systems are also interested in controlling the customer/clients they serve. For example, the fast-food restaurant with its counter, the absence of waiters and waitresses, the limited seating, and the drive-through windows all tend to lead customers to do certain things and not to do others. Irrationality of Rationality Although not an inherent part of rationalization, the irrationality of rationality is a seemingly inevitable byproduct of the process.We can think of the irrationality of rationality in several ways. At the most general level it can simply be seen as an overarching label for all the negative effects of rationalization. More specifically, it can be seen as the opposite of rationality, at least in some of its senses. For example, there are the inefficiencies and unpredictabilities that are often produced by seemingly rational systems.Thus, although bureaucracies are constructed to bring about greater efficiency in organizational work, the fact is that there are notorious inefficiencies such as the “red...
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