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The Selfish Organization: Technology and the Rise of Transnational Corporatism

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The behavior of workers in the West continues to stand as a great challenge to the advancement of the goals of industry. These conflicting interests may be headed for a collision course that could be so significant that, potentially, even the biological evolution of humanity could be affected.

 

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, humanity entered an age of astounding technological advancement. Computer-brain interfacing took the first steps toward reading the human mind (Bergley, 2008). Scientists identified the mechanism for creating invisibility (Ceurstemont, 2009). Super-surveillance equipment emerged that was capable of monitoring nearly every telephone conversation in the  United States (Bamford, 2008). The technology to track and intimately monitor every human being on earth was no longer the domain of science fiction but an emerging reality.

 

History suggests that not only is it possible industry will use whatever technology is available to achieve its goals, but also that workers (if possible) will quickly adapt themselves to these emerging technologies in order to retain a place in the corporate social order. The greater the role that industry has in society the more weight workers will place on conforming to the goals of their employers--especially as jobs grow scarcer.

 

The technology used by workers in the past to adapt to the requirements of industry has been skills with manual tools of the trades, the ability to use machinery, higher education, and more recently, skills in utilizing high-tech applications. However, today industry can also require workers to be of innate disposition, both psychologically and genetically, to help further the goals of the employer. For example, since one of the most costly items facing industry has been health-care insurance, efforts have been made to require genetic testing of employees for predisposition to illnesses such as lung disease (Baldas, 2005). A genetic predisposition toward lung disease could later be attributed to the work environment and result in insurance compensation for the worker. Such claims could affect the cost of employer premiums.

 

Now scientists claim to have discovered the "violent gene" (i.e., HTR2B) in Finnish men, and have been able to turn its likeness off and on in rats (Firth, N., 2012). Could the questioning-authority-gene or the I-don't-believe-in-work-benefits-gene one day be discovered? Could turning-off-or-on such genes become an employment prerequisite?

 

As technology evolves and our ability to understand and manipulate our genetic codes increases, the potential for employers to demand genetic knowledge about workers as a precondition to employment is destined to increase as well. Why wouldn't industry, particularly in a highly competitive job market, seek out those who could demonstrate--by choice--a genetic predisposition that would best meet the requirements of industry?

And if the job market were competitive enough, wouldn't it be tempting for some to genetically alter their offspring-to-be in order for their children to be more socially desirable? In fact, wouldn't some parents be willing to genetically "design" their children in order for them to have a better chance at surviving and flourishing?   And if they were passing these altered genetics on at a rate that established a significant population, wouldn't this be evolution in a biological sense?

  

History reveals that the nature of workers challenges the organization of industry.

It is also clear that industry is committed to using emerging technologies in order to efficiently focus the behavior of workers toward corporate goals. Are we destined to enter an era of a genetic-man theory, an era by which organization occurs, not only through the manipulation of structure, group dynamics, psychological conditioning, or other environmental factors, but also through genetic manipulation? Could the proprietors of corporatism rise to be the sovereigns of such darkness worldwide?

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John G. Mentzos earned his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Development from the Union Institute. For more than 25 years he has consulted with leaders in nonprofit management, government, foundations, business, education, human services and (more...)
 

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