Sunday, 31 July 2011

Bennett on employment

From Wikipedia

The employed section of society, at any rate the larger part of that section, is suffering, as regards its work, from one specific malady: payment by time instead of payment by results. I admit that payment by time is the logical result of events in the industrial life of the country during the last hundred years. I admit it can be explained, and to a certain extent justified. But it remains the curse of labour. It robs the energetic man of the incentive to use his energy. It reduces the real worker to the level of the shirker. It ministers to and encourages the worst characteristics in human nature. And it lessens the total volume of work done.

Further, because it is unnatural, it dulls the conscience and affects the nerves. A man who spends his days carefully and deliberately doing much less than he can do, must perforce get himself into a strange and dangerous state of mind. His unused energy must find some outlet, and it finds an outlet in searching for trouble. And note that it is the best men who are demoralised, not the worst. Payment by time amounts to a canker, which is another word for cancer. Though the operation may be highly dangerous to the body-politic, the cancer will have to be cut out before there can be any genuine improvement in the general state of society.
Arnold Bennett - The Savour of Life - published in 1928

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