Improving the Organization and Management of Extension


The free economic subject has rather become the object of a large-scale organization and coordination. Individual achievement has been transformed into standardized performance, with motivations, guidance, and evaluation of the individual’s action being defined by predetermined tasks and functions external to him. The effective individual is one whose action is the adequate response to the objective requirement of the apparatus, his freedom being limited to the selection of the appropriate means for an end which he has not fixed himself. While individual fulfillment requires no external recognition and is accomplished in the very activity, performance is a rewarded activity whose end is limited to, and consumed only to, its value to the apparatus.
For the majority of the population, the original freedom of the economic subject was gradually submerged by the performance of assigned tasks. The world had been rationalized to such an extent, and this rationality had become a social power such that it remained for the individual to adjust to it without reserve. Veblen was among the first to derive this new factuality ( matter-of-factness) of mechanized production, from which it has spread to the whole society: “The role of the worker operator in the mechanized industry is (typically) to serve and assist the machine; his task is to keep pace with the machine and then help him through precise manipulations where the machine can not complete the work itself. His job is to assist the machine, not to use it. On the contrary, it is the machine that uses the worker. For the technological system, the ideal mechanized device is the automaton. ”
Thorstein Veblen, The Instinct of Workmanship, New York, 1922 …Mechanized production requires knowledge oriented towards “an immediate seizure of opaque facts in relatively exact quantitative terms. This type of knowledge assumes that the worker has a particular intellectual and spiritual disposition: that of being able to easily apprehend and judge questions of fact while preserving this knowledge from any animistic or anthropomorphic “delicacy”, from any quasi-personal interpretation of the phenomena observed. and their interrelationships. ”
As an attitude, factuality ( matter-of-factness ) is not limited to mechanized production alone. Under each mode of social production, men have always derived their ends from the facts constituting their reality, in doing so they have arrived at the most divergent philosophies. Factuality ( matter-of-factness)) already animated ancient materialism and hedonism; it led to the struggle of the modern physical sciences against religious repression and the revolutionary rationalism of the Enlightenment. The new attitude, however, differs in the very marked rational conformity that characterizes it. Human thoughts and actions no longer derive their source, nor of a nature to be accepted in order to be controlled, nor of a society that should be transformed in order to better respond to the needs and aspirations of men, but mechanized process, which appears as the very incarnation of what is rational and opportune.

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