Read e-book online The Mantra of Efficiency: From Waterwheel to Social Control PDF

By Jennifer Karns Alexander

ISBN-10: 0801886937

ISBN-13: 9780801886935

Efficiency—associated with person self-discipline, more suitable administration, and elevated earnings or productivity—often counts as one of many maximum virtues in Western tradition. yet what does it suggest, precisely, to be effective? How did this idea evolve from a way for comparing basic machines to the chant of development and a prerequisite for success?

In this provocative and bold research, Jennifer Karns Alexander explores the starting to be energy of potency within the post-industrial West. analyzing the methods the concept that has seemed in smooth history—from a benign degree of the thermal financial system of a laptop to its common program to private behaviors like chewing conduct, spending offerings, and store flooring routine to its debatable use as a degree of the company luck of yankee slavery—she argues that underneath efficiency's doubtless never-ending kind lies a typical subject: the pursuit of mastery via innovations of surveillance, self-discipline, and keep an eye on.

Six ancient case studies—two from Britain, one each one from France and Germany, and from the United States—illustrate the concept's attention-grabbing improvement and supply context for the meanings of, and makes use of for, potency this present day and within the future.

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The Mantra of Efficiency: From Waterwheel to Social Control by Jennifer Karns Alexander


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