Black is the Colour of my True Love's Car

I’ve been reading “My Life and Work“, Henry Ford’s autobiography, I was pleasantly surprised by much of it (that is I mean you should read it too). Here are some quotes:

When we are at work we ought to be at work. When we are at play we ought to be at play. There is no use trying to mix the two. The sole object ought to be to get the work done and to get paid for it. When the work is done, then the play can come, but not before. And so the Ford factories and enterprises have no organization, no specific duties attaching to any position, no line of succession or of authority, very few titles, and no conferences. We have only the clerical help that is absolutely required; we have no elaborate records of any kind, and consequently no red tape.

[…]

Because there are no titles and no limits of authority, there is no question of red tape or going over a man’s head. Any workman can go to anybody, and so established has become this custom, that a foreman does not get sore if a workman goes over him and directly to the head of the factory. The workman rarely ever does so, because a foreman knows as well as he knows his own name that if he has been unjust it will be very quickly found out, and he shall no longer be a foreman. One of the things that we will not tolerate is injustice of any kind. The moment a man starts to swell with authority he is discovered, and he goes out, or goes back to a machine. A large amount of labour unrest comes from the unjust exercise of authority by those in subordinate positions, and I am afraid that in far too many manufacturing institutions it is really not possible for a workman to get a square deal.

I would say this is the polar opposite of ‘statist’ enterprises (e.g. BBC) and the bureaucratic mentality in general.

When a business becomes congested with bad methods; when a business becomes ill through lack of attention to one or more of its functions; when executives sit comfortably back in their chairs as if the plans they inaugurated are going to keep them going forever; when business becomes a mere plantation on which to live, and not a big work which one has to do–then you may expect trouble. You will wake up some fine morning and find yourself doing more business than you have ever done before–and getting less out of it. You find yourself short of money. You can borrow money. And you can do it, oh, so easily. People will crowd money on you. It is the most subtle temptation the young business man has. But if you do borrow money you are simply giving a stimulant to whatever may be wrong. You feed the disease. Is a man more wise with borrowed money than he is with his own? Not as a usual thing. To borrow under such conditions is to mortgage a declining property.

Substitute “a business” for “a country’s economy”

An impartial investigation of the last war, of what preceded it and what has come out of it, would show beyond a doubt that there is in the world a group of men with vast powers of control, that prefers to remain unknown, that does not seek office or any of the tokens of power, that belongs to no nation whatever but is international–a force that uses every government, every widespread business organization, every agency of publicity, every resource of national psychology, to throw the world into a panic for the sake of getting still more power over the world. An old gambling trick used to be for the gambler to cry “Police!” when a lot of money was on the table, and, in the panic that followed, to seize the money and run off with it. There is a power within the world which cries “War!” and in the confusion of the nations, the unrestrained sacrifice which people make for safety and peace runs off with the spoils of the panic.

!!!

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