pun refers to Rene Magritte’s
Treachery of Images, depicting a pipe over the words, “Ceci
n’est pas une pipe” which is French for, “This is not a pipe.” Indeed,
this is not a pipe.
It’s a picture of a pipe. What’s real here? People are not capital.
A name is not the thing itself.
out to trace the heritage of the term “human capital” for the Last
Word, I envisioned a short piece on the transition from hunter/gatherers
to laborers to employees to personnel to human resources to human
capital, interspersed with witticisms and wry commentary.
that didn’t happen. I spent the better part of two days in the stacks
at the library at the Haas School of Business, not far from my house
in Berkeley, immersed in semiotics,
Scientific Management, Chainsaw Al, Art Kleiner,
Theory X, medieval guilds, Adam Smith, Henry Thoreau (“Men have
become the tools of their trade.”), Diderot’s Encyclopedie, H.L.
Mencken (“The average male gets his living by such depressing devices
that boredom becomes a sort of natural state to him.”), Pavlov,
the Hawthorne effect, Abraham
Maslow, Kurt Lewin, Paul Goodman (“Few great men
could pass personnel.”), T-Groups, B.F. Skinner (“The real problem
is not whether machines think but whether men do.”), Tom Stewart,
Frederick Herzberg’s KITA, Peter Drucker (“Management
by objective works if you know the objective. Ninety percent
of the time you don't.”), Eric Hoffer, Tom Gilbert, re-engineering
and downsizing (“We are all temps.”), Joop
Hartog, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Don
Clark, and Don
my initial 3000 word article down to one essential sentence, these
quotations were among the last to go:
art of management has been defined as “knowing exactly what you
want men to do and then seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest
way.” —Frederick Winslow Taylor, Shop Management
can employ men and hire hands to work for you, but you must
win their hearts to have them work with you.” —Tiorio
deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
Marx would be amused. He longed for the day when the workers would
own the means of production. Now they do.” —Charles Handy
don’t manage people so much as market to them.” —Peter Drucker
Cross is CEO of Internet
Time Group, a think tank and consultancy that helps organizations
make elearning decisions. He has pioneered new approaches to technology-assisted
learning since the Stone Age. (At least it feels like it. “Since
the early seventies” is closer to reality.) Creative despite degrees
from both Princeton and Harvard, he lives in the hills of Berkeley,
California, with his tennis-playing wife, 17-year old geek son,
and two miniature longhaired dachshunds. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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