Monday, August 28, 2006

On Books and Book Buying

On Eric Lee's recommendation I bought "The Mind at Work - Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker" by Mike Rose. And a fine, informative read it is, setting out to demolish the myth that there are workers by hand and workers by brain. Most workers by hand also use intelligence in all aspects of their job. (And, I would like to add, some workers by brain show an alarming lack of intelligence). As Rose says, on page xxvii,
I think we need to be cautious in assuming extensive and necessary effects of particular kinds of work on the thinking ability of the people who do them. Such analysis can obscure the nuance and variation in individual people's experence of work, as well as real differences in the physical and social environment of individual workplaces. The complexity of working life is therefore reduced. We can pinpoint the harmful effects of modern working conditions ... without positing an automatic diminishment of a worker's awareness and capacity to reason.
That assumption that so many people make, that John Doe has a manual job therefore John Doe must be not very intelligent is just wrong and ill-founded. And the corresponding assumption that John Fotheringey has a professional job therefore John Fotheringey must be intelligent is just wrong and ill-founded. And that assumption plays into public policy on education and training and is just wrong and ill-founded.

And if you are going to get it, get it from Union Communication Services. The book is available here.

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