Man, Work, and Society: A Reader in the Sociology of Occupations

By Sigmund Nosow; William H. Form | Go to book overview

concerned "only" with the truth and which has no exchange value on the market.

. . . The marketing orientation . . . does not develop something which is potentially in the person (unless we make the absurd assertion that "nothing" is also part of the human equipment); its very nature is that no specific and permanent kind of relatedness is developed, but that the very changeability of attitudes is the only permanent quality of such orientation. In this orientation, those qualities are developed which can best be sold. Not one particular attitude is predominant, but the emptiness which can be filled most quickly with the desired quality. This quality, however, ceases to be one in the proper sense of the word; it is only a role, the pretense of a quality, to be readily exchanged if another one is more desirable. Thus, for instance, respectability is sometimes desirable. The salesmen in certain branches of business ought to impress the public with those qualities of reliability, soberness, and respectability which were genuine in many a businessman of the ninetenth century. Now one looks for a man who instills confidence because he looks as if he had these qualities; what this man sells on the personality market is his ability to look the part; what kind of person is behind that role does not matter and is nobody's concern. He himself is not interested in his honesty, but in what it gets for him on the market. The premise of the marketing orientation is emptiness, the lack of any specific quality which could not be subject to change, since any persistent trait of character might conflict some day with the requirements of the market. Some roles would not fit in with the peculiarities of the person; therefore we must do away with them--not with the roles but with the peculiarities. The marketing personality must be free, free of all individuality.


NOTES
1.
Cf., for the study of history and function of the modern market, K. Polanyi's The Great Transformation, New York: Rinehart & Co., 1944.
2.
The fact that relationship to oneself and to others is conjunctive is explained in Fromm's Man for Himself, Chapter IV.
3.
The difference between intelligence and reason is discussed in Man for Himself, pp. 96 ff.
4.
Cf. Ernest Schachtel, "Zum Begriff mad zur Diagnosis der Persönlichkeit in 'Personality Tests' [On the Concept and Diagnosis of Personality Tests]," Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, Jahrgang 6, 1937, pp. 597-624.

2. FACTORY WORK

· Simone Weil

Conceivably a plant or factory could fill the soul through a powerful awareness of collective--one might well say, unanimous--life. All noises have their meaning, they are all rhythmic, they fuse into a kind of giant respiration of the working collectivity in which it is exhilarating to play one's part. And because the sense of solitude is not touched, participa-

-452-

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