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By Zygmunt Bauman

During this new publication Zygmunt Bauman - some of the most unique and influential social thinkers of our time - examines the selective affinity among the expansion of social inequality and the increase within the quantity of 'collateral harm' and considers its implications and its bills.

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Extra info for Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age

Sample text

On both levels, however, uncertainty remained the principal weapon of the power struggle, and the manipulation of uncertainties was that struggle’s paramount strategy. In the late 1930s, in a book aptly named The Managerial Revolution, James Burnham suggested that managers, hired originally by the owners of the machines and briefed to drill, discipline and supervise their machine operators and to elicit a maximum effort from the labour force, had taken the real power away from their employers – while the owners had gradually turned into stockholders.

The separation of business from the household delivered a mortal blow to that regime: as an effect of economic activities opting out of households and so also separating themselves from the dense web of communal and associative bonds in which household life was embedded, and with the reconstitution of productive and distributive activities as ‘business’ pure and simple, swept clean of communal and guild-linked constraints, the spontanous, unselfconscious reproduction of the customary and traditional tissue of ties that supported and sustained the ancien régime started to fall apart.

What Crozier discovered was that instead of concentrating time and energy on the fulfilment of the declared task, the office staff spent a lot of its time and energy on activities irrelevant to that task, or on undertakings that obstructed its fulfilment, or even rendered its implementation impossible. The major dysfunction he discovered and amply recorded was the intergroup struggle for power, influence and privilege. Such an internal power struggle was endemic in the organizations Crozier studied: each category of functionaries sought more power for itself and tried to secure it by playing the formal rules to their advantage, using loopholes in the statute books or resorting to altogether informal expedients, unlisted among or even explicitly prohibited by the organizational rules.

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