Thursday, July 31, 2008

Noam Chomsky Responds To My Question

Mr. Chomsky,

You are the true American's most valuable human resource. You, the king of facts, have transcended the field of American political criticism. Your work against the drug war and America's foreign policy is noble. Having read Manufacturing Consent and a plethora of your interviews on YouTube, I know first hand of your excellence. One question I would like to ask you (if you have the time; I know you are one busy man) concerns mill workers. From what I've heard, you argue that the workers should run them. This might sound like a simplistic analysis, but isn't the job of the worker one of manual labor? Their job, though this may be the case in some instances, is typically one that does not involve heavy thinking. Wouldn't the mill be ultimately more successful if it hires non-physical labor specialists to handle managerial decisions? If applicable, please refer me to a book of yours that gets into this. Thank you and godspeed in your future work, sir!

Glen Maganzini
Wakefield Étudiant (

Thanks for the generous remarks.

For privileged sectors, it's convenient to believe that their special talents and knowledge entitle them to manage the world. To say that the evidence is slim is much too kind. With regard to the case you mention, mill workers typically know much more about production than managers. And there is substantial scholarship on the general matter, including among others economist Stephen Marglin's "Why are there bosses," historian of technology David Noble's work on computer-controlled machine tools, and many other specialized studies.

Can you believe that Yahoo! marked his reply as Spam? He responded to my question 30 minutes after I sent it! What a guy. Not to carp on Noam, but "Why are there bosses" doesn't exist. It's actually called "What Do Bosses Do?


  1. The famous Noam Chomsky knows about the Étudiant. Good work, Glen.

  2. To anyone with a Yahoo! email address, ditch it and sign up for Gmail.


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