21st Century
Features on the Future
World Travel
Destinations & Guides
Books and Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics and Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews and stories

The International Writers Magazine
: Life Choices

Let's Interface
Colin Todhunter

When I was a boy my relatives kept asking me what I wanted to do when I grew up. Well, being nine or ten at the time, I had little notion of what I wanted to do. I had little concept of ever being grown up. Now I’m physically grown up, I still don’t know what I want to be when (or if) I ever grow up. I kind of knew what people expected me to be but I didn’t want to be it.

Since when did people become human capital and the world become a competitive landscape?

But no matter how much I try to resist conforming to other people’s expectations, I can’t escape them. I want to live my life according to my criteria. But that’s not so easy these days. Someone, somewhere is always trying to rewrite the script.

I once thought that I was a unique individual but now I am looked on as just piece of data on a spreadsheet. I used to belong to a community but have become part of a specified target group. And I used to live in a neighbourhood where closeness and interdependence mattered. But now I encounter professional detachment from service-providers who “cover” my area in order to “provide” for my needs. I don’t want to have needs. I want to have rights. I’m not a client. I want to be a citizen. I don’t want to interface I want to talk.

Who made the market god and the technocrats kings? The language of the age is now one of performance indicators, targets, corporate objectives, market segments and best practice. I thought value for people was what mattered not value for money. I speak English, the world appears to talk gibberish with its leverage, benchmarks, competitive advantage, core competences, learning curves, synergy, inputs and outcomes.

When I began to write this article I was having negative start up synergy, but then I became incentivised, began visioning and brainstorming. Or was it just a simple case of writer’s block, which was overcome by inspiration and thinking? Then, when finished I didn’t merely edit the article – I downsized it to an appropriate length and delayered it in order to make my points more concise. In fact, at one point I had even thought about giving a power point presentation but decided to be boring and just write it.

Since when did people become human capital and the world become a competitive landscape? When did high performance corporate culture begin to prevail and when did we stop doing jobs and begin to engage in proactive functionality? When did people and communities cease to exist and service-users and client groups begin to count? And when did citizens become reincarnated as consumers?

This type of language originated in the private sector and seeped menacingly into the public sector, so much so that many politicians often slip into using it with ease. Every time I look at and listen to image conscious Tony Blair and his ministers I can’t help thinking that they were cloned in some global corporate boardroom, had a jargon-chip inserted into the brain and were then let loose on the world.

Consider this: only 500,000 people in the UK own shares. But the TV news now seems obsessed with providing constant reports on how many points have been lost or gained on the Dow Jones or FTSE index. And I won’t even mention India and the Sensex. Tens of millions in the UK go to work and don’t own shares, yet “industrial relations” correspondents who once reported on workers pay, conditions and rights have almost disappeared from view. Their voices have been drowned out by the grating sound of management speak.

The script has been rewritten. Welcome to the nightmare.

© colin todhunter January 2007

Colin has been a contributor for nearly seven years now and reguarly travels between India and the UK

 More Comment


© Hackwriters 1999-2007 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibiltiy - no liability accepted by or affiliates.