Atypical Employees become Typical

Franz Schandl

[This article originally published in: junge Welt, 12/30/2004 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, www. jungewelt. de/2004/12-30/022. php. ]

Total flexibility is on the agenda. This proclamation in the Vienna standard is also proclaimed elsewhere. Total flexibility is expected from the employee, from working hours and work place to form of employment. In the traditional labor contract of industrial society, the employee offered his labor power to the business and the business paid him a secure earned income and took away his risk of marketing the results of his production. That is now over. The social breach with the collective contract reads as follows: ? Labor contracts are increasingly individualized in the form of work contracts or free contracts of employment geared strongly to the output achieved by individuals. Labor is no longer a spatially or temporally pre-defined gainful employment.

Place, time and use of life possibilities should not be left to the person. Self-determination means market determination. What was once called foreign determination or objectification should appear as one? s own decision. Corresponding to the market should be our elementary need. When people earn enough, they can partially buy a clear conscience. In addition, they may choose different products on the market and vote for parties with different names in politics. The what, when, where and how of production does not concern people at all. Democracy becomes absolute submission under the laws of valorization.

Flexibility has nothing to do with individual sovereignty. Rather it means being completely delivered up to external demands. The flexibility of the person is nothing but the dictation of the market. Whatever is offered has to be accepted. Whoever doesn? t want this scrams from labor and from the traditional net of the social state. One has to be deployable and not make oneself at home or take the easy way out.

If the typical re4alizes guarantees by selling his labor power, this is not begrudged the atypical employee in the age of insecurity. The abolition of the rigid form does not increase the sovereignty of individuals but redefines their dependence. There is no solidarity any more but a slackness that cannot promise any security. The flexibility to which businesses are exposed cries for the flexibility of those working for them. The atypical employee becomes typical and the typical becomes atypical.

Nothing is given to us; we have to make ourselves over. Total adaptation is demanded. Self-automatization is the goal. The ideal of the working person is the machine. Ceaseless running, an iron rhythm, is emphasized. The machine is manifest as an entity whose perfection is the example for the employee. People have to turn white before the functionality of their machines in copying them. ? Work to the rhythm/ Live to the rhythm/ Love to the rhythm/ Save to the rhythm, ? Grace Jones sang in 1985.