After the previous Hitchhiker’s article some might have left with the impression that Corporations are a bad thing. Like many other things, it is not a social system per se that is bad, but the people in that system. A Corporation, Communist or Nazist society is only as bad as the people in it. What do these have in common ?
Planning would be the first. Nazism had the „Four Year Plan”, Communism had the series of „Five-Year Plans”, Corporations are using Strategic Planning and splitting the Fiscal Year in quarters. Planning would be the best way in achieving goals, in any situation whatsoever. The difference is how you reach your goal, how realistic you are, and how people are treated along the way.
Personal Productivity would be the second. Communism had the Stakhanovite movement where one individual was pushed to achieve from 14 to 84 times the quota that was initially imposed. These exceptions were driving the base-quota up to scales never seen before. The issue was that this over-achieving individuals could not keep the pace for too long, and they were also favored by being provided exceptional working conditions and tools, which the normal worker did not had. Nazism had the program to increase worker productivity by making workers feel „the joy” of their Arian superiority. Corporations are using targets coupled with a bonus and penalties system to boost sales, productivity and profits. As long as the physical well-being and the freedom of thought of the individual is not in peril, realistic targets are met, and there is a sense of fulfillment when the task is done. When the worker is burned out physically and mentally, lost contact with the inner values, friends and family, doesn’t feel like she/he has any other choice but work all the time too achieve the goal, without being happy that the goal is achieved, is it worth achieving that goal? It is not the system that has an issue, but the ones steering the system.
Charismatic leaders would be the third. Leaders that speak about ideals, dreams, and hopes, then harness the frustrations and hidden energies from people and make them achieve exceptional results. Nazism had Adolf Schicklgruber (known by people by his stage name, Hitler). Communism had Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Most blue chips companies had at least one CEO that was able to hold electrifying public speeches. It is great to have such a leader to make ordinary people able move mountains. The question is what do you do with all this energy, towards what are you channeling it? Are the inspired people human beings or monsters after the goal was achieved?
Cult of personality would be the fourth. The superhuman that knows everything, has all the answers, sits on the top of the food-chain and whose decisions are above all questioning and better judgement. Hitler was the one in Nazism, there are countless ones (Stalin, Mao, Ceausescu, Kim, Minh, Hoxha, Taraki … ) for Communism. What about corporations ? Well, there are quite some that have the leader’s image and vision embedded in everything. Some of them were toxic leaders, some of them were great leaders. It is again related to what the values that the leader believes in and is willing to sacrifice or not to achieve the goals.
Common values would be the fifth. The only way you can climb the steps on any kind of social structure is to share the values that structure has. Hitler had his Arian racists; Stalin physically eliminated every opposition; corporations, well, whoever saw the movie Wolf of Wall Street can remember the scene when Donnie eats the fish of someone that dared to be different. Did you ever felt like your gold fish was eaten alive in front of your eyes, or saw it happening to someone else? Great minds think alike. So do petty ones. Great leaders attract, grow and inspire great people. Monsters breed and surround themselves with monsters. If you are not acting as a monster, but choose to ignore the monsters’ deeds around you, are you better than those monsters ? Isn’t almost the same as doing that deed yourself?
A human being can be anywhere on the scale from Mother Theresa and Gandhi to Hitler and Stalin. The position on the scale is given by the models around it, the living environment, and most importantly on the personal choices and values. Is your mental and physical well-being fine, can you sleep at night? Are you still in touch with your family and friends? What leader are you following, and which team are you working in? Is this who you have decided to be?