Peter F. Drucker symposia on changes to the economy, the instinct of workmanship versus the instinct of inquisitiveness, workers and their organizations, materialism, and knowledge-based civilization versus business civilization
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Peter F. Drucker begins the symposium discussing how business has largely made the very great changes of the last hundred years possible, and how creating leisure has been the defining characteristic of the United States. Leisure, increasing investment in medical care, and investment in education, together, make up the three primary sectors in the economy experiencing the most growth, and Drucker highlights that they are not spiritual. The financial masters, he continues, do not understand today’s labor force, and he predicts that the U.S. is heading into a replay of the conflict Thorstein Veblen characterized as the instinct of workmanship versus the inquisitive instinct, in which the inquisitive instinct always loses out because, by itself, it does not produce anything. Therefore, craft-focused people have tended to become very problematic because they are not solely driven by the possibility of financial return or their employer’s concerns. Increasingly, the values of business have become secondary, and, in the U.S., the great majority of business students do not stay in business--they move on to hospitals, research labs, etc. Moreover, their values are increasingly determined by the fact that they are all volunteers, and are aware of the possibility of their own mobility. Drucker states that social values, rather than business values, will be the driving force of individuals, and argues that executives will have to learn to motivate workers to see business as one opportunity among many, and encourage them to see business as not something that they are simply hired to work for. On the contrary, they should be hired to work at their specific job for the business, therefore encouraging them to see business as a major employer. In terms of the traditional way of looking at industry, the work most people do is production work, and consequently, a very profound change in values is underway in terms of how people look at the world. The business civilization of yesterday, he concludes, is being replaced by a knowledge-based civilization that, though focused on the pursuit of material goods, does not see material civilization as something worthwhile and valuable in and of itself.
Drucker, Peter F. (Peter Ferdinand), 1909-2005 New York University New York University. Graduate School of Business Administration Business Leisure United States Medical care Education Spirituality Veblen, Thorstein, 1857-1929 Workmanship Inquisitiveness Business schools Business students Volunteer Volunteers Social values Business, culture and change Knowledge and learning Knowledge workers Knowledge, work & society Knowledge-based economy Knowledge society Knowledge work Materialism Material goods
Original recording, April 14, 1988; Drucker Archives; Box 68