As I slowly work my way throught Carr's book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, I ran across this passage from the chapter on Google: (reformatted slightly.)
In his 1993 book Technopoly, Neil Postman distilled the main tenets of Taylor’s scientific management.* Taylorsim, he wrote, is founded on six assumptions:
“that the primary, if not the only goal of human labor and thought is efficiency;
that technical calculation is in all respects superior to human judgment;
that, in fact, human judgment cannot be trusted, because it is plagued by laxity, ambiguity, and unnecessary complexity;
that subjectivity is an obstacle to clear thinking;
that what cannot be measured either does not exist or is of no value;
and that the affairs of citizens are best guided and conducted by experts.”
Fredrick Winslow Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management, 1911.
Carr uses the passage to ask if Google is trying to "Taylorize" information acquisition. But what struck me is that our current national and state school improvement efforts seemed to be based on this 1911 model of productivity.
Too bad our kids aren't just little Model Ts rolling off the assembly line. (See Why Robots Make the Best Students.)
Oh, Carr's book is one of the best I've read for awhile. He gets a little bogged down relating slugs and brain research, but overall The Shallows is a thoughtful and fascinating read.