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The Four Horsemen of Downsizing and the Tower of Babel

Robert A. Miller
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 29, No. 1/2, Sixth Annual International Conference Promoting Business Ethics (Jan., 2001), pp. 147-151
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25074448
Page Count: 5
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The Four Horsemen of Downsizing and the Tower of Babel
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Abstract

The twentieth century has marked transitions in the developed world from an agricultural to an industrial to an information-based society. As the primary work force has evolved from farmers to laborers to knowledge workers, the bases of wealth, power and social interaction have moved from land to mass production to e-commerce. Critical writings from Drucker's The Age of Social Transformation to Fukuyama's The Great Disruption, have discussed these transitions and their impact on values. This paper places the issue of downsizing in the context of those discussions, exploring the ethical impact and role in those transitions of the author's Four Horsemen of Downsizing: Suspicion, Acquisition, Budget-cuts, and Termination. Finally, it discusses Western society's predilection to use language to construct an epistemological Tower of Babel and the impact that may have on Fukuyama's conclusion that a Great Reconstruction based on Western values will replace the Great Disruption.

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