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Biography

Biography

DR. THOMAS CONNOLLY

Professor, College of Sciences & Human Studies, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University 

Thomas F. Connolly is Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University and is affiliated with the Center for Futuristic Studies. He is the author of three books: “George Jean Nathan and the Making of Modern American Drama Criticism,” “Genus Envy: Nationalities, Identities, and the Performing Body of Work,” and “British Aisles: Studies in English and Irish Drama,” and dozens of articles. He serves on the editorial boards of several scholarly journals. He has been a consultant and commentator for the BBC, The New York Times, The New Yorker, CBS, PBS, and NPR. Dr. Connolly has also worked in state government and for the Department of State’s United States Information Service. A former Fulbright Senior Scholar, Dr. Connolly is the recipient of the Parliamentary Medal of the Czech Republic, awarded for “the educational improvement of the nation.” His next book “Good-bye Good Ol’ USA: What America Lost in World War II” is forthcoming from PMU Press. 

Abstract

Abstract

Synthesizing Humane Futures: Taylor, Ellul, and the Critique of Technique

Synthesizing humane futures is a necessary reminder for those who look to demonstrate the big picture via the pursuit of big data. Over a century ago, Frederick Winslow Taylor established himself as the prophet of the cult of efficiency. Over half a century ago, Jacques Ellul identified “technique” as the insistence that there was one perfect way to do something, just as a machine would. 

He saw this as a terrible thing; he was criticizing Taylor’s “one best way” law of labor. Taylor declared, “In the past the man has been first. In the future the System will be first.” Who can deny the accuracy of this? We live in the world Taylor made.  Irrespective of the cultural and economic impact of Taylor and his disciples on the past century, must we continue to quantify human endeavors, if not our entire existence? Can we persist with this idea of an overarching singularity of method? Analyzing big data is number crunching by another neame. Can we allow “the bottom line” to define the future? Contrary to Taylor’s certainty that there is one best way to do something, we should consider varied approaches. We recoil from the “flat earth” paladins of globalization as we recognize that our futures are multivalent. 

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