(2009-07-27) Schmaltz Scientific Management

David Schmaltz [has](http://www.projectcommunity.com/Pure Schmaltz/files/category-9.html) an interesting series of posts on Scientific Management.

I found [this](http://www.projectcommunity.com/Pure Schmaltz/files/Sly-entificManagement2.html) profile of Henry Gantt (creator of the Gantt Chart) to be particularly fascinating. Shortly before he died, Gantt wrote an essay entitled "A Parting of the Ways". In this essay, he proclaimed that the pursuit of profits above service to the community was responsible for a whole raft of industrial ills. He spoke like a Utopian Socialist, even encouraging thirty-some engineers to create a splinter group of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers entitled The New Machine.

Gantt, like many efficiency engineers volunteered to work with the war production boards (World War I) set up by the Woodrow Wilson administration. These boards were governed by citizens, had no statutory authority, yet managed industrial production during the war years. They could not command anything done, though they could and did control allocation of critical resources. In flagrant violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Statues, they called competitors together and encouraged them to cooperate to produce war material. But understanding the need to continue producing baby clothes, for instance, these boards ended up managing much of the economy for the duration of the war.

This was sweet work for Gantt, who maintained his deep belief that facts rather than opinion should determine critical decisions. He had no faith in the debating society politics that prevailed on Capitol Hill, and Congress was largely silent on the question of board control, save for a few impassioned floor speeches. The engineers went about telling industries how to produce and what to produce without getting too sideways to any free-marketeer.

Gantt looked at this experience and had a difficult time rationalizing the Free Market after that.


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