Corrosion of Character
Flexibility in the economy can be defined in numerous ways.According to Sennett to be flexible is to be able to adapt to changing circumstances and not to be broken by them. This idea of being able to adapt to changing circumstances can be applied quite easily to the economy and how we as a society or individual have to be accommodating and willing to change and roll with the punches. A few elements pertaining to flexibility are drifting, taking risks and possible failure. In order to be flexible you have to acknowledge that the three elements mentioned are possibilities upon which one might stumble. After all to get anywhere in this world, you have to be ready and willing to adapt to any circumstance in order to get by.
In order to get by in the world today and especially the work place you have to be flexible. You have to be able to drift or move from one city or job to another with ease. This drifting and moving about is becoming more common in todays work place. Constant downsizing and the hunger for change causes people to drift (Sennett 22). The hunger for change, is described by Sennett as the desire for rapid returns or impatient capital (Sennett 22). The rapid return is ones expectation or wanting of more money as quick as possible. This urge for rapid returns causes people to seek out more profitable places of employment. This search for rapid returns requires people to be flexible in such a way as to be able to pack up and move and have no problems doing it. In a pure business sense, the flexibility in drifting is very ideal to the management.
The management of today prefers a sort of flexibility along the lines of drifting. They want a networklike arrangement light on its feet (Sennett 23). This form in which businesses are taking make them readily decomposable and redefinable than the fixed hierarchies of old. In being able to be redefined a company is able to roll with the punches and make itself into whatever is necessary to accommodate the drifting workers and the ever-changing work place. It is in essence the perfect form in which a company can readily adapt to their surroundings (Sennett 23). This ability to adapt makes businesses able to receive the drifting workers such as Enrico( a character in the book) which shows how not only are the drifters being flexible but so are the business which makes then operate at a higher level of competence. Unfortunately not everyone can drift, some people find it a step to risky to take.
This notion of risk is prominent in all aspects of life including the work place. Risk is defined as exposure to possible loss or injury in Websters dictionary. This definition can be readily applied to the notion of flexibility.
In order to be flexible you have to succumb to the fact that loss of money or life or job is a possible outcome. Risk is an evident factor involved in flexibility. Risks and risk taking has become a daily necessity shouldered by the masses (Sennett 80). You have to take risks to be fully flexible and compliant with all moves including those involved with drifting. The fact that they are as prevalent as they are today goes to show how prevalent flexibility is and how it isnt something that always pays of as a rapid reward. Risk is also something that has been around for a while, it is used to symbolize bravado and confidence both of which are necessary components needed to be flexible (Sennett 81). Another way f looking at risk is as a gambling type of situation.
According to Sennett risk is also regression to the mean. He says that each risk is similar to that of a roll of the dice. It is random, it might turn up being a good roll or a bad one. He says it is far from a narrative and how one event leads to another and so on. He says it is so random and unknown that it is essentially beyond ones control to seal his fate for sure