Beer as indicator of quality over quantity
20 March 2010 1 Comment
Another interesting piece from The Curator, written by Brian Watkins, talking about one of my favorite subjects, quality versus quantity. Excerpting from his post Good Work and Beer Culture:
Beer has always been popular in our country, but always in different ways. It’s an old story to discuss the recent dominance of microbreweries over macrobreweries. The shift that we’ve seen in the last few years has gone even further. Now, even microbreweries are giving way to smaller craft breweries, and because of this trend, never in the history of our country has beer been more of an artisanal practice. This is quite an occasion.
Quite an occasion, because this example provides us with an excellent gauge for how our culture now approaches work. We can all see consumers trying to shift from quantity to quality. Toyota’s CEO recently said that their failure in manufacturing was because they had become more concerned with profit margin than with creating a quality product — ironic, since the highest quality products are starting to take in the most profit. We are becoming (we hope) more intelligent consumers who buy less crap and look for more efficient products.
How astonishingly refreshing that the CEO of a giant company would admit that they were more concerned with profit than their product — and express a (hopefully honest) desire to do something to change that. We’ve all known this was the common corporate modus operandi for years now. Watkins goes on to quote Dorothy Sayers talking about work (in the context of WWII, but very applicable to modern day):
The habit of thinking about work as something one does to make money is so ingrained in us that we can scarcely imagine what a revolutionary change it would be to think about it instead in terms of the work done. To do so would mean taking the attitude of mind we reserve for our unpaid work — our hobbies, our leisure interests, the things we make and do for pleasure — and making that the standard of all our judgments about things and people. We should ask of an enterprise, not “will it pay?” but “is it good?” . . . not merely where the profits go or what dividends are to be paid, not even merely whether the workers’ wages are sufficient and the conditions of labor satisfactory, but loudly and with a proper sense of personal responsibility: “What goes into the beer?”