In these days of mad cow disease every single cow raised worldwide has its ear punched with a tag that tracks its every movement, from birth, through the farms it is raised on, to feedlot, and all the way to the supermarket shelf, where we’re told a single pound of hamburger can be composed of the parts of over a hundred cows.

In some grocery stores, that package of beef could well be placed there by a worker wearing the same kind of tag. The giant British supermarket Tesco, for one, tags its workers with armbands that track their productivity and movement. The idea is that this will “motivate” them to be more productive. I wonder. When you treat your workers like cattle or bar codes, can you really expect them to respond as humans?


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