When I studied Philosophy 15 years ago, I read Theodor W. Adornos texts with the mindset of a boy from the working class. I understood his message in terms of my view of the world: that all people need to be “mündig” — able to be responsible for themselves.
For me self-responsibility and being free meant to be able to care for yourself, having a job, maybe having a family and if you are lucky, to have you own house. One day our professor told us that Adorno was much more an elitist. Adorno was talking about the real “free” man. A person that owns his own means of production: an entrepreneur.
I was shocked – Adorno’s whole philosophy was about the fact that the “normal” worker was not free and that in his opinion the only freedom of a person was his economic freedom.
In this moment I started to realize my real interest in sociology. Nobody was free in an society in which he did not own his own means of production.
Adorno, coming from a family that was wealthy, his father was a wine merchant, his mother was a singer, truly understood what it meant to be financially independent. And he understood on the other hand the reality behind capitalism and the power structures of society.
I mention all these because if we understand what he says: that you need to be able to control your own source of income and that freedom is the power that you get from controlling you own means of production, we can see how this can be used to understand Friedman and Peters.
The new word for worker that Peter has given us: “Talent,” gives us the chance to see that Talent in contrast to worker controls his means of production. A talent is someone who uses his brain, his skills in a way that makes him economically independent. For more and more companies this becomes a problem. F.e. I as founder of SPRiNT iT was not able to solve this problem in the market place Scrum consulting. If you find a Talent, than the price for this talent is so hight that you have a risk of not selling this person that you can not effort the price for this talent. If you want to hire a Scrum trainer as an employee you have the same problem. These people own their own means of production. They are craftsmen. The old way of changing craftsmen into worker was to steel their know how by putting their know how into a process or a machine.
The problem that I had, do have several companies. If they do have trained a person to be a very good Scrum consultants, than this Talents are tempted to leave and to start his own Scrum business. As a business man you will loose now your investment in this person – so why educating them. The solution in the past was to give not all you knowledge away. That created a problem of controlling mechanism and so on.
So this solution is wrong. But maybe there is a better way ….