Charlie Chaplain's Modern Times: an Economic Analysis

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Modern Times analysis Austin Womack

From what I have seen of modern times, Charlie Chaplain works in a factory under a supervisor, who answers to the head honcho boss upstairs. His life is affected by intensity of work, his employer, technological advancement, and even a feeding machine. As he slaves away with his coworkers, they begin to panic as the workload increases.

His boss orders an increase in the speed of the workers output multiple times. This is brought on by the desire of the boss to increase production and ultimately profit. Instead of hiring more workers he chooses to overwork the ones he has. This results in a decrease in moral, which leads Charlie to be confronted by his employer. The factory’s employees do not communicate directly with their employer, instead supervisors and television screens that depict an image of the boss serve to bark orders. In one particular scene, the boss watches as Charlie smokes a cigarette in the bathroom, he then appears on a TV screen and orders Charlie to “quit stalling and get back to work.” This is not only an infringement on Charlie’s rights as an employee but it is also strange that the boss oversees his workers like a big brother.

Throughout this scene, large machines and pulsating electronic sounds give the feeling of ever-advancing technology. The boss has installed an observation network within the factory, as well as multiple monitors to communicate with his employees. These technologies as well as the introduction of the feeding machine symbolize innovation in the work environment.

A spokesman arrives at the factory with a rather peculiar looking machine. This machine, designated “the feeding machine” is advertised to limit employee’s free time in order to further increase production. The boss decides to give it a go and tests this contraption on Chaplain. During his lunch, the machine malfunctions and goes berserk; Charlie is subject to the wrath of...
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