Charlie Chaplin in one of several iconic moments in
Still, the balance between human well-being and the pursuit of efficiency tilts too often away from human interests, especially as competition between countries increases and more industries or corporations take advantage of cheaper labour in less developed countries.
Whether it is a matter of created efficiencies that allow jobs to be completed by lower skilled employees or finding a location where legislation is more lenient the pursuit of efficiency does risk tilting away from the needs of human dignity and often well-being as well. That was the case in the sweatshops of Bangladesh in April 2013, where the pursuit of cost effectiveness in clothing manufacturing was mediated enough middle men to distance the brands, corporations and consumers from the labour and working conditions. That is just the most graphic instance of this and there are instances of sweatshop conditions, use of child labour and labour disputes against First World manufacturers simmering on the back pages to indicate that the pursuit of cost effectiveness, mislabelled as efficiency, often leads to strife or the most dire of inclusions on the ledger sheet.
There ought to be a suspicion that efficiency has been achieved at a high and hidden cost, but the conscience is often ignored in favour of the numbers when the results are, indeed, to good to be true. As the pressures inherent with the pursuit of profit margins, larger corporations pressure their suppliers and contractors to work within smaller and smaller profit margins while being audited as well for their labour standards. The profit margins win out all too often and the basic threat to the human scale is to overlook the limit of not what a person or group of factory workers can or ought to be capable of, but rather what can reasonably and fairly asked of them on a day in and day out basis? As with Taylorist efficiencies in the later 19th century, the glowing outcomes end up being the result of coercion rather than an arrangement the respects the limits of people are capable of and hide the circumstances of their "achievement."