LETTERS : Russian copy

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Your editorial on the new Stakhanovism ("Welcome back, Stakhanov", 1 January) - the pressure for excessive achievement at work as a cult - is timely. There are plenty of companies who seem to think that the best way to improve what is laughably ca lled customer service is to sack most of those providing it.

However, Stakhanovism does not really have its roots in Stalinist Russia. Russia simply copied Western techniques such as Fordism and Taylorism. The origins of Stakhanovism are very close to home and lie with the redoutable Utilitarian Thomas Gradgrind.

Keith Flett Tottenham, London N17