deskilling

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The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

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“The data suggest that despite the substantial cost and increasing technical sophistication of EMRs, EMR use failed to achieve desirable levels of clinical improvement,” wrote the researchers. Patrick J. O’Connor et al., “Impact of an Electronic Medical Record on Diabetes Quality of Care,” Annals of Family Medicine 3, no. 4 (July 2005): 300–306. 13.Timothy Hoff, “Deskilling and Adaptation among Primary Care Physicians Using Two Work Innovations,” Health Care Management Review 36, no. 4 (2011): 338–348. 14.Schulte, “Growth of Electronic Medical Records.” 15.Hoff, “Deskilling and Adaptation.” 16.Danielle Ofri, “The Doctor vs. the Computer,” New York Times, December 30, 2010. 17.Thomas H. Payne et al., “Transition from Paper to Electronic Inpatient Physician Notes,” Journal of the American Medical Information Association 17 (2010): 108–111. 18.Ofri, “Doctor vs. the Computer.” 19.Beth Lown and Dayron Rodriguez, “Lost in Translation?

Over the last thirty years, dozens of psychologists, engineers, and ergonomics, or “human factors,” researchers have studied what’s gained and lost when pilots share the work of flying with software. They’ve learned that a heavy reliance on computer automation can erode pilots’ expertise, dull their reflexes, and diminish their attentiveness, leading to what Jan Noyes, a human-factors expert at Britain’s University of Bristol, calls “a deskilling of the crew.”19 Concerns about the unintended side effects of flight automation aren’t new. They date back at least to the early days of glass cockpits and fly-by-wire controls. A 1989 report from NASA’s Ames Research Center noted that as computers had begun to multiply on airplanes during the preceding decade, industry and governmental researchers “developed a growing discomfort that the cockpit may be becoming too automated, and that the steady replacement of human functioning by devices could be a mixed blessing.”

As physicians come to rely on computers to aid them in more facets of their everyday work, the technology is influencing the way they learn, the way they make decisions, and even their bedside manner. A study of primary-care physicians who adopted electronic records, conducted by Timothy Hoff, a professor at SUNY’s University at Albany School of Public Health, reveals evidence of what Hoff terms “deskilling outcomes,” including “decreased clinical knowledge” and “increased stereotyping of patients.” In 2007 and 2008, Hoff interviewed seventy-eight physicians from primary-care practices of various sizes in upstate New York. Three-fourths of the doctors were routinely using EMR systems, and most of them said they feared computerization was leading to less thorough, less personalized care. The physicians using computers told Hoff that they would regularly “cut-and-paste” boilerplate text into their reports on patient visits, whereas when they dictated notes or wrote them by hand they “gave greater consideration to the quality and uniqueness of the information being read into the record.”


pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

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Yachts and Ferraris just aren’t important enough to sustainably offset a broad-based reduction in demand for all the stuff that 99 percent of consumers buy. In any case, production of yachts and Ferraris will increasingly be automated. And how many personal trainers and celebrity chefs do the .01 percent really need? * This “fast food effect” may loom large for skilled workers in many other fields. Long before robots are able to completely replace these workers, technology may deskill the jobs and drive wages down. A classic example of deskilling involves London taxi drivers. Entering this profession requires memorizing an extraordinary amount of information about London’s street layout. This is referred to as “The Knowledge” and has been required of cab drivers since 1865. Neuroscientist Eleanor Maguire of University College London found that all this memorization actually resulted in changes to the drivers’ brains: London cabbies, on average, developed a larger memory center (or hippocampus) than people in other occupations.

Declining Incomes and Underemployment for Recent College Graduates A four-year college degree has come to be almost universally viewed as an essential credential for entry into the middle class. As of 2012, average hourly wages for college graduates were more than 80 percent higher than the wages of high school graduates.40 The college wage premium is a reflection of what economists call “skill biased technological change” (SBTC).* The general idea behind SBTC is that information technology has automated or deskilled much of the work handled by less educated workers, while simultaneously increasing the relative value of the more cognitively complex tasks typically performed by college graduates. Graduate and professional degrees convey still higher incomes, and in fact, since the turn of the century, things are looking quite a bit less rosy for young college graduates who don’t also have an advanced degree.

The 1980s saw increased innovation, but it became more focused in the information technology sector. This type of innovation had a different impact on workers; for those with the right skill set, computers increased their value, just as the innovations in the postwar era had done for nearly everyone. For many other workers, however, computers had a less positive effect. Some types of jobs began to be either destroyed entirely or deskilled, making workers less valuable—at least until they were able to retrain for jobs that leveraged computer technology. As information technology gained in importance, labor’s share of income gradually began to decline. Jet aircraft remained largely unchanged from the 1970s but increasingly used computers in their instrumentation and controls. The 1990s saw IT innovation accelerate even more, and the Internet took off in the second half of the decade.


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Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby

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That is undeniably a rare talent, but it’s probably not something anyone explicitly trained for, let alone did a residency in. We should pause here to mention the threat of “deskilling,” since the physician advisor’s evolution is such a prime example of it. The term, first coined by the Marxist sociologist Harry Braverman, is commonly used to describe both what automation does to jobs and what it does to the labor force. The jobs are deskilled when technologies are introduced that no longer require workers to have formerly necessary skills—meaning that semiskilled or unskilled workers can now hold those jobs. In turn, the labor force is deskilled when, enough machines having taken over a particular task, the skill becomes a “lost art” to people. A simple example courtesy of a 2014 survey of Britons: 40 percent of them admitted to relying completely on autocorrect technology to get their spelling right in daily correspondence—and more than half of those say if they were forced to go without spellcheck, they would “panic.”

A simple example courtesy of a 2014 survey of Britons: 40 percent of them admitted to relying completely on autocorrect technology to get their spelling right in daily correspondence—and more than half of those say if they were forced to go without spellcheck, they would “panic.” Yet 90 percent say it is still “absolutely crucial” for children to learn to spell properly.3 For Braverman, and many thinkers since, deskilling is a very dangerous phenomenon. As early as 1974, he was already predicting its inevitable creep into knowledge work, and worrying about the emergence of a “white collar proletariat.” We do expect deskilling to accelerate as computers take on more knowledge work tasks. Imagine the art of teaching, for example. Today a teacher in an elementary grade performs a number of important educational functions. One is to determine what content students have already mastered and what they still need to learn.

Finally, that thorough codification has made it more possible to take the ultimate step, to automation. There are already technologies that can read CT scans and MRIs and seize upon the likely lesions that may mean cancer. They highlight the suspicious spots with prominent brackets so that any doctor or nurse can see the problem. Looking ahead, as the prices of imaging devices continue to fall, the day will come when every family doctor’s office has one—thoroughly deskilling the interpretation of radiologic findings. Aunt Minnie is rolling over in her grave. Not surprisingly, the number of medical students applying for radiology internships in the United States has been dropping steadily over the past several years. But again, there are still parts of what is today a radiologist’s job in a hospital setting that no machine can perform. There is an art to getting a nervous patient properly positioned for imaging, for example (though this task is often performed by technicians, not radiologists).


pages: 423 words: 149,033

The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid by C. K. Prahalad

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barriers to entry, business process, call centre, cashless society, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, deskilling, disintermediation, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, financial intermediation, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, late fees, Mahatma Gandhi, market fragmentation, microcredit, new economy, profit motive, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, shareholder value, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, time value of money, transaction costs, working poor

Both aim to improve the quality of the life of the poor profitably. Neither compromises on world-class quality. Both have, through careful consideration of process innovation, achieved the requirements we set forth for successful BOP innovations: price performance, scaling, innovative high-technology hybrids, and sustainable, ecologically friendly development. 7. Deskilling of Work In most BOP markets there is a shortage of talent. Work must, therefore, be deskilled. One of the major goals facing the developing world and, by implication, the developed world is active surveillance of the spread of infectious diseases. The spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Products and Services for the BOP Aravind 39 Amul Origination Use of more than 1000 eye camps around the “catchment area.” Detailed routines for the conduct of eye camps.

A reliable infrastructure exists and only minor changes might have to be made for specific products. In BOP markets, the presence of a logistics infrastructure cannot be assumed. Often, innovation must focus on building a logistics infrastructure, including manufacturing that is sensitive to the prevailing conditions. Accessing potential consumers and educating them can also be a daunting task to the uninitiated. 7. Deskilling work is critical. Most BOP markets are poor in skills. The design of products and services must take into account the skill levels, poor infrastructure, and difficulty of access for service in remote areas. 8. Education of customers on product usage is key. Innovations in educating a semiliterate group on the use of new products can pose interesting challenges. Further, most of the BOP also live in “media dark” zones, meaning they do not have access to radio or TV.

They travel from all over India with their families to get treatment at Jaipur Foot but cannot afford boarding and lodging, much less stay for an extended time in a new location. The prosthetics must be custom-fitted in a day. From the perspective of Jaipur Foot, the prosthetics must be fitted with less than fully trained physicians, as there is a shortage of doctors and hospital space. The job of fitting a custom-developed artificial leg must be “deskilled.” On top of this, prices must be reasonable, as most clients are poor. They cannot afford the typical $7,000 to $8,000 per foot cost of prosthetics. At best they can afford $50. 36 The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid This might appear to be a daunting and impossible task. How can one develop a prosthetic that is more advanced in functionality, for 1/200 of the cost, can be custom-fitted by semiskilled paramedics in one visit (one day at the clinic), and last for a period of four to five years?


pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

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No previous generation has ever been exposed to such an extraordinary acceleration of technical power over reality, with corresponding social changes and ethical responsibilities.’36 It was the increase in computing power that enabled a complex global finance system. It underpinned the growth of the money supply as digital systems replaced the need for cash. It enabled the physical redistribution of production and supply to the emerging markets, where labour was cheap. It de-skilled the engineering worker, made the labour of semi-skilled workers redundant and accelerated the growth of low-skilled service work. But though info-tech has become, as Floridi writes, ‘the characteristic technology of our time’, its emergence takes the form of a disappearing act. Mainframes are born then disappear to be replaced by servers, which also disappear from corporate HQs and now sit in vast air-conditioned sheds elsewhere.

By the 1910s, for example, the glass-blower displaced by machinery becomes the projectionist in a cinema, or the worker on a car production line. When the golden age stalls, it is often because euphoria has produced sectoral over-investment, or inflation, or a hubristic war led by the dominant powers. There is usually a traumatic ‘break point’ – where uncertainty over the future of business models, currency arrangements and global stability becomes general. Now the first adaptation begins: there is an attack on wages and an attempt to de-skill the workforce. Redistribution projects, such as the welfare state or the public provision of urban infrastructure, come under pressure. Business models evolve rapidly in order to grab what profit there is; the state is urged to organize more rapid change. Recessions become more frequent. If the initial attempt to adapt fails (as it did in the 1830s, 1870s and 1920s), capital retreats from the productive sector and into the finance system, so that crises assume a more overtly financial form.

When we look closely at social history, each ‘failed adaptation’ phase happens because of working-class resistance; each successful one is organized by the state. During the first long wave, roughly between 1790 and 1848 in Britain, you have an industrial economy trapped within an aristocratic state. A prolonged crisis begins in the late 1820s, characterized by the factory owners’ determination to survive by de-skilling the workforce and cutting wages, and also by chaos in the banking system. Working-class resistance – the Chartist movement culminating in the General Strike of 1842 – forces the state to stabilize the economy. But in the 1840s a successful adaptation takes place: the Bank of England gains a monopoly over the issue of banknotes; factory legislation ends the dream of replacing the skilled male workers with women and children.


pages: 357 words: 95,986

Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams

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Capitalism has long been synonymous with rapid changes in technology: driven by the imperative to accumulate, the means of production are continually transformed.10 In the nineteenth century, agriculture began to be mechanised, and small plots of land became increasingly centralised under larger and larger industrial farms. Craftwork was transformed too, with machinery appearing as an alien intervention into the production process. Work that had traditionally been undertaken by a skilled labourer was now broken down into its deskilled constituent tasks, and often carried out using machinery.11 Workers became assigned to partial tasks, and tools that had once been governed by workers became machines that rhythmically conducted the labourers.12 Work became increasingly repetitive, deskilled and ruled by machinery – with greater demand for cheap unskilled labourers (particularly women and children).13 In the early twentieth century, this tendency began to shift with the introduction of technologies that eliminated the most routine and mundane of manual tasks (such as hauling and conveying goods).

These subsistence economies produce goods for the market – small trinkets, for example – but they are organised as non-capitalist forms of production in that they do not seek to accumulate.39 These types of economies increasingly dominate the labour market of the developing world, ranging from 30 to 80 per cent of the working population in any given country.40 A third latent group exists primarily in pre-capitalist economic formations that can be readily mobilised into the capitalist labour market. This includes the reservoir of proto-proletarians (including peasants), but this group also includes unwaged domestic labourers, as well as salaried professionals who are under threat of being returned to the proletariat, often through deskilling (for example, medical professionals, lawyers and academics).41 The importance of this group is that it forms an additional reservoir of labour for capitalism when existing labour markets are tight.42 Finally, in addition to the other strata, a vast number of people are considered economically inactive (including the discouraged, the disabled and students).43 Overall, determining the precise size and nature of the global surplus population is difficult with existing data, and subject to fluctuations as individuals move in and out of categories, but a variety of measures converge to suggest it significantly outnumbers the active working class.44 This is the crisis of work that capitalism faces in the coming years and decades: a lack of formal or decent jobs for the growing numbers of the proletarian population.

Skilled workers became increasingly necessary in overseeing the new machines, carrying out expanding service work, and managing the increasingly large firms that were emerging.14 The need for skilled labour was further amplified in the early twentieth century by the rise of office technologies – typewriters, photocopiers, and so on – that required relatively well-educated operators. In other words, technology is not uniformly deskilling, and the increased demand for skilled labour over the past century testifies to that.15 Over this period, manufacturing employment continued to decline, due to its susceptibility to productivity-enhancing technology.16 The automation of mass-production manufacturing in the early twentieth century was eventually extended, with the automation of small-batch manufacturing.17 While the industrial sector employed 1,000 robots in 1970, today it uses over 1.6 million robots.18 In terms of employment, manufacturing has reached a global saturation point.


pages: 187 words: 55,801

The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market by Frank Levy, Richard J. Murnane

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Atul Gawande, call centre, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, hypertext link, index card, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, pattern recognition, profit motive, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, talking drums, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, working poor

., electrical engineering is one of sixteen major engineering occupations classified in BLS statistics). 44 CHAPTER 3 The shift that Jeremy Rifkin feared, a “deskilled” occupational structure, requires that the total number of low-skilled jobs ( janitors plus security guards plus food preparation and service workers, etc.) increases more than the total number of higher-skilled jobs (lawyers plus doctors plus electrical engineers plus mechanical engineers, and so on). These totals are the kind of occupational categories displayed in figure 3.2, where the food preparation and service workers are included in Service Occupations. Once we move from individual job titles to occupational categories, the evidence of deskilling disappears. Between 1969 and 1999, the number of adults employed as Service Workers grew from 11.6 percent to 13.9 percent of the adult work force, but Managers, Administrators, Professional Workers, and Technicians taken together—the highest paid categories—grew from 23 percent to 33 percent.

This page intentionally left blank INDEX Abate, Gary, 79 accountability, in education reform, 134–36 accountants, 36–37 Ad Hoc Committee on the Triple Revolution, 1–2, 5, 35 after-school programs, 142 agriculture, 36–37, 102–3 aircraft design, 31–33 anti-theft car alarm, 71–72 assembly line, 15, 20–21 assessment: as component of educational standards, 135–36; in computer skills training, 123 AT&T, 99–100 ATM machines, 21 attorneys, 90–92 Autor, David, 47, 52 auto repair, 57–58, 60, 62–63, 71–72, 103–4 banking, 21, 52–53, 72–75 Basic Blue (IBM), 110–20, 128–30 behavior, modifying, in management training, 117 Behrens, John, 123, 125 Being Fluent with Information Technology (National Research Council), 107 Belous, Alex, 121, 124 Blois, Marsden, 61 body language, 29, 86–88, 91 Boeing, 31–34 bond trading, 13–14, 24 Boston, standards-based education reform in, 136–38 Boston Plan for Excellence, 137, 147 “bridge to sales,” 100–101 Brown, John Seely, 60, 94 Buckner, Tom and Rozann, 65–66 Burtless, Gary, 152 Bush, George, 134 “Cabot Bank,” 52–53, 72–75 call centers, 3, 100–102, 151 case-based reasoning, and creative thinking, 23, 59, 166n.1 Casey, Jonna, 142 CATIA computer assisted design software, 32–33 change: pace of, 101–3; three-step process of, 33–34 170 chess playing, 7, 22, 58–59 circuit boards, 78–81 Cisco Academy Training Centers, 124 Cisco Certified Networking Associate, 127–28 Cisco Learning Institute, 124 Cisco Networking Academies, 120–30 Cisco Systems, 120–30 class issue, 154–55 classroom time, 122–25, 130 Clinton, Bill, 134 coaching, for teachers, 137 cognitive tutors, computer-based, 82 Collaborative Coaching and Learning, 137 collaborative learning, 113 college graduates, wages of, 6, 44–47, 134, 154, 162n.15 combine harvester, 36 “Common Core of Learning,” 135 comparative advantage, principle of, 35–36, 47, 159n.5 compensation, for lower income families, 155 competitive advantage, 34 competitive strategies, 32–33, 43, 101 complementarity, with human labor, 14, 29–30, 34, 68, 94–95, 105 complex communication, 5–6, 9, 28–29, 47–49, 54, 76–81, 92–95, 104, 107–8, 150–51; teaching of, 109–20, 128–30, 132–33, 147–48, 156–57 computer-assisted design and manufacturing, 31–33, 79 Computerized Circuit Design (CCD), 78–81 computer prices, 105–6 computer skills, 105–8, 120–28 content, as component of educational standards, 134 context, 25, 85 conversation, and complex communication, 79–82 Cooper, Andy, 66–68 “The Corporation: Will It Be Managed by Machines?” (Simon), 8–9, 35–36, 38–39 cost savings, 33 cross-selling, 67 Current Population Survey, 44 curriculum development, 118, 121–24 customer service, 83–84, 99–101, 150–51, 164n.9 Dame, Ed, 79 Dassault Systèmes, 32–33 INDEX database, computerized, 70, 72, 84, 100–102, 150 deGroot, Andreas, 58–59 deskilling, 44 Desktop Underwriter, 17–18, 25 Deutsche Bourse (Frankfurt), 13 diagnostic process, 57–58, 60–62 Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) (U.S. Department of Labor), 49, 52 digital divide, 105–8 DiNardo, John, 107 diplomacy, 91 distance learning, 113–14, 117 division of labor, 73; use of term, 2, 159n.2 “Dorsey, Carol,” 116 Dreyfus, Stuart, 22; and Hubert Dreyfus, 160n.12 Drucker, Peter, 38, 41; Practice of Management, 7–8 Duguid, Paul, 60, 94 earnings gap.

., Transforming Traditional Agriculture, 102 scientific management, 93 secretary, 4 securities industry, 13–14, 24, 36–37, 53, 85–89, 164n.12 security guard, 41–42 self-selection, 129 shipping, computerized, 33 Silver, Dr. Jeff, 60–61 “Simmons, Mary,” 99–102, 106, 150–51 Simon, Herbert, 20, 63, 149; “The Corporation: Will It Be Managed by Machines?” 8–9, 35– 36, 38–39 simulations, 113, 127 skills, workers’, 34, 47–52. See also deskilling Smith, Adam, 2; Wealth of Nations, 73 software design, 109–10 Soltis, Jim, 110, 112, 114, 116–17 solutions, documenting. See problem documentation speech recognition software, 3, 25–26, 85, 151, 160n.10 speed, and competitiveness, 81 standards, educational, 134–35. See also education reform, standards-based 173 stockbrokers, 13–14, 24, 53, 85–89, 164n.12 substitution, for human labor, 14–15, 18, 24, 29–30, 34, 43, 54, 94, 134, 150–52 “Sylvan, Frank,” 89–92 task change, 50–53 tasks: nonroutine manual, 48, 50; routine, 37– 38, 41–42; routine cognitive, 48–52, 54; routine manual, 48, 50, 54 Taylor, Frederick, 93 Taylor, William, 144–45 teachers, 77–78, 137, 144; for computer skills training, 123–25; elementary school, 132–33; for management training, 118 teaching, 81–82; of complex communication, 109–20, 128–30, 132–33, 147–48, 156–57; of expert thinking, 120–30, 132–33, 147–48, 156–57 technicians, 38, 41, 43; auto, 57–58, 60, 62–63, 71–72, 103–4; computer programmers, 151– 52; office machine, 59–60, 69 telecommunications industry, 99–102 telegraph, 15, 160n.3 testing, standardized, 104–5, 135–36, 138–46, 148 tracking, in corporate training, 113–14, 119 trade restrictions, 154 trainers.


pages: 387 words: 110,820

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

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barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, cognitive dissonance, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management

As North reported in 1808, “To make my contract for pistols advantageous for the United States and to myself I must go to a great proportion of the expense before I deliver any pistols. I find that by confining a workman to one particular limb of the pistol until he has made two thousand, I save at least one quarter of his labor, to what I should provided (that) I finished them by small quantities; and the work will be as much better as it is quicker made.” This “de-skilling” of the gun-making process transformed gun smithing from a masterly craft to a well orchestrated routine, thereby growing efficiencies well beyond expectations. North not only fulfilled the terms of his contract within his deadline, but was awarded another one to produce an additional twenty thousand pistols, the components of which were “to correspond so exactly that any limb or part of one pistol may be fitted to any other pistol of the twenty thousand.”

LEGIONS OF PH.D.’S have for decades studied the intricacies of why people are willing to pay what they do, yet pricing remains a most imperfect “science.” In the words of one economist, “For most businesses, pricing is a profit-leaking paradox.” Blame this on Wanamaker’s scrappy invention, the price tag. Virtually the opposite of auctions, price tags fix the price and discourage bargaining, thereby de-skilling the salesclerk’s job. Lower-skilled jobs are lower-paying jobs, so this saves retailers money. But fixed prices also carry a significant cost: By reducing or even eliminating the possibility of price negotiation, they create gaps between supply and demand, leaving stores holding too much of what customers aren’t willing to pay for and selling too cheaply merchandise for which customers would be willing to pay more.

None was born into the business he would one day dominate, and perhaps as a consequence none felt bound by traditional business practices. Neither Woolworth nor Walton showed any particular allegiance to his workers or provided for them beyond the minimum level necessary to promote profit. At IKEA, workers are treated with respect and consideration (they get benefits and sometimes bonuses), but they are interchangeable and ultimately disposable. The de-skilling of labor is as critical to IKEA’s business model as it is for every discount business model: Centralized capital, not craftsmanship, is where the power lies. This is no socialist screed, it is undeniable fact, and to accept it is to better understand the trade-offs. Outsourcing to the customer critical functions—service, delivery, and assembly—keeps prices low by avoiding the cost of wages and benefits.


pages: 209 words: 89,619

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class by Guy Standing

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8-hour work day, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, corporate governance, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, deskilling, fear of failure, full employment, hiring and firing, Honoré de Balzac, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, lump of labour, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mini-job, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nudge unit, pensions crisis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, precariat, presumed consent, quantitative easing, remote working, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, Tobin tax, transaction costs, universal basic income, unpaid internship, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population, young professional

The Japanese transformation of salaryman may be an extreme case. But one can see how someone psychologically trapped in long-term employment loses control and drifts closer to a form of precarious dependency. If the ‘parent’ becomes displeased, or is unable or unwilling to continue the fictive parental role, the person will be plunged into the precariat, without the skills of autonomy and developmental prowess. Long-term employment can deskill. As elaborated elsewhere (Standing, 2009), this was one of the worst aspects of the era of labourism. Although one must beware of stretching the definition too far, another feature of precariatisation is what should be called fictitious occupational mobility, epitomised by the postmodernist phenomenon of ‘uptitling’, elegantly satirised by The Economist (2010a). Someone in a static, going-nowhere job is given a high-sounding epithet to conceal precariat tendencies.

Competitiveness through use of temporary labour is increasingly important in the global system as companies seek to emulate what is done in other countries and by market leaders in their sector – a pattern known as ‘the dominance effect’. Multinationals try to establish their employment model in places where they set up subsidiaries, usually edging out local practices. Thus McDonald’s ‘best practice’ model involves deskilling, removal of long-serving employees, union busting, and lower wages and enterprise benefits. Others follow suit. Observers have highlighted the repertoires of labour practices on which managers can draw (Amoore, 2000; Sklair, 2002; Elger and Smith, 2006; Royle and Ortiz, 2009). Some use ‘yellow unions’ – set up and run by employers – to defeat independent unions. A global model is emerging in which corporate, technological and political factors influence the choice of tactics.

It is no surprise that the post-2008 scene in the United States produced part-time mini-financiers doing deals from their bedrooms or kitchens for a few clients, imagined as well as real. Stratification is going deep into all sorts of occupations. With job insecurity the flip side of functional flexibility and linked to re-regulation of occupations, enterprises can stratify workers almost along class lines, shunting less effective performers into dead-end or deskilling jobs while reserving salaried posts that preserve occupational credentials for favourites. Although stratifying decisions may be grounded in assessments of capacities, control of occupational structures by managers and administrative rules increases the scope for diverting people from a professional niche into a precariat channel. This may feed back into learning decisions. Why invest in an occupational skill if I have no control over how I can use and develop it?


pages: 323 words: 90,868

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century by Ryan Avent

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3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, very high income, working-age population

Uber entered markets with a new business structure that took advantage of technology – smartphones equipped with GPS – that made that prior knowledge (and ‘the knowledge’) much less important and valuable, and which made the process of getting a cab easier and faster for users. In doing so it allowed relatively unskilled drivers to enter the business in vast numbers; many more people can operate a smartphone than can learn the entire maze that is London. It routinized and deskilled the labour involved. The cleverness of the technology at work and the business model are such that the cost of cab rides to users is often lower than the cost of taking a traditional cab, while Uber drivers, according to one analysis at least, earn more money per hour than traditional drivers: about $19 per hour compared to roughly $13 per hour for taxi drivers as a whole. (Cheaper cab rides can occur alongside higher wages because Uber’s technology allows drivers to use their time more effectively.)6 The parallel is not perfect, however.

(Cheaper cab rides can occur alongside higher wages because Uber’s technology allows drivers to use their time more effectively.)6 The parallel is not perfect, however. Uber’s success rests on the clever sidestepping of taxicab and employment regulation (tricks that have earned it significant legal scrutiny and which may not survive sustained legal challenges). Yet the firm’s business does demonstrate how the technological deskilling of an occupation can lead to both a better experience for consumers and better pay for some workers. Yet the example is not especially cheering. Many more of the digital revolution’s disruptive business models work by reducing employment of less-skilled workers than by creating new opportunities for them. Other labour-intensive apps – such as TaskRabbit, which allows users to hire people for short-term gigs as errand-runners – work not because they make unskilled labour vastly more productive, but because unskilled labour is abundant and cheap enough to make it economical to harness such workers to do unproductive jobs: waiting in queues, for example.

Acemoglu, Daron ageing populations agency, concept of Airbnb Amazon American Medical Association (AMA) anarchism Andreessen, Marc Anglo-Saxon economies Apple the iPhone the iPod artisanal goods and services Atkinson, Anthony Atlanta, Georgia austerity policies automation in car plants fully autonomous trucks of ‘green jobs’ during industrial revolution installation work as resistant to low-pay as check on of menial/routine work self-driving cars and technological deskilling automobiles assembly-line techniques automated car plants and dematerialization early days of car industry fully autonomous trucks self-driving cars baseball Baumol, William Belgium Bernanke, Ben Bezos, Jeff black plague (late Middle Ages) Boston, Massachusetts Brazil BRIC era Bridgewater Associates Britain deindustrialization education in extensions of franchise in financial crisis (2008) Great Exhibition (London 1851) housing wealth in and industrial revolution Labour Party in liberalization in political fractionalization in real wages in social capital in surpassed by US as leading nation wage subsidies in Brontë, Charlotte Brynjolfsson, Erik bubbles, asset-price Buffalo Bill (William Cody) BuzzFeed Cairncross, Frances, The Death of Distance (1997) capital ‘deepening’ infrastructure investment investment in developing world career, concept of cars see automobiles Catalan nationalism Central African Republic central banks Chait, Jonathan Charlotte chemistry, industrial Chicago meat packers in nineteenth-century expansion of World’s Columbia Exposition (1893) China Deng Xiaoping’s reforms economic slow-down in era of rapid growth foreign-exchange reserves ‘green jobs’ in illiberal institutions in inequality in iPod assembly in technological transformation in wage levels in Chorus (content-management system) Christensen, Clayton Cisco cities artisanal goods and services building-supply restrictions growth of and housing costs and industrial revolution and information membership battles in rich/skilled and social capital clerical work climate change Clinton, Hillary Coase, Ronald Columbia University, School of Mines communications technology communism communities of affinity computing app-based companies capability thresholds cloud services cycles of experimentation desktop market disk-drive industry ‘enterprise software’ products exponential progress narrative as general purpose technology hardware and software infrastructure history of ‘Moore’s Law’ and productivity switches transistors vacuum tubes see also digital revolution; software construction industry regulations on Corbyn, Jeremy Corliss steam engine corporate power Cowen, Tyler craft producers Craigslist creative destruction the Crystal Palace, London Dalio, Ray Dallas, Texas debt deindustrialization demand, chronically weak dematerialization Detroit developing economies and capital investment and digital revolution era of rapid growth and industrialization pockets of wealth in and ‘reshoring’ phenomenon and sharp slowdown and social capital see also emerging economies digital revolution and agency and company cultures and developing economies and distance distribution of benefits of dotcom tech boom emergence of and global imbalances and highly skilled few and industrial institutions and information flows investment in social capital niche markets pace of change and paradox of potential productivity and output and secular stagnation start-ups and technological deskilling techno-optimism techno-pessimism as tectonic economic transformation and trading patterns web journalism see also automation; computing; globalization discrimination and exclusion ‘disruption’, phenomenon of distribution of wealth see inequality; redistribution; wealth and income distribution dotcom boom eBay economics, classical The Economist education in emerging economies during industrial revolution racial segregation in USA and scarcity see also university education electricity Ellison, Glenn Ellison, Sara Fisher emerging economies deindustrialization economic growth in education in foreign-exchange reserves growth in global supply chains highly skilled workers in see also developing economies employment and basic income policy cheap labour as boost to and dot.com boom in Europe and financial crisis (2008) ‘green jobs’ low-pay sector minimum wage impact niche markets in public sector ‘reshoring’ phenomenon as rising globally and social contexts and social membership as source of personal identity and structural change trilemma in USA see also labour; wages Engels, Friedrich environmental issues Etsy euro- zone Europe extreme populist politics liberalized economies political fractionalization in European Union Facebook face-recognition technology factors of production land see also capital; labour ‘Factory Asia’ factory work assembly-line techniques during industrial revolution family fascism Federal Reserve financial crisis (2008) financial markets cross-border capital flows in developing economies Finland firms and companies Coase’s work on core competencies culture of dark matter (intangible capital) and dematerialization and ‘disruption’ ‘firm-specific’ knowledge and information flows internal incentive structures pay of top executives shifting boundaries of social capital of and social wealth start-ups Ford, Martin, Rise of the Robots (2015) Ford Motor Company fracking France franchise, electoral Friedman, Milton Fukuyama, Francis Gates, Bill gender discrimination general purpose technologies enormous benefits from exponential progress and skilled labour supporting infrastructure and time lags see also digital revolution Germany ‘gig economy’ Glaeser, Ed global economy growth in supply chains imbalances lack of international cooperation savings glut and social consensus globalization hyperglobalization and secular stagnation and separatist movements Goldman Sachs Google Gordon, Robert Gothenburg, Sweden Great Depression Great Depression (1930s) Great Exhibition, London (1851) Great Recession Great Stagnation Greece ‘green jobs’ growth, economic battle over spoils of boom (1994-2005) and classical economists as consistent in rich countries decline of ‘labour share’ dotcom boom emerging economies gains not flowing to workers and industrial revolution Kaldor’s ‘stylized facts of’ and Keynes during liberal era pie metaphor in post-war period and quality of institutions and rich/elite cities rich-poor nation gap and skilled labour guilds Hansen, Alvin Hayes, Chris, The Twilight of the Elites healthcare and medicine hedge funds and private equity firms Holmes, Oliver Wendell Hong Kong housing in Bay-Area NIMBY campaigns against soaring prices pre-2008 crisis zoning and regulations Houston, Texas Huffington Post human capital Hungary IBM identity, personal immigration and ethno-nationalist separatism and labour markets in Nordic countries and social capital income distribution see inequality; redistribution; wealth and income distribution India Indonesia industrial revolution automation during and economic growth and growth of cities need for better-educated workers and productivity ‘second revolution’ and social change and wages and World’s Fairs inequality and education levels between firms and housing wealth during industrial revolution during liberal era between nations pay of top executives rise of in emerging economies and secular stagnation in Sweden wild contingency of wealth see also rich people; wealth and income distribution inflation in 1970s hyperinflation information technology see computing Intel interest rates International Space Station (ISS) iRobot ISIS Italy Jacksonville, Florida Jacquard, Joseph Marie Japan journalism Kaldor, Nicholas Keynes, John Maynard Kurzweil.


pages: 86 words: 27,453

Why We Work by Barry Schwartz

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Atul Gawande, call centre, deskilling, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, if you build it, they will come, invisible hand, job satisfaction, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Toyota Production System

If lesson plans were tied to tests, teachers’ scripts would tell them what to do to get the students ready. All teachers, novice or expert, weak or strong, would be required to follow the standardized system. Teachers on the front lines often complain about what is left out of the teach-to-test paradigm, pointing out that at best, these tests are only one indicator of student learning. One of the chief criticisms many teachers make is that the system is dumbing down their teaching. It is de-skilling them. It is not allowing them to use their judgment, nor is it helping them to develop the judgment they need to teach well. They are encouraged, says education scholar Linda Darling-Hammond, “to present material that [is] beyond the grasp of some and below the grasp of others, to sacrifice students’ internal motivations and interests in the cause of ‘covering the curriculum,’ and to forgo the teachable moment, when students [are] ready and eager to learn, because it [happens] to fall outside of the prescribed sequence of activities.”

Sooner or later, turning out kids who can turn out the right answers the way you turn out screws, or hubcaps, or pins, comes to seem like normal practice. Virtually all of the practices that we’ve learned lead to good work are violated by the reliance on detailed scripts to produce assembly-line education. It is the very antithesis of smart job design. Over time, it is sure to produce the antithesis of smart performance. And the most tragic consequence of this de-skilling is that it will either drive the energy, engagement, and enthusiasm out of good teachers, or it will drive these good teachers out of education. But there is another aspect of many modern work settings that may be even more destructive to good work than routinization and excessive supervision. That is the reliance on material incentives as the principal motivator of employees. Carefully crafted incentive schemes, designed to assure top performance, can often produce the opposite—competition among employees, and efforts to game the system and look good on whatever metric is being used to assign pay and bonuses without actually producing the underlying results that the metric is meant to assess.


pages: 464 words: 116,945

Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, California gold rush, call centre, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, falling living standards, fiat currency, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Food sovereignty, Frank Gehry, future of work, global reserve currency, Guggenheim Bilbao, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, peak oil, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wages for housework, Wall-E, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

One important direction in capital–labour relations has been towards deskilling, a phenomenon that Marx noted in Capital and which was brought back centre stage in Harry Braverman’s influential and controversial book Labor and Monopoly Capital, published in 1974.1 Braverman argued that capital, particularly in its monopoly form, had a vested interest in degrading skills and so destroying any sense of pride that might attach to working for capital, while disempowering labour particularly at the point of production. There had been a long history of struggle over this. In the nineteenth century the ideologists of capital – Charles Babbage and Andrew Ure in particular – were much cited by Marx as evidence of capital’s penchant for deskilling. Braverman likewise made much of Frederick Taylor’s efforts at scientific management to disaggregate production processes to the point where a ‘trained gorilla’ would be able to undertake production tasks.

A viable long-term and imaginative answer to this question has to be devised by any anti-capitalist movement. Commensurate organised action and planning to meet the new eventualities and the provision of sufficient use values must be thought through and gradually implemented. This has to be done at the same time as the left has also to mount a rearguard action against the technologies of increasingly predatory practices of accumulation by dispossession, further bouts of deskilling, the advent of permanent joblessness, ever-increasing social inequality and accelerating environmental degradation. The contradiction that faces capital morphs into a contradiction that necessarily gets internalised within anti-capitalist politics. Contradiction 9 Divisions of Labour The division of labour should, by rights, be positioned as one of the foundational features of what capital is all about.

The ‘science’ involved here was one in which time and motion studies were brought together with techniques of specialisation to simplify all the tasks, to maximise the efficiency and minimise the costs of production in any given sector or individual firm. Both Marx and Braverman recognised that some reskilling would be required to implement the extensive organisational and technical changes involved in deskilling the mass of the workers. The introduction of the assembly line empowered the engineers who installed it and managed it, just as the engineers involved in robotisation or the deployment of computers had to acquire new skills to undertake their tasks. Critics of Marx and of Braverman have pointed out, correctly, that the writings of Babbage, Ure and Taylor were essentially utopian tracts that were never fully implemented, in part because of intense resistance on the part of workers and in part because the evolutionary path of technological change was and is not uniquely directed to labour control.


pages: 429 words: 114,726

The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise by Nathan L. Ensmenger

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barriers to entry, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, deskilling, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Grace Hopper, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, loose coupling, new economy, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, performance metric, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the market place, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Y2K

A number of potential solutions were proposed: the use of aptitude tests and personnel profiles to identify the truly gifted superprogrammers; updated training standards and computer science curricula; and new management methods that would allow for the use of less-skilled laborers. The most popular and widely adopted solution, however, was the development of automatic programming technologies. These new tools promised to “eliminate the middleman” by allowing users to program their computers directly, without the need for expensive programming talent.2 The computer would program itself. Despite their associations with deskilling and routinization, automatic programming systems could also work to the benefit of occupational programmers and academic computer scientists. High-level programming promised to reduce the tedium associated with machine coding, and allowed programmers to focus on more system-oriented—and high-status—tasks such as analysis and design. Language design and development served as a focus for productive theoretical research, and helped establish computer science as a legitimate academic discipline.

In Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century, Braverman argued that the basic social function of engineers and managers was to oversee the fragmentation, routinization, and mechanization of labor. Cloaked in the language of progress and efficiency, the process of routinization was characterized primarily as a means of disciplining and controlling a recalcitrant workforce. The ultimate result was the deskilling and degradation of the worker. In his 1977 book Programmers and Managers: The Routinization of Computer Programming in the United States, Kraft described a similar process at work in the computer industry. “Programmers, systems analysts, and other software workers are experiencing efforts to break down, simplify, routinize, and standardize their own work so that it, too, can be done by machines rather than people.”

His analysis was remarkably comprehensive, covering such issues as training and education, structured programming techniques (“the software manager’s answer to the conveyor belt”), the social organization of the workplace (aimed at reinforcing the fragmentation between “head” planning and “hand” labor), and careers, pay, and professionalism (encouraged by managers as a means of discouraging unions). Greenbaum followed Kraft’s conclusions and methodology closely in her book In the Name of Efficiency: Management Theory and Shopfloor Practice in Data-Processing Work in 1979. More recently, she has defended their application of the Braverman deskilling hypothesis: “If we strip away the spin words used today like ‘knowledge’ worker, ‘flexible’ work, and ‘high tech’ work, and if we insert the word ‘information system’ for ‘machinery,’ we are still talking about management attempts to control and coordinate labor processes.”30 There is validity to both interpretations of the changing attitude of managers toward programmers that occurred in the late 1960s.


pages: 361 words: 83,886

Inside the Robot Kingdom: Japan, Mechatronics and the Coming Robotopia by Frederik L. Schodt

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carbon-based life, computer age, computer vision, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, factory automation, game design, guest worker program, industrial robot, Jacques de Vaucanson, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

The movement of a painting or arc-welding robot's arm is a digitalization of that of a skilled worker; it is programmed to imitate and usurp his actions. One result is a polarization of skills. More and more people with advanced skills are needed to maintain the equipment and to program it, but others find themselves doing tasks that have been "de-skilled"—merely stacking widgets for the robot to handle, or pushing a button. De-skilling carries with it special hidden dangers for Japan. Many Japanese pride themselves on their craftsmanship, and in conversation the expression "we Japanese are clever with our hands" is used to imply the superiority of everything from Japanese products to the Japanese race itself. And Japanese are dexterous: foreigners marveling over Japan's postwar economic miracle would do well to look not only at books on management but also at clerks carefully wrapping gifts in department stores.

It's taken us forty years to rise to our current position, and this is largely due to our use of machines. If we look at the evolution of machines, we can divide them into four stages—of labor saving through automation; materials saving through multimodel, small batch production; energy saving, as in more efficient machinery; and finally, what I call skill-saving machinery, as in the case of the sushi robot."4 "Skill saving" is the flip side of "de-skilling." Sushi robots augment the work of a skilled chef or amplify the skills of an amateur—for take-out orders and quick snacks where time, rather than formality and tradition, is important and where the store can ill afford to hire another fully trained, highly paid chef. But skill saving is obviously not limited to the world of sushi. In traditional manufacturing industries, industrial robots combining both skill and labor saving can produce results that are even more dramatic.

See NC machine tools comic books, 73, 75, 79, 81-84,152 continuous path, 36 craftsmanship: as factor in economic success, 162-63; tradition of, 57 cybernetics, 31, 63, 205 Cyborg, 205 Cybot society, 205 Daedalus, 55 Dainichi Kiko, 107,137 Daiwa House Industry, 178-79 dashi floats, 63 definitions of robots: 43, International Standards Organization (ISO), 40; JIRA, 37-38; Kojien, 30; RIA, 37; Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 29 degrees of freedom, 35 deindustrialization, 184-85,187-89 Deming, W Edward, 139 Deming Award, 117 design: of ART project robots, 225-33; of industrial robots, 126-27,173-75; of toy robots, 95-98,105 "de-skilling," 163,172 Devol, George C, 31-34, 37, 44, 111 direct-drive robots, 129,149 Doraemon, 80-81,107 dynamic stability, 230 Emperor of Japan, opinion on technology of, 77 Engelberger, Joseph E, 17, 33-35, 43, 111, 113-14,117,122,134,189,196. See also Joseph E Engelberger Award ETL (Electrotechnical Laboratory), 43, 217-18 exoskeletons, 49, 87 Expo '85,13, 203, 207 exports: of industrial robots, 127,130,145,148; of toy robots, 91-95,101-104,106 Extraordinary Measures Law for Promotion of Specific Electronic and Machinery Industries, 43,112 FA (factory automation), 40-42, 45 factionalism, 221-22 "Factory of the Future," 44,134 fantasy robots: as "cuddly machines," 79-81; effect of peace ideology on, 82; Japanese and American animation titles, 85; warrior robots, 82-90, Fanuc: description of plants, 131-34; discipline at, 140-41; history of, 134; lack of QC circles at, 139; problems with GMF, 147-48; profits of, 137; quality control at, 139; strengths of, 144; venture with General Electric, 148; venture with GMF, 143-49; workers at, 138-41 fatalities, robot caused, 164 feedback, 31-32, 48, 216 Fifth Generation Project, 222 fixed-sequence robot, 45 57 flexible automation, 180, 226; Casio's implementation of, 46-48; Devol's concept of, 31; need for, 112,120,125 FMS (flexible manufacturing systems), 44, 45 Frankenstein, 56, 78, 198 "Frankenstein complex," 198-99 Fujiko Fujio, 80 fukoku kyohei ("rich nation, strong military"), 74 genba shugi, 162 gijutsu rikkoku, 43 GM (General Motors), 18, 126, 143-48; problems with robots at, 148,150 GMF Robotics, 142-49 Gobe-e, Zeniya, 71 Gobots, 97 Golem, 199 governor, 57, 60-61 government policies, 93-94,121-24 Gundam.


pages: 351 words: 100,791

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction by Matthew B. Crawford

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airport security, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, David Brooks, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, digital Maoism, Google Glasses, hive mind, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, large denomination, new economy, new new economy, online collectivism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

They establish narrow and highly structured patterns of attention—what I shall be calling ecologies of attention—that can give coherence to our mental lives, however briefly. In such an ecology, the perception of a skilled practitioner is “tuned” to the features of the environment that are pertinent to effective action; extraneous information is dampened and irrelevant courses of action disappear. As a result, choice is simplified and momentum builds. Action becomes unimpeded. In a previous book, Shop Class as Soulcraft, I wrote about the de-skilling of everyday life. The core theme was individual agency: the experience of seeing a direct effect of your actions in the world, and knowing that these actions are genuinely your own. I suggested that genuine agency arises not in the context of mere choices freely made (as in shopping) but rather, somewhat paradoxically, in the context of submission to things that have their own intractable ways, whether the thing be a musical instrument, a garden, or the building of a bridge.

Perhaps we are all becoming autistic, in this broad sense. If so, it is not without reason. As the world becomes more confusing, seemingly controlled by vast impersonal forces (e.g., “globalization” or “collateralized debt obligations”) that no single individual can fully bring within view; as the normative expectation becomes to land a cubicle job, in which the chain of cause and effect can be quite dispersed and opaque; as home life becomes deskilled (we outsource our cooking to corporations, our house repairs to immigrant guest workers); as the material basis of modern life becomes ever more obscured, and the occasions for skillful action are removed to sites overseas, where things are made; to sites nearby but socially invisible, where things are tended and repaired; and to sites unknown, where elites orchestrate commercial and political forces—when all of this is the case, the experience of individual agency becomes somewhat elusive.

Our efforts on that front get confused and misdirected when we live under a public doctrine of individualism that systematically dismantles shared frames of meaning. The reason we need such frames is that only within them can we differentiate ourselves as not merely different, but excellent. Without that vertical dimension, we get the sameness of mass solipsism rather than true individuality. The de-skilling of everyday life, which is a function of our economy, thus has implications that reach far beyond the economy. It is integral to a larger set of developments that continue to reshape the kinds of selves we become, and the set of human possibilities that remains open to us. 9 THE CULTURE OF PERFORMANCE In The Weariness of the Self, Alain Ehrenberg offers a cultural history of depression.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

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Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, borderless world, British Empire, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, planetary scale, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl

To find patterns of regularity behind this confusing scene, we must have the patience to abstract successive layers of social causation, to first deconstruct, then reconstruct the emerging pattern of work, workers, and labor organization that characterize the new, informational society. Let us start with information technology. Mechanization first, automation later, have been transforming human labor for decades, always triggering similar debates around issues of workers’ displacement, deskilling versus reskilling, productivity versus alienation, management control versus labor autonomy.48 To follow a French “filière” of analysis over the past half-century, Georges Friedmann criticized “le travail en miettes” (piecemeal work) of the Taylorist factory; Pierre Naville denounced the alienation of workers under mechanization; Alain Touraine, on the basis of his pioneering sociological study in the late 1940s on the technological transformation of Renault factories, proposed his typology of work processes as A/B/C (craft, assembly line, and innovation work); Serge Mallet announced the birth of “a new working class” focused on the capacity to manage and operate advanced technology; and Benjamin Coriat analyzed the emergence of a post-Fordist model in the labor process, on the basis of linking up flexibility and integration in a new model of relationships between production and consumption.

As for office automation, it has gone through three different phases, largely determined by available technology.55 In the first phase, characteristic of the 1960s and 1970s, mainframe computers were used for batch processing of data; centralized computing by specialists in data-processing centers formed the basis of a system characterized by the rigidity and hierarchical control of information flows; data entry operations required substantial efforts since the goal of the system was the accumulation of large amounts of information in a central memory; work was standardized, routinized, and, in essence, deskilled for the majority of clerical workers, in a process analyzed, and denounced, by Braverman in his classic study.56 The following stages of automation, however, were substantially different. The second phase, in the early 1980s, was characterized by the emphasis on the use of microcomputers by the employees in charge of the actual work process; although they were supported by centralized databases, they interacted directly in the process of generating information, although often requiring the support of computer experts.

However, since this labor practice relies essentially on the occupational subservience of highly educated Japanese women, which will not last for ever, I propose the hypothesis that it is just a matter of time until the hidden flexibility of the Japanese labor market diffuses to the core labor force, calling into question what has been the most stable and productive labor relations system of the late industrial era.129 Thus, overall, there is indeed a fundamental transformation of work, workers, and working organizations in our societies, but it cannot be apprehended in the traditional categories of obsolete debates over the “end of work” or the “deskilling of labor.”130 The prevailing model for labor in the new, information-based economy is that of a core labor force, formed by information-based managers and by those whom Reich calls “symbolic analysts,” and a disposable labor force that can be automated and/or hired/fired/offshored, depending upon market demand and labor costs. Furthermore, the networked form of business organization allows outsourcing and subcontracting as forms of externalizing labor in a flexible adaptation to market conditions.


pages: 231 words: 73,818

The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life by Bernard Roth

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Albert Einstein, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, deskilling, fear of failure, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, school choice, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

In this society, machines do most of the work, and the jobs left for the majority of the human population provide no satisfaction. A more nuanced understanding of the changes brought about by the way people choose to develop technology can be found in Harry Braverman’s scholarly treatise Labor and Monopoly Capital. Braverman points out that work that allows for self-expression satisfies human needs, and he traces the roots of the trend toward deskilling of both work and workers. In Braverman’s terms, the machines that enhance people’s skills are considered life-supporting, while those that deskill people and devalue their work are life-destroying.2 Perhaps the best spokesperson for the need to define the proper role of machines is Mahatma Gandhi. Asked whether he was opposed to machines, he answered,3 How can I be when I know that even this body is a most delicate piece of machinery? The spinning wheel is a machine, a little toothpick is a machine.


pages: 251 words: 76,128

Borrow: The American Way of Debt by Louis Hyman

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asset-backed security, barriers to entry, big-box store, cashless society, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, deindustrialization, deskilling, diversified portfolio, financial innovation, Ford paid five dollars a day, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, market bubble, McMansion, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Network effects, new economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, Ronald Reagan, statistical model, technology bubble, transaction costs, women in the workforce

The new discounters of 1962, however, marked a break with those hucksters and wholesalers. Their low prices relied on organizational innovation, not sleight of hand or damaged goods. Modeling themselves on the supermarkets of the 1920s and ’30s that had crowded out the old grocers, the discounters ran a cash-only, self-service business. Rejiggering prices and service in the new era of cheap transportation and production, discounters reinvented U.S. retail by de-skilling traditional sales work and cutting prices. The discount store’s rise was made possible by the collapse of an older retail model braced by law—in this case the fair-trade laws of the 1930s. State legislatures had passed the laws during the early 1930s in response to what was called the “chain store menace.”2 Chain stores, all too familiar today, were the hottest things in town in the 1920s. In 1920, chain stores sold 4 percent of all goods; by 1929, they sold 20 percent.

Whereas downtown department stores paid 30 percent of their sales volume in wages, discount stores paid as little as 8 percent. Self-service, it was thought, also encouraged impulse buying since shoppers could emotionally connect with freely caressed merchandise. Centralized checkout meant that a customer paid only once, not many times throughout the store, thus trimming the moment of pain. In this world of cheap goods and de-skilled labor, discounters could thrive. Their prices could be lower yet still profitable. For discounters, innovative merchandising drove growth, while department stores relied on credit to expand sales.9 One discounter, however, stood apart from the rest, and, unlike Kmart and Target, it began without a department store or dime store parent company. At its outset in 1962, this discounter was so small-time that it was not even mentioned in a comprehensive national survey of all the discounters in the United States.


pages: 372 words: 152

The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin

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banking crisis, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, cashless society, collective bargaining, computer age, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, general-purpose programming language, George Gilder, global village, hiring and firing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land reform, low skilled workers, means of production, new economy, New Urbanism, pink-collar, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, Thorstein Veblen, Toyota Production System, trade route, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

This other world is filling up with millions of alienated workers who are experiencing rising levels of 182 THE P RIC E 0 F PRO G RES S stress in high-tech work environments and increasing job insecurity as the Third Industrial Revolution winds its way into every industry and sector. HIGH-TECH STRESS Much has been said and written about quality-control circles, teamwork, and greater participation by employees at the worksite. Little, however, has been said or written about the de-skilling of work, the accelerating pace of production, the increased workloads, and the new forms of coercion and subtle intimidation that are used to force worker compliance with the requirements of post-Fordist production practices. The new information technologies are designed to remove whatever vestigial control workers still exercise over the production process by programming detailed instructions directly into the machine, which then carries them out verbatim.

See Violence and crime Crop Rotation Planning System (CROPS), 113-14 Crystal Court Shopping Mall, 153 CUC International, 157 Cybernation revolution, 81-82 Daily News, 87 Davidow, William, 105 Day ojProsperity, The (Devinne), 46 Debts/deficits, worldwide, 37-38 Deere, John, 110 Defense industry, 38 Deficits. See Debts/deficits, worldwide De Martino, Nick, 161 Democratic movements, third! volunteer sector and, 278-86 Depression of 1929 impact of, on consumption, 23-24 share the work movement and, 25-29 Descartes, Rene, 43 -44 De-skilling of the workforce, 182- 86 Devinne, Paul, 46 Diamond Match Co., 128, 129 Di Bari, Vince, 160 Digital Equipment, 225, 226 Dismukes, George, 209 Dodge, Charles, 160 Dohse, Knuth, 183 Dominican Republic, third/volunteer sector in, 282 Domino Golden Syrup, 22 Donahue, Thomas R., 230 Dragon Systems, 61 Drake, Beam, Morin, 200 Dreyfus, 268 Drucker, Peter, 8, 12, 129, 171, 176 Duchin, Faye, 148 Dun & Bradstreet Software, 150 Dunlop, 137 Durning, Alan, 246 Eastern Europe, third/volunteer sector in, 279-80 Eastman, George, 129 Eastman Kodak, 105, 128 Eccles, Marriner, 31 Eckert, J.

., 266 Werner, Heinz, 203 Western Railroad, 92- 93 Whirlpool, 204 White collar jobs, impact of re-engineering on, 9 Wholesale sector, downsizing in, 151-52 Who Needs the Negro? (Willhelm), 79 Wilkinson, George, 195 Wilkinson, John, 123 Willhelm, Sidney, 77, 79, 80 Williams, Lynn, 224, 230 Wilson, William Julius, 76 Winpisinger, William, 8, 135 Womack, James, 94-95, 96, 99,100 Woolridge, Charles, 45 Workforce college graduates in the, 172 creation of the knowledge class, 174-76 creation of new cosmopolitans, 172-77 decline in wages for the, 168, 170 de-skilling of the, 182- 86 example of how trickle-down technology does not work, 165-66 impact of de-unionization on the, 168 impact of globalization on the, 169 impact of restructuring on middle management, 7, 170-72 part-time jobs for, 167-68 statistics on unemployment! underemployed, 166-67 two-tier system, 190- 94 violence, 196 Works Progress Administration (WPA),30 Workweek, reasons for an increase in hours in the, 223 Workweek, shortened historical development of, 221-23 labor's view of, 229-30 need for management to give in to, 229-33 public's interest in, 233 - 35 recent demands for, 224-27 share the work movement and, 26-29 women and, 234 World fairs, 48-49 World Labour Report, 201 Wyss, David, 34 Xerox, 148 XLAYER,114 Young, Jeffrey, 9 Youth violence, 209-11 Zaire, third/volunteer sector in, 283 Zalusky, John, 229-30 Zenith, 204-5 Zhirinovsky, Vladimir, 214-15 Zuse, Konrad, 64


pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

The basic theme of the discussion was around the notion that this time—because of the acceleration of computing technologies in the workplace—there would be no Keynesian solution in which the economy created new job categories. Like Martin Ford, Brynjolfsson and McAfee chronicled a growing array of technological applications that were redefining the workplace, or seemed poised on the brink of doing so. Of the wave of new critiques, David Autor’s thesis was perhaps the most compelling. However, even he began to hedge in 2014, based on a report that indicated a growing “deskilling” of the U.S. workforce and a declining demand for jobs that required cognitive skills. He worried that the effect was creating a downward ramp. The consequence, argued Paul Beaudry, David A. Green, and Ben Sand in a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper, was that higher-skilled workers tended to push lower-skilled workers out of the workforce.25 Although they have no clear evidence directly related to the deployment of particular types of technologies, the analysis of the consequences for the top of the workforce is chilling.

We go on to show that, in response to this demand reversal, high-skilled workers have moved down the occupational ladder and have begun to perform jobs traditionally performed by lower-skilled workers.”26 Yet despite fears of a “job apocalypse” based on machines that can see, hear, speak, and touch, once again the workforce has not behaved as if there will be a complete collapse precipitated by technological advance in the immediate future. Indeed, in the decade from 2003 to 2013, the size of the U.S. workforce increased by more than 5 percent, from 131.4 million to 138.3 million—although, to be sure, this was a period during which the population grew by more than 9 percent. If not complete collapse, the slowing growth rate suggested a more turbulent and complex reality. One possibility is that rather than a pure deskilling, the changes observed may represent a broader “skill mismatch,” an interpretation that is more consistent with Keynesean expectations. For example, a recent McKinsey report on the future of work showed that between 2001 and 2009, jobs related to transactions and production both declined, but more than 4.8 million white-collar jobs were created relating to interactions and problem-solving.27 What is clear is that both blue-collar and white-collar jobs involving routinized tasks are at risk.

., 73 Joshi, Aravind Krishna, 132 Joy, Bill, 336, 343 Kaplan, Jerry, 27, 131–141 Kapor, Mitch, 140, 292 Kay, Alan, 7–8, 115, 120, 198–199, 306–310, 339–341 Kelley, David, 186 Kelly, Kevin, 17 Keynes, John Maynard, 74, 76, 326–327 Kittlaus, Dag, 310–323 Kiva Systems, 97–98, 206 knowledge acquisition problem, 287 knowledge-based systems, 285 knowledge engineering, 113, 128 Knowledge Engineering Laboratory (Stanford), 133–134 Knowledge Navigator, 188, 300, 304, 305–310, 317, 318 Kodak, 83–84 Koller, Daphne, 265 Komisar, Randy, 341 Konolige, Kurt, 268–269 Kuffner, James, 43 Kurzweil, Ray, 84–85, 116, 119, 154, 208, 336 labor force, 65–94 aging of, 93–94, 327 autonomous cars and, 25, 61–62 Brooks on, 204–208 Brynjolfsson and McAfee on, 79–80, 82–83 cybernation revolution, 73–74 deskilling of, 80–82 economic change and, 77–79, 83–84 for elder care, 236–237, 245, 327–332 growth of, xv, 10, 80–81, 326–327 Industrial Perception robots and, 241–244, 269–270 lights-out factories and, 65–68, 66, 90, 104, 206 Moravec on, 122–123 recession of 2008 and, 77–78, 325 Rifkin on automation and, 76–77 Shockley on, 97 singularity hypothesis and, 9–10, 84–94 technological unemployment, 16–18, 76–77, 104, 211 technology and displacement of, 16–18 unions and, 325–326 Wiener on, 8, 68–76 Labor-Science-Education Association, 70, 73 Lamond, Pierre, 129–130 lane-keeping software, 49, 51 language and speech recognition. see also Siri (Apple) chatbot technology, 221–225, 304 early neural network research, 146–148 Eliza, 14, 113, 172–174, 221 Hearsay-II, 282–283 natural language work by Kaplan, 135 semantic autocomplete, 284 semantic understanding, 156 Shakey and, 2 SHRDLU, 132, 170–172, 174–178 Siri’s development and, 12–13, 15, 280 (see also Siri [Apple]) software agents, 193 Lanier, Jaron, 82–83 Leach, Edmund, 90 LeCun, Yann, 148–152, 151, 156–158 Lederberg, Joshua, 113 Legg, Shane, 337–338 Leonard, John, 55 Lerner, Sandy, 134 Levandowski, Anthony, 45 Levy, Frank, 10 Lexus, 57 Licklider, J.


pages: 309 words: 114,984

The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Airbnb, Atul Gawande, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, crowdsourcing, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Glasses, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, pets.com, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Yogi Berra

But then there are the tragic stories of crashes (such as the 2009 crashes of Air France 447 off the coast of Brazil and Colgan Air 3407 near Buffalo) in which the machines failed, and, after they did, it became clear that the pilots did not know how to fly the planes. Experts call this phenomenon deskilling, and preventing it is a major focus of today’s aviation safety efforts. In his 2014 book, The Glass Cage, Nicholas Carr describes the challenge. “How do you measure the expense of an erosion of effort and engagement, or a waning of agency and autonomy, or a subtle deterioration of skill?” he asked. “You can’t. Those are the kinds of shadowy, intangible things that we rarely appreciate until after they’re gone.” In a perverse way, we’ve been lucky that the current state of health IT is so woeful. It gives us the time we need to begin to sort out how to prevent such deskilling and disengagement before the computers really take over. Let’s take advantage of this window before it is too late.

., 9–10, 11–12, 17 Bush, Jonathan, 89, 226–233 Carr, Nicholas, 275 case-mix adjustment, 40 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 67–68 CellScope, 240–241, 242 Cerner, 8, 86, 187, 222, 231 Chan, Benjamin, 139–141, 149–153, 155–157 Chang, Paul, 53, 62 the chart, 44–45 The Checklist Manifesto (Gawande), 121–122 Christensen, Clay, 12, 61, 217, 229 clinical research, 263–264 clinical trials, 33 clinicopathologic correlation, 31 Clinton, Hillary, 11 Clinton, William “Bill”, 9, 189 Code Blue, 2–4 Codman, Ernest, 36 cognitive computing, 146 cognitive load, 150–151 complementary innovations, 245 computer systems, replacing the physician’s brain, 93–104 computerized decision support for clinicians, 248, 251, 260 computerized provider order entry (CPOE), 130 “Connecting for Health” initiative, 10, 17 cookbook medicine, 120 Cramer, Jim, 233 creative destruction, 250–251 The Creative Destruction of Medicine (Topol), 250 CT scans, 50–51 quality of images, 52–53 stacking, 53 data. See big data data entry, 74 See also scribes data janitors, 117 data wrangling, 117 “death panel” canard, 15 deBronkart, Dave, 198 Delbanco, Tom, 172–178 DeSalvo, Karen, 115–116, 216–217 deskilling, 275 Dhaliwal, Gurpreet, 99, 110, 112 diagnosis, 94–104 See also Isabel DICOM, 51 differential diagnoses, 97 disruptive innovation, 61, 217 distractions, 83–84 doctor visits, 263 doctor-patient relationships, 29–30, 173–174 and technology, 27–28 Doctors and Their Patients (Shorter), 30 doctor’s notes, 30–34, 268 the faceless note, 78–80 See also medical records Donabedian, Avedis, 23 dosage errors, 127–130 See also Pablo Garcia medical error case dosage limits, 133–134 Dougherty, Michelle, 82 Doximity, 238 Doyle, Arthur Conan, 97 Dr.


pages: 585 words: 165,304

Trust: The Social Virtue and the Creation of Prosperity by Francis Fukuyama

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barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, business climate, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, double entry bookkeeping, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, global village, hiring and firing, industrial robot, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, mittelstand, price mechanism, profit maximization, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, transfer pricing, traveling salesman, union organizing

An important school of American sociologists believed that there would be a gradual convergence on the Taylorite labor-management relations model in all advanced societies.21 This view was shared by many of the critics of modern industrial society from Karl Marx to Charlie Chaplin, who believed the Taylorite division of labor was the inevitable consequence of the capitalist form of industrialization.22 Under this system, man was destined to become alienated: the machines he had built to serve himself had in effect become his masters, reducing the human being to a cog in a system of mechanical production. The deskilling of the workforce would be accompanied by a decrease in trust in society as a whole; people would relate to each other through the legal system, not as members of organic communities. The pride in skill and work that accompanied craft production would be gone, as well as the unique and varied products that craftsmen produced. With each new technological innovation, new fears arose that it would have a particularly devastating effect on the nature of work.

There is another tradition, however, and it is more closely associated with Marx: people are both productive and consuming creatures and find satisfaction in the mastery and transformation of nature through work. Work in itself therefore has a positive utility apart from the way it is compensated. But the type of work matters very much. The autonomy of craftsmen—the skills they marshaled and the creativity and intelligence they displayed in fabricating a finished product—were essential to satisfaction. For this reason, the shift to mass production and the deskilling of the workforce robbed workers of something very important that could not be compensated by higher wages. As mass production proliferated, however, it became evident that Taylorism was not the only model of industrial modernity, that skill and craftsmanship did not disappear, and that trust relationships remained critical to the proper functioning of modern workplaces. As Charles Sabel, Michael Piore, and other proponents of flexible specialization have pointed out, craft production techniques have survived “in the penumbra” of giant, mass production facilities.

The former sold 30,000 copies by 1922, and the latter went through thirty successive printings in the following years, leading to minor cults of Taylorismus and Fordismus.1 The enormous advance in productivity represented by Ford’s Highland Park facility impressed on German manufacturers the need to adopt mass production techniques in their own operations, and lay behind the “rationalization” movement in German industry during the mid-1920s. But while German industry adopted mass production, Taylorismus never sat very well with German managers and industrial engineers, much less German workers. The deskilling of the workforce, its overspecialization, and the unsatisfying nature of blue-collar work in a Taylorite factory threatened the long-standing German belief in the importance of Arbeitsfreude, or “joy in work,” whose origins lay in Germany’s powerful premodern craft traditions. Industrial engineers who wrote on the subject of factory organization in this period, like Gustav Frenz, Paul Rieppel, Friedrich von Gottl-Ottlilienfeld, and Goetz Briefs, all tended to distinguish between Taylorism and what they regarded as the more human system that Ford actually implemented.2 That is, while Taylor and Ford are closely linked in historical memory as the codifier and implementer, respectively, of the low-trust mass production factory system, Ford’s early plants actually practiced a form of company paternalism that was never part of Taylor’s scientific management principles.


pages: 369 words: 94,588

The Enigma of Capital: And the Crises of Capitalism by David Harvey

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, call centre, capital controls, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, failed state, financial innovation, Frank Gehry, full employment, global reserve currency, Google Earth, Guggenheim Bilbao, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, interest rate swap, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, land reform, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, means of production, megacity, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, place-making, Ponzi scheme, precariat, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, special economic zone, statistical arbitrage, structural adjustment programs, the built environment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, women in the workforce

Likewise, rapid shifts in labour quality requirements (e.g. the sudden need for new skills such as computer literacy) that outpace existing labour force capacities generate stresses in the labour market. Social and educational infrastructures find it hard to adapt quickly enough and the perpetual need for ‘retraining’ several times in a worker’s lifetime puts stresses on public resources as well as private energies. The production of chronic job insecurity through deskilling and reskilling is backed by technologically induced unemployment (about 60 per cent of job losses in the US in recent years are attributable to technological changes while only 30 per cent are due to the widely blamed offshoring of jobs to Mexico, China and elsewhere). Spiralling crises of disproportionality can also arise out of the uneven development of technological capacities across different sectors, producing, for example, imbalances in the output of wage goods versus means of production.

Index Numbers in italics indicate Figures; those in bold indicate a Table. 11 September 2001 attacks 38, 41–2 subject to perpetual renewal and transformation 128 A Abu Dhabi 222 Académie Française 91 accumulation by dispossession 48–9, 244 acid deposition 75, 187 activity spheres 121–4, 128, 130 deindustrialised working-class area 151 and ‘green revolution’ 185–6 institutional and administrative arrangements 123 ‘mental conceptions of the world’ 123 patterns of relations between 196 production and labour processes 123 relations to nature 123 the reproduction of daily life and of the species 123 slums 152 social relations 123 subject to perpetual renewal and transformation 128 suburbs 150 technologies and organisational forms 123 uneven development between and among them 128–9 Adelphia 100 advertising industry 106 affective bonds 194 Afghanistan: US interventionism 210 Africa civil wars 148 land bought up in 220 neocolonialism 208 population growth 146 agribusiness 50 agriculture collectivisation of 250 diminishing returns in 72 ‘green revolution’ 185–6 ‘high farming’ 82 itinerant labourers 147 subsidies 79 AIG 5 alcoholism 151 Allen, Paul 98 Allende, Salvador 203 Amazonia 161, 188 American Bankers Association 8 American Revolution 61 anarchists 253, 254 anti-capitalist revolutionary movement 228 anti-racism 258 anti-Semitism 62 après moi le déluge 64, 71 Argentina Debt Crisis (2000–2002) 6, 243, 246, 261 Arizona, foreclosure wave in 1 Arrighi, Giovanni: The Long Twentieth Century 35, 204 asbestos 74 Asia Asian Currency Crisis (1997–98) 141, 261 collapse of export markets 141 growth 218 population growth 146 asset stripping 49, 50, 245 asset traders 40 asset values 1, 6, 21, 23, 26, 29, 46, 223, 261 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) 200 Athabaska tar sands, Canada 83 austerity programmes 246, 251 automobile industry 14, 15, 23, 56, 67, 68, 77, 121, 160–61 Detroit 5, 15, 16, 91, 108, 195, 216 autonomista movement 233, 234, 254 B Baader-Meinhof Gang 254 Bakunin, Michael 225 Balzac, Honoré 156 Bangalore, software development in 195 Bangkok 243 Bank of England 53, 54 massive liquidity injections in stock markets 261 Bank of International Settlements, Basel 51, 55, 200 Bank of New England 261 Bankers Trust 25 banking bail-outs 5, 218 bank shares become almost worthless 5 bankers’ pay and bonuses 12, 56, 218 ‘boutique investment banks’ 12 de-leveraging 30 debt-deposit ratio 30 deposit banks 20 French banks nationalised 198 international networks of finance houses 163 investment banks 2, 19, 20, 28, 219 irresponsible behaviour 10–11 lending 51 liquidity injections by central banks vii, 261 mysterious workings of central banks 54 ‘national bail-out’ 30–31 property market-led Nordic and Japanese bank crises 261 regional European banks 4 regular banks stash away cash 12, 220 rising tide of ‘moral hazard’ in international bank lending practices 19 ‘shadow banking’ system 8, 21, 24 sympathy with ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ bank robbers 56 Baran, Paul and Sweezey, Paul: Monopoly Capital 52, 113 Barings Bank 37, 100, 190 Baucus, Max 220 Bavaria, automotive engineering in 195 Beijing declaration (1995) 258 Berlin: cross-border leasing 14 Bernanke, Ben 236 ‘Big Bang’ (1986) 20, 37 Big Bang unification of global stock, options and currency trading markets 262 billionaire class 29, 110, 223 biodiversity 74, 251 biomass 78 biomedical engineering 98 biopiracy 245, 251 Birmingham 27 Bismarck, Prince Otto von 168 Black, Fischer 100 Blackstone 50 Blair, Tony 255 Blair government 197 blockbusting neighbourhoods 248 Bloomberg, Mayor Michael 20, 98, 174 Bolivarian movement 226, 256 bonuses, Wall Street 2, 12 Borlaug, Norman 186 bourgeoisie 48, 89, 95, 167, 176 ‘boutique investment banks’ 12 Brazil automobile industry 16 capital flight crisis (1999) 261 containerisation 16 an export-dominated economy 6 follows Japanese model 92 landless movement 257 lending to 19 the right to the city movement 257 workers’ party 256 Bretton Woods Agreement (1944) 31, 32, 51, 55, 171 British Academy 235 British empire 14 Brown, Gordon 27, 45 Budd, Alan 15 Buenos Aires 243 Buffett, Warren 173 building booms 173–4 Bush, George W. 5, 42, 45 business associations 195 C California, foreclosure wave in 1, 2 Canada, tightly regulated banks in 141 ‘cap and trade’ markets in pollution rights 221 capital bank 30 centralisation of 95, 110, 113 circulation of 90, 93, 108, 114, 116, 122, 124, 128, 158, 159, 182, 183, 191 cultural 21 devalued 46 embedded in the land 191 expansion of 58, 67, 68 exploitations of 102 export 19, 158 fixed 191, 213 industrial 40–41, 56 insufficient initial money capital 47 investment 93, 203 and labour 56, 88, 169–70 liquid money 20 mobility 59, 63, 64, 161–2, 191, 213 and nature 88 as a process 40 reproduction of 58 scarcity 50 surplus 16, 28, 29, 50–51, 84, 88, 100, 158, 166, 167, 172, 173, 174, 206, 215, 216, 217 capital accumulation 107, 108, 123, 182, 183, 191, 211 and the activity spheres 128 barriers to 12, 16, 47, 65–6, 69–70, 159 compound rate 28, 74, 75, 97, 126, 135, 215 continuity of endless 74 at the core of human evolutionary dynamics 121 dynamics of 188, 197 geographic landscape of 185 geographical dynamics of 67, 143 and governance 201 lagging 130 laws of 113, 154, 160 main centres of 192 market-based 180 Mumbai redevelopment 178 ‘nature’ affected by 122 and population growth 144–7 and social struggles 105 start of 159 capital circulation barriers to 45 continuity of 68 industrial/production capital 40–41 inherently risky 52 interruption in the process 41–2, 50 spatial movement 42 speculative 52, 53 capital controls 198 capital flow continuity 41, 47, 67, 117 defined vi global 20 importance of understanding vi, vii-viii interrupted, slowed down or suspended vi systematic misallocation of 70 taxation of vi wealth creation vi capital gains 112 capital strike 60 capital surplus absorption 31–2, 94, 97, 98, 101, 163 capital-labour relation 77 capitalism and communism 224–5 corporate 1691 ‘creative-destructive’ tendencies in 46 crisis of vi, 40, 42, 117, 130 end of 72 evolution of 117, 118, 120 expansion at a compound rate 45 first contradiction of 77 geographical development of 143 geographical mobility 161 global 36, 110 historical geography of 76, 117, 118, 121, 174, 180, 200, 202, 204 industrial 58, 109, 242 internal contradictions 115 irrationality of 11, 215, 246 market-led 203 positive and negative aspects 120 and poverty 72 relies on the beneficence of nature 71 removal of 260 rise of 135, 192, 194, 204, 228, 248–9, 258 ‘second contradiction of’ 77, 78 social relations in 101 and socialism 224 speculative 160 survival of 46, 57, 66, 86, 107, 112, 113, 116, 130, 144, 229, 246 uneven geographical development of 211, 213 volatile 145 Capitalism, Nature, Socialism journal 77 capitalist creed 103 capitalist development considered over time 121–4 ‘eras’ of 97 capitalist exploitation 104 capitalist logic 205 capitalist reinvestment 110–11 capitalists, types of 40 Carnegie, Andrew 98 Carnegie foundation 44 Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 195 Carson, Rachel: Silent Spring 187 Case Shiller Composite Indices SA 3 Catholic Church 194, 254 cell phones 131, 150, 152 Central American Free Trade Association (CAFTA) 200 centralisation 10, 11, 165, 201 Certificates of Deposit 262 chambers of commerce 195, 203 Channel Tunnel 50 Chiapas, Mexico 207, 226 Chicago Board Options Exchange 262 Chicago Currency Futures Market 262 ‘Chicago School’ 246 Chile, lending to 19 China ‘barefoot doctors’ 137 bilateral trade with Latin America 173 capital accumulation issue 70 cheap retail goods 64 collapse of communism 16 collapse of export markets 141 Cultural Revolution 137 Deng’s announcement 159 falling exports 6 follows Japanese model 92 ‘Great Leap Forward’ 137, 138 growth 35, 59, 137, 144–5, 213, 218, 222 health care 137 huge foreign exchange reserves 141, 206 infant mortality 59 infrastructural investment 222 labour income and household consumption (1980–2005) 14 market closed after communists took power (1949) 108 market forcibly opened 108 and oil market 83 one child per family policy 137, 146 one-party rule 199 opening-up of 58 plundering of wealth from 109, 113 proletarianisation 60 protests in 38 and rare earth metals 188 recession (1997) 172 ‘silk road’ 163 trading networks 163 unemployment 6 unrest in 66 urbanisation 172–3 and US consumerism 109 Chinese Central Bank 4, 173 Chinese Communist Party 180, 200, 256 chlorofluoral carbons (CFCs) 74, 76, 187 chronometer 91, 156 Church, the 249 CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) 169 circular and cumulative causation 196 Citibank 19 City Bank 261 city centres, Disneyfication of 131 City of London 20, 35, 45, 162, 219 class consciousness 232, 242, 244 class inequalities 240–41 class organisation 62 class politics 62 class power 10, 11, 12, 61, 130, 180 class relations, radical reconstitution of 98 class struggle 56, 63, 65, 96, 102, 127, 134, 193, 242, 258 Clausewitz, Carl von 213 Cleveland, foreclosure crisis in 2 Cleveland, foreclosures on housing in 1 Clinton, Bill 11, 12, 17, 44, 45 co-evolution 132, 136, 138, 168, 185, 186, 195, 197, 228, 232 in three cases 149–53 coal reserves 79, 188 coercive laws of competition see under competition Cold War 31, 34, 92 Collateralised Bond Obligations (CBOs) 262 Collateralised Debt Obligations (CDOs) 36, 142, 261, 262 Collateralised Mortgage Obligations (CMOs) 262 colonialism 212 communications, innovations in 42, 93 communism 228, 233, 242, 249 collapse of 16, 58, 63 compared with socialism 224 as a loaded term 259–60 orthodox communists 253 revolutionary 136 traditional institutionalised 259 companies joint stock 49 limited 49 comparative advantage 92 competition 15, 26, 43, 70 between financial centres 20 coercive laws of 43, 71, 90, 95, 158, 159, 161 and expansion of production 113 and falling prices 29, 116 fostering 52 global economic 92, 131 and innovation 90, 91 inter-capitalist 31 inter-state 209, 256 internalised 210 interterritorial 202 spatial 164 and the workforce 61 competitive advantage 109 computerised trading 262 computers 41, 99, 158–9 consortia 50, 220 consumerism 95, 109, 168, 175, 240 consumerist excess 176 credit-fuelled 118 niche 131 suburban 171 containerisation 16 Continental Illinois Bank 261 cooperatives 234, 242 corporate fraud 245 corruption 43, 69 cotton industry 67, 144, 162 credit cards fees vii, 245 rise of the industry 17 credit crunch 140 Credit Default swaps 262 Crédit Immobilièr 54 Crédit Mobilier 54 Crédit Mobilier and Immobilier 168 credit swaps 21 credit system and austerity programmes 246 crisis within 52 and the current crisis 118 and effective demand problem 112 an inadequate configuration of 52 predatory practices 245 role of 115 social and economic power in 115 crises crises of disproportionality 70 crisis of underconsumption 107, 111 east Asia (1997–8) 6, 8, 35, 49, 246 financial crisis of 1997–8 198, 206 financial crisis of 2008 34, 108, 114, 115 general 45–6 inevitable 71 language of crisis 27 legitimation 217 necessary 71 property market 8 role of 246–7 savings and loan crisis (US, 1984–92) 8 short sharp 8, 10 south-east Asia (1997–8) 6, 8, 35, 49, 246 cross-border leasing 142–3 cultural choice 238 ‘cultural industries’ 21 cultural preferences 73–4 Cultural Revolution 137 currency currency swaps 262 futures market 24, 32 global 32–3, 34 options markets on 262 customs barriers 42, 43 cyberspace 190 D Darwin, Charles 120 DDT 74, 187 de-leveraging 30 debt-financing 17, 131, 141, 169 decentralisation 165, 201 decolonisation 31, 208, 212 deficit financing 35, 111 deforestation 74, 143 deindustrialisation 33, 43, 88, 131, 150, 157, 243 Deleuze, Gilles 128 demand consumer 107, 109 effective 107, 110–14, 116, 118, 221, 222 lack of 47 worker 108 Democratic Party (US) 11 Deng Xiaoping 159 deregulation 11, 16, 54, 131 derivatives 8 currency 21 heavy losses in (US) 261 derivatives markets creation of 29, 85 unregulated 99, 100, 219 Descartes, René 156 desertification 74 Detroit auto industry 5, 15, 16, 91, 108, 195, 216 foreclosures on housing in 1 Deutsches Bank 20 devaluation 32, 47, 116 of bank capital 30 of prior investments 93 developing countries: transformation of daily lives 94–5 Developing Countries Debt Crisis 19, 261 development path building alliances 230 common objectives 230–31 development not the same as growth 229–30 impacts and feedbacks from other spaces in the global economy 230 Diamond, Jared: Guns, Germs and Steel 132–3, 154 diasporas 147, 155, 163 Dickens, Charles: Bleak House 90 disease 75, 85 dispossession anti-communist insurgent movements against 250–51 of arbitrary feudal institutions 249 of the capital class 260 China 179–80 first category 242–4 India 178–9, 180 movements against 247–52 second category 242, 244–5 Seoul 179 types of 247 under socialism and communism 250 Domar, Evsey 71 Dongguan, China 36 dot-com bubble 29, 261 Dow 35,000 prediction 21 drug trade 45, 49 Dubai: over-investment 10 Dubai World 174, 222 Durban conference on anti-racism (2009) 258 E ‘earth days’ 72, 171 east Asia crash of 1997–8 6, 8, 35, 49, 246 labour reserves 64 movement of production to 43 proletarianisation 62 state-centric economies 226 wage rates 62 eastern European countries 37 eBay 190 economic crisis (1848) 167 economists, and the current financial crisis 235–6 ecosystems 74, 75, 76 Ecuador, and remittances 38 education 59, 63, 127, 128, 221, 224, 257 electronics industry 68 Elizabeth II, Queen vi-vii, 235, 236, 238–9 employment casual part-time low-paid female 150 chronic job insecurity 93 culture of the workplace 104 deskilling 93 reskilling 93 services 149 Engels, Friedrich 89, 98, 115, 157, 237 The Housing Question 176–7, 178 Enron 8, 24, 52, 53, 100, 261 entertainment industries 41 environment: modified by human action 84–5 environmental movement 78 environmental sciences 186–7 equipment 58, 66–7 equity futures 262 equity index swaps 262 equity values 262 ethanol plants 80 ethnic cleansings 247 ethnicity issues 104 Eurodollars 262 Europe negative population growth in western Europe 146 reconstruction of economy after Second World War 202 rsouevolutions of 1848 243 European Union 200, 226 eastern European countries 37 elections (June 2009) 143 unemployment 140 evolution punctuated equilibrium theory of natural evolution 130 social 133 theory of 120, 129 exchange rates 24, 32, 198 exports, falling 141 external economies 162 F Factory Act (1848) 127 factory inspectors 127 ‘failed states’ 69 Fannie Mae (US government-chartered mortgage institution) 4, 17, 173, 223 fascism 169, 203, 233 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) 8 rescue of Continental Illinois Bank 261 Federal Reserve System (the Fed) 2, 17, 54, 116, 219, 236, 248 and asset values 6 cuts interest rates 5, 261 massive liquidity injections in stock markets 261 rescue of Continental Illinois Bank 261 feminists, and colonisation of urban neighbourhoods 248 fertilisers 186 feudalism 135, 138, 228 finance capitalists 40 financial institutions awash with credit 17 bankruptcies 261 control of supply and demand for housing 17 nationalisations 261 financial services 99 Financial Times 12 financialisation 30, 35, 98, 245 Finland: Nordic cris (1992) 8 Flint strike, Michigan (1936–7) 243 Florida, foreclosure wave in 1, 2 Forbes magazine 29, 223 Ford, Henry 64, 98, 160, 161, 188, 189 Ford foundation 44, 186 Fordism 136 Fordlandia 188, 189 foreclosed businesses 245 foreclosed properties 220 fossil fuels 78 Foucault, Michel 134 Fourierists 168 France acceptance of state interventions 200 financial crisis (1868) 168 French banks nationalised 198 immigration 14 Paris Commune 168 pro-natal policies 59 strikes in 38 train network 28 Franco-Prussian War (1870) 168 fraud 43, 49 Freddie Mac (US government-chartered mortgage institution) 4, 17, 173, 223 free trade 10, 33, 90, 131 agreements 42 French Communist Party 52 French Revolution 61 Friedman, Thomas L.: The World is Flat 132 futures, energy 24 futures markets 21 Certificates of Deposit 262 currency 24 Eurodollars 262 Treasury instruments 262 G G7/G8/G20 51, 200 Galileo Galilei 89 Gates, Bill 98, 173, 221 Gates foundation 44 gays, and colonisation of urban neighbourhoods 247, 248 GDP growth (1950–2030) 27 Gehry, Frank 203 Geithner, Tim 11 gender issues 104, 151 General Motors 5 General Motors Acceptance Corporation 23 genetic engineering 84, 98 genetic modification 186 genetically modified organisms (GMOs) 186 gentrification 131, 256, 257 geographical determinism 210 geopolitics 209, 210, 213, 256 Germany acceptance of state interventions 199–200 cross-border leasing 142–3 an export-dominated economy 6 falling exports 141 invasion of US auto market 15 Nazi expansionism 209 neoliberal orthodoxies 141 Turkish immigrants 14 Weimar inflation 141 Glass-Steagall act (1933) 20 Global Crossing 100 global warming 73, 77, 121, 122, 187 globalisation 157 Glyn, Andrew et al: ‘British Capitalism, Workers and the Profits Squeeze’ 65 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 156 gold reserves 108, 112, 116 Goldman Sachs 5, 11, 20, 163, 173, 219 Google Earth 156 Gould, Stephen Jay 98, 130 governance 151, 197, 198, 199, 201, 208, 220 governmentality 134 GPS systems 156 Gramsci, Antonio 257 Grandin, Greg: Fordlandia 188, 189 grassroots organisations (GROS) 254 Great Depression (1920s) 46, 170 ‘Great Leap Forward’ 137, 138, 250 ‘Great Society’ anti-poverty programmes 32 Greater London Council 197 Greece sovereign debt 222 student unrest in 38 ‘green communes’ 130 Green Party (Germany) 256 ‘green revolution’ 185–6 Greenspan, Alan 44 Greider, William: Secrets of the Temple 54 growth balanced 71 compound 27, 28, 48, 50, 54, 70, 75, 78, 86 economic 70–71, 83, 138 negative 6 stop in 45 Guggenheim Museu, Bilbao 203 Gulf States collapse of oil-revenue based building boom 38 oil production 6 surplus petrodollars 19, 28 Gulf wars 210 gun trade 44 H habitat loss 74, 251 Haiti, and remittances 38 Hanseatic League 163 Harrison, John 91 Harrod, Roy 70–71 Harvey, David: A Brief History of Neoliberalism 130 Harvey, William vii Haushofer, Karl 209 Haussmann, Baron 49, 167–8, 169, 171, 176 Hawken, Paul: Blessed Unrest 133 Hayek, Friedrich 233 health care 28–9, 59, 63, 220, 221, 224 reneging on obligations 49 Health Care Bill 220 hedge funds 8, 21, 49, 261 managers 44 hedging 24, 36 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich 133 hegemony 35–6, 212, 213, 216 Heidegger, Martin 234 Helú, Carlos Slim 29 heterogeneity 214 Hitler, Adolf 141 HIV/AIDS pandemic 1 Holloway, John: Change the World without Taking Power 133 homogeneity 214 Hong Kong excessive urban development 8 rise of (1970s) 35 sweatshops 16 horizontal networking 254 household debt 17 housing 146–7, 149, 150, 221, 224 asset value crisis 1, 174 foreclosure crises 1–2, 166 mortgage finance 170 values 1–2 HSBC 20, 163 Hubbert, M.


pages: 382 words: 92,138

The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths by Mariana Mazzucato

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Apple II, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, call centre, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, computer age, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demand response, deskilling, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, incomplete markets, information retrieval, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, natural language processing, new economy, offshore financial centre, popular electronics, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

What explains the reasons why innovation and inequality have gone hand in hand? While the classical economists (such as David Ricardo or Karl Marx) studied innovation and distribution together through, for example, the analysis of the effect of mechanization on the wage/profit ratio, for years studies of innovation and distribution have been separated. Today, they have been brought back together mainly by the de-skilling perspective and its realization that innovation has a tendency of allowing those with high skills to prosper, and those with low skills to get left behind (Acemoglu 2002). Yet skills and technology in this perspective remain exogenous, their existence taken as givens. Neither can the framework explain where innovation and better job skills come from. Given those issues, it is very hard to accept that the main source of inequality – between the top 1 per cent of income earners and the bottom 99 per cent – is the super ‘high skills’ of the 1 per cent relative to everyone else (Atkinson et al. 2011).

W. 85 Bush, George W. 110–11 Bush, Vannevar 75 ‘business angels’ 47, 48 Buxton, Bill 102n10 Cailliau, Robert 105 California: Apple’s avoidance of capital gains tax in 173; Apple’s R&D base in 172; competitive climate of 165, 176; ‘Internet California Gold Rush’ 95; R&D tax packages of 109–10, 111n13; wind industry participation 145, 147, 156 Cameron, David 15 Canada 61 capacitive sensing technology 100–101, 100n9, 103 capitalism: Adam Smith’s view of 30; dysfunctional modern 12; financial fragility of 32n3; image of market as engine of 167; innovative labour in 13; Keynes on 30–32; State risks in framework of 193; State’s role in 195 Capital Moves (Cowie) 172 cellular technology 109, 109 Chang, Ha-Joon 9n3, 38n5, 40 China: clean technology investment by 120, 124n6, 125, 137; Evergreen Solar lured to 152; ‘green’ 5 year plan 122–4; green revolution in 11, 115n2, 116, 120; investment banks in 2, 4, 5; Kyoto Protocol signed by 123n5; new investment in renewable energy 120, 121; policy support for wind industry 153; as solar power competitor 129–31, 130n11, 144, 150; targeted industrialization in 40; ‘trade wars’ of 122, 131; wind capacity of 143; from ‘Wind Rush’ to rise of wind power sector 144–50 China Development Bank (CDB) 5, 122, 153, 189–90 Citizens for Tax Justice 174n5 classical economists 186–7 clean technology: in China 122–4; in crisis 158–9; electric cars/vehicles 108, 123, 124, 133; Ernst & Young report on 124; historical overview of 118, 118n3; investment (by country) 120–21; investment by venture capital 161; public vs. private investment in 26, 143; R&D investment in 119; sources 117–18; US calling to end support to 157; see also green revolution; wind and solar power climate change 117, 123, 135; see also green industrial revolution Climate Works 123 Clinton administration 84–5 Coad, Alex 44 ‘Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes’ (CALO) project 106 Compaq 107 competition, generating 77 computer field: DARPA’s role in 75–8; hard disk drives (HDD) 96–7; personal computers 78, 89, 94–5; research support to 99; sources of key technologies used in 94–5; in wind technology 147–8 Concorde 194; see also ‘picking winners’ Cook, Tim 171 countercyclical lending 4, 140, 190 ‘creative destruction’ 10, 10n4, 58, 165; see also Schumpeter, Joseph ‘crowd funding’ 127 ‘crowding in’ 5–6, 8 ‘crowding out’ 8, 23–4 DARPA: see Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ‘Death Valley’ stage of innovation 47, 48, 122 DEC 107 decentralization 78, 85, 104 defence contractors 76–7, 98 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): ARPA-E modeled after 133; brokering role of 77, 79; clean energy funding 132n13; communications network project of 104, 104n11; creation of 76; dual-use technologies targeted by 97; funding by 76–7; model characteristics 78; organizational attributes of 133–4; role of behind SIRI 105–6; support for SPINTRONICS 97; technological contributions of 133; top talent attracted by 4 Defense Logistics Agency 132n13 demand-side policies 83, 113–15, 159 Demirel, Pelin 44 DEMOS 2 Denmark 115n2, 120n4, 121, 143, 144–5 Department of Commerce (US) 47 Department of Defense (DoD) (US): ARPANET project as Internet origin 63; energy innovation impacted by 132n13; GPS and SIRI development by 105–7; GPS costs to 105n12; solar opportunities created by 150; TRP initiated by 97 Department of Energy (DoE) (US): ARPA-E agency of 4; attracting top talent 18; clean energy research 132–3; First Solar’s link to research of 151; funding Solyndra 154; funding support of lithium-ion battery 108; loan guarantees administered by 129; SunPower’s patents link to 152; wind research funded by 147–8 Department of Energy and Climate Change (UK) 124 ‘de-risking’ of private sector 5–6, 9, 198 de-skilling perspective 186 ‘Developmental State’ 10, 37–8, 37–8n5, 40, 68; see also State development banks: see State development banks digital signal processing (DSP) 109 ‘directionality’ 2, 4–5, 32n2 ‘discursive’ battle, Judt’s 9, 58, 198 distribution and innovation 186 Domar, Evsey David 33 domestic content rules 149 Dosi, Giovanni 53 Drucker, Peter 58 drugs: classifications of new 64, 64; Gleevec 81; MRC research on 67; orphan drugs 81–3; percentages of new by types 66, 66; radical vs.


pages: 299 words: 19,560

Utopias: A Brief History From Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal

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1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

As the radical union organizer whom Montgomery quotes put it so well, “The manager’s brains [were] under the workman’s cap.”49 Similarly, traditional faculty once controlled curriculum and instruction because they knew more about these than deans, provosts, and presidents and thus commanded considerable respect and deference. But most skilled workers gradually lost control as ever-larger machinery determined the pace and output of work, as “deskilling” steadily reduced the value and application of their expertise, and as manual labor became identified with mindless labor. The analogy to higher education obviously has its limitations, but the growing subservience of traditional intellectual work to high-tech mechanized work is, I believe, a striking comparison. No wonder, then, that “productivity” has become a buzzword for legislators, college and university trustees, and educational administrators almost everywhere.

West 112 Cisco Systems 206 City of the Sun, The (Campanella) 53 civil society 253 Clark University 238 Clarke, Arthur C. 9 Clinton, President Bill 115, 119 cloning 125 Cold War 9, 36, 102, 143 end of 1, 156 India and 172 and Space Program 139–140 and utopias 2 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor 112–113 Colored People’s Day 37 Columbus, Christopher 242 communist viewpoint 104 collapse of communism 156 computers, development of 160–161, 186 Comte, Auguste 52, 56, 57–58 Condorcet, Marquis de 52, 56, 61 Confucius 18 Congress, US 111, 115, 117, 118 and Superconducting Super Collider 122, 237 and the White House 99 Connick, George 208–210, 213 cooperation as a movement 31 272 Index Corruption of Improvement, The 159 corruption 23, 31 Council of Economic Advisors, US 101 counterculture 25, 84–85 Cours de philosophie positive (Comte) 58 Covey, Stephen 168 Cruelty and Utopia: Cities and Landscapes of Latin America (exhibition and text) 22 Crystal Palace Exhibition, London, 1851 34, 36 Cuba 22 Culture of Improvement: Technology and the Western Millennium, A (Friedel) 6, 158–159 Cure for Chaos: Fresh Solutions to Social Problems Through the Systems Approach (Ramo) 110 cyberspace communities 12, 24, 194, 198–199, and “real world” 198 cyberspace 1, 2, 24, 199 cyberspace relationships 192 and universities 209 Dahl, Robert 106, 108, 109, 114, 119, 122 Dator, James 250 DaVinci Institute 205 “Day of Slowing” 238 daydreams and utopias 251 Declaration of Independence, US 93 “Decline of Politics and Ideology in a Knowledgeable Society, The” (Lane) 106 Del Sesto, Stephen 146 Delano, Sterling 254–255 democracy and technology 189–190 Denmark 151 Department of Homeland Security, United States 253–254 Dertouzos, Michael 161, 164, 186 Descartes, Rene 55 deskilling 212 development studies 102 digital utopianism 154 digitization and the market 217–218 Dikotter, Frank 19 Diothas, The; Or, A Far Look Ahead (Macnie) 82, 89 “Discover the Brave New World of Online Learning” 213 Disneyland 36 Dispossessed, The (LeGuin) 92 diversity, concept of 190 Dolly the sheep 125 Donnelly, Ignatius 98 dot-com revolution 190, 201 Doublespeak 166 Douglass, Frederick 36–37 Dreyfus, Hubert 199 Dreyfuss, Henry 34 Drop City 195 Du Bois, W.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

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Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

Another way is by reducing the skill requirements of the worker’s job and hence reducing the worker’s pay. As analyses of the employment impacts of industrial machinery show, the use of technology to automate a job tends at first to enhance the skills of a worker, making the job more challenging and interesting, but as the machine becomes more sophisticated, as more job skills are built into its workings, a de-skilling trend takes hold. The highly skilled craftsman turns into a moderately skilled or unskilled machine operator. Even Adam Smith understood that machinery, in enhancing labor productivity, would often end up narrowing jobs, turning skilled work into routine work. At worst, he wrote, the factory worker would become “as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become.” That’s not the whole picture, of course.

Times are different now. Machines are different, too. Robots and software programs are still a long way from taking over all human work, but they can take over a lot more of it than factory machines could. It seems pretty clear now that that’s one of the main reasons we’re seeing persistently depressed demand for workers in many sectors of the economy. What’s perhaps less well acknowledged is the spread of the de-skilling phenomenon into so-called knowledge work. As computers become more capable of sensing the environment, performing analyses, and making judgments, they can be programmed to replicate white-collar skills. The remaining professionals and office workers start to look more and more like computer operators, tenders of machines. There will always be opportunities for individuals to design cool new products, make new scientific discoveries, create new works of art, and think new thoughts.


pages: 580 words: 168,476

The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, declining real wages, deskilling, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, framing effect, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, invisible hand, John Harrison: Longitude, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, London Interbank Offered Rate, lone genius, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, medical bankruptcy, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, offshore financial centre, paper trading, patent troll, payday loans, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, very high income, We are the 99%, women in the workforce

This increased the demand for those who mastered the technology and reduced the demand for those who did not, leading to higher relative wages for those who had mastered the skills required by the new technologies.9 Globalization compounded the effects of technology’s advances: jobs that could be routinized were sent abroad, where labor that could handle the work cost a fraction of what it cost in the United States.10 At first, the balance of supply and demand kept wages in the middle rising, but those at the bottom stagnated or even fell. Eventually, the deskilling and outsourcing effects dominated. Over the past fifteen years, wages in the middle have not fared well.11 The result has been what we described in chapter 1 as the “polarization” of America’s labor force. Low-paying jobs that cannot be easily computerized have continued to grow—including “care” and other service sectors jobs—and so have high-skilled jobs at the top. This skill-biased technological change has obviously played a role in shaping the labor market—increasing the premium on workers with skills, deskilling other jobs, eliminating still others. However, skill-biased technological change has little to do with the enormous increase in wealth at the very top.

And it’s not even inevitable that technological change continues in this direction: making firms pay for the environmental consequences of their production might encourage firms to shift away from skill-biased technological change to resource-saving technological change. Low interest rates may encourage firms to robotize, replacing unskilled jobs that can easily be routinized; so alternative macroeconomic and investment policies could slow the pace of the deskilling of our economy. So too, while economists may disagree about the precise role that globalization has played in the increase in inequality, the asymmetries in globalization to which we call attention put workers at a particular disadvantage; and we can manage globalization better, in ways that might lead to less inequality. We have also noted how the growth in the financial sector as a share of total U.S. income (sometimes referred to as the increased financialization of the economy) has contributed to increased inequality—to both the wealth created at the top and the poverty at the bottom.


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

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3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kangaroo Route, knowledge worker, kremlinology, labour mobility, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Yogi Berra

UPS is justifiably proud of the machine intelligence now embedded in every belt, puck, and package, which corresponds with its desire to strip as much human intelligence as possible out of the hub, in the name of efficiency. The company’s term for it is “de-skilling,” a tradition that dates back to Henry Ford’s first assembly lines for the Model T. The difference now is that there is a greater fortune to be made in moving goods than in making them. It also means that while UPS employs ten thousand people nightly in the sort, most are part-time. FedEx, with fifteen thousand in Memphis and thousands more scattered across its domestic hubs, pays the same, and not even the offers of generous benefits and free tuition hide the fact that what they are looking for is a pool of loyal but unskilled labor. UPS has so thoroughly de-skilled the Worldport that even desert nomads could work there now, and they do. Several hundred members of Somalia’s Bantu tribe have resettled in Louisville in recent years, working mostly in and around the hub.

., 40, 46 Ultimus, 127 United Airlines, 48, 421; Continental merger with, 193 United Arab Emirates: oil reserves in, 294; see also Abu Dhabi; Dubai United Kingdom: coal use in, 328; home ownership in, 334; Open Skies agreement signed by, 282 United Nations, 19 United Parcel Service (UPS), 64–69; Louisville airport expansion for, 87–90; outsourcing by, 63; relations with Lousiville, 86–87 United States: China as largest trading partner to, 393, 398; floral market in, 221, 223; health care costs in, 267–68; high-speed rail plans in, 351; job loss in, 393; medical community in, 271–72; medical tourists from, 266, 276; medical tourists to, 271; national markets in, 243; number of airports in, 283; Open Skies agreement signed by, 282 United Steelworkers, medical tourism opposed by, 273–74 universal health care coverage, 268 Unnithan, Shaju, 320–21, 322, 323–24 Up in the Air (Kirn), 97–98 UPS Supply Chain Solutions, 69 UPS Worldport, 64, 65–68, 72; Bantu working at, 68; jobs deskilled at, 68; technology at, 66–68 urbanization: in Chicago, 12; of China, 5, 10, 18–19, 360, 364–65, 381, 389, 394–95; as green lifestyle, 356; as inevitable, 176; pace of, 12, 19; spending on, 10; technology and, 11–12 Ussher, Kitty, 14 Venice, as shaped by shipping, 12 Venter, Craig, biofuel development by, 349 Verenigde Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer, 211, 212–17, 218–19, 222, 322 Verni, Ron, 127–28 Vietnam, airports in, 263 Virgin Atlantic, 21; environmental efforts of, 345–48, 350 Virgin Green Fund, 345 virtual density, 293–94 Visteon, 199–201 Visteon Village, 199, 200–201, 202 von Klemperer, Jamie, 355, 357 Walmart, sustainability index of, 240–41 Walsh, Willie, 16 Wang Chuanfu, 204 Wanisubut, Suwat, 259–62, 263 Wanxiang Group, 206 Washington, D.C., 355 Washington National Airport, 38–39 Washtenaw County, Mich., 188 water, recycling of, 356 Waterfront City, 293 Wayne County, Mich., 182–83 Wayne State University, 188 Webber, Melvin, 11, 12, 115–16, 124–25 Welch, Jack, 202 Wen Jiabao, 369 Weymouth, Leanne, 124 whaling, 327–28 Whitehaven, Tenn., 83 Whitman, Walt, 23 Whyte, William H., 139 Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller (Rubin), 332 Wice, Nathaniel, 367 Wilkes-Barre, Pa., 7 Williams, Adrian, 233 Williams, Fred, 89–90 Willow Run, Mich., 180, 182, 188, 425 Willow Run Airport, 180, 188; auto shipments through, 182 Wilmington, Ohio, 87–88 Wilson, Charles E., 186 Window on the World, 409–10 Wipro, 281, 283 Wongsawat, Somchai, 252, 256 World Bank, 337 World’s Fair (1939), 192 “World’s Unofficial Longest Line” video, 13–14 World Trade Organization, Seattle clashes and, 168 World War II: aviation and aerospace industry in, 27; Ford production during, 179–80, 188 Wright Brothers, 341, 349, 412, 413 Wrigley Field, 411, 413, 414 Xi’an, China, 387, 390 YouTube, 13–14 Zahavi, Yakov, 117 Zappos.com, 66, 69–77, 422; business expansion of, 72;customer service at, 70–71; as decentralized, 74; fulfillment by, 73–74; inventory management at, 73, 74; ordering from, 71–73; shipping strategy of, 70, 72 Zemcik, Marty, 142–44 Zhang Qian, 409 Zhao, Jeff, 205–207 Zheng He, 390 Zhou Tianbao, 205–206 Zhuhai, China, 378, 383 Zimbabwe, economy of, 325 Zoellick, Robert, 400 A Note About the Authors John D.

Year 501 by Noam Chomsky

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anti-communist, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, Bolshevik threat, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, colonial rule, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Howard Zinn, invisible hand, land reform, land tenure, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, strikebreaker, structural adjustment programs, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, union organizing, War on Poverty, working poor

In Germany and other successful economies, labor conditions and benefits are high, by comparative standards. A study of industrial productivity by MIT specialists notes further that Germany, Japan, and other countries that maintained the “craft tradition” with more “direct participation of skilled workers in production decisions” have been more successful in modern industry than the United States, with its tradition of deskilling and marginalizing workers in the “mass-production model”; lessened hierarchy, responsibility in the hands of production workers, and training in new technologies has also improved results in the US, they conclude. Economist David Felix makes a similar point in comparing Latin America and East Asia. Asians who were less subordinated to Europe and the US than Latin American elites did not assign such high status to foreign-made consumption goods, “allowing much larger segments of the craft sector to survive, accumulate, and modernize the technology,” while also easing balance-of-payments pressures.

Carnegie and Frick overcame the workers of Homestead by force, first sending Pinkerton guards, then the Pennsylvania National Guard when the Pinkertons were defeated and expelled by the local population. “The lockout crushed the largest trade union in America, the AAISW, and it wrecked the lives of its most devoted members,” Paul Krause writes in his comprehensive history. Unionism was not revived in Homestead for 45 years. The impact was far broader. Destruction of unions was only one aspect of the general project of disciplining labor. Workers were to be deskilled, turned into pliable tools under the control of “scientific management.” Management was particularly incensed that “the men ran the mill and the foreman had little authority” in Homestead, one official later said. As discussed earlier, it has been plausibly argued that the current malaise of US industry can be traced in part to the success of the project of making working people “as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to be,” in defiance of Adam Smith’s warning that government must “take pains to prevent” this fate for the “labouring poor” as the “invisible hand” does its grim work (see pp. 25, 145).


pages: 515 words: 132,295

Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business by Rana Foroohar

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3D printing, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, bank run, Basel III, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, centralized clearinghouse, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, High speed trading, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour mobility, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, pensions crisis, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vanguard fund

If you could measure it, you could manage it—a motto that McKinsey, the global business consulting giant, would eventually pick up and adopt as its unofficial slogan decades later. A managerial high caste was being born, one separate from owner-entrepreneurs. It was focused mainly on financial metrics and adversarial to labor, which was increasingly being de-skilled, thanks to Taylorist ideas of rigid, limited job descriptions. But if workers were being de-skilled, so were managers. As firms became more financialized, managers became less and less knowledgeable about the actual products their companies were creating, even as they knew more about their financial performance. As control of production got decentralized, financial decision making, the most important power node in the company, was being ever more centralized and crucial to corporate strategy.


pages: 282 words: 28,394

Learn Descriptive Cataloging Second North American Edition by Mary Mortimer

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California gold rush, clean water, corporate governance, deskilling, illegal immigration

., a public library system where the main library does all the cataloging for the branches. f. • • • • • cheaper and quicker—cataloging is only done once per title, however many copies are bought consistency and high standards—fewer specialist cataloging staff cataloging staff builds up more expertise fewer sets of cataloging tools needed (they are expensive) end processing can also be centralized g. • • • de-skilling of other library staff local branches have no control over the subject headings, etc.—more difficult to relate cataloging to needs of users other staff have fewer tasks to share around—risk of professional staff being bored h. • • • • • • sharing ideas, skills, work consistency among members of the network knowledge of what other libraries in the network collect possibility of sharing professional expertise awareness of scrutiny of other professionals may help keep standards high savings of time and effort i


pages: 306 words: 78,893

After the New Economy: The Binge . . . And the Hangover That Won't Go Away by Doug Henwood

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, capital controls, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, deskilling, ending welfare as we know it, feminist movement, full employment, gender pay gap, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, labor-force participation, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, manufacturing employment, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Naomi Klein, new economy, occupational segregation, pets.com, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, union organizing, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K

So if there's always a new economy, is it newly new? It's hard to argue that it is; there are a lot of ancient holdovers persisting into the present. As later chapters in this book will show, the labor market produced plenty of snazzy jobs, like image consultants and systems analysts, but it also produced lots of mundane ones, like security guards and home health aides. Technology may be making some jobs more interesting, but it's de-skilling lots of others—and it's increasing employers' powers of measurement and surveillance over workers. In the late 1990s, income-distribution measures were at their most unequal in sixty years, and world income gaps were chasmically wide. Yes, financial markets and production have been inter-nationahzed, but "globalization" has been a feature of capitaHsm firom its earHest days. Yes, finance seems to have become hyperactive, but bubbles too are an old story.


pages: 209 words: 80,086

The Global Auction: The Broken Promises of Education, Jobs, and Incomes by Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder, David Ashton

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affirmative action, barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, collective bargaining, corporate governance, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, glass ceiling, global supply chain, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial robot, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market design, neoliberal agenda, new economy, pensions crisis, post-industrial society, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy, working poor

As Wilensky predicted, “the line between those who decide, ‘What is to be done and how’ and those who do it—that dividing line would move up. The men who once applied Taylor to the proletariat would themselves be Taylorized.”40 80 The Global Auction The distinction between thinking and doing in a period of mechanical Taylorism also helped shape class relations between blue-collar and white-collar workers. Digital Taylorism is not only deskilling many white-collar workers, but it also incites a power struggle within the middle classes, as corporate reengineering reduces the autonomy and discretion of some but not all managers and professionals. It encourages the segmentation of talent in ways that reserve permission to think to a small proportion of elite employees responsible for driving the business forward, functioning cheek by jowl with equally wellqualified workers in more Taylorized jobs.


pages: 271 words: 77,448

Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin

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Ada Lovelace, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Black Swan, call centre, capital asset pricing model, computer age, corporate governance, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Freestyle chess, future of work, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, rising living standards, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs

A drop in demand for general brainpower works well as part of the explanation. The researchers show what every young job seeker of recent years already knows, that “in response to this demand reversal, high-skilled workers have moved down the occupational ladder and have begun to perform jobs traditionally performed by lower-skilled workers”—thus the widely noted upsurge in file clerks and receptionists with bachelor’s degrees, for example. The next step: “This de-skilling process, in turn, results in high-skilled workers pushing low-skilled workers even further down the occupational ladder and, to some degree, out of the labor force altogether.” That finding not only makes intuitive sense, it also helps explain America’s unusually low overall employment rate and the stagnation of wages. FROM KNOWLEDGE WORKERS TO RELATIONSHIP WORKERS It sounds as if smart, highly educated people will be scorned in the coming economy—but that is not necessarily the case.


pages: 309 words: 78,361

Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth by Juliet B. Schor

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Asian financial crisis, big-box store, business climate, carbon footprint, cleantech, Community Supported Agriculture, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Gini coefficient, global village, income inequality, income per capita, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, life extension, McMansion, new economy, peak oil, pink-collar, post-industrial society, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, sharing economy, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, smart grid, The Chicago School, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, Zipcar

It’s a produce-on-demand method, so it minimizes waste by avoiding overproduction (a chronic problem in mass production). It incorporates desirable consumer features such as the ability to customize. Small-scale and sufficiency production also match the emergent skill set of the population. In the old mass production system, advanced numeracy and literacy were concentrated in managers and designers, and blue- and pink-collar work was deskilled. By contrast, high levels of numeracy and literacy are required more broadly in a technologically advanced economy, and equally so for the high-productivity, low-impact systems of agriculture and manufacture I have been discussing. As these skills are diffused through the population, the efficient scale of production falls. I will return to these issues in the final chapter, where I situate them within the macro context.


pages: 208 words: 67,582

What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society by Paul Verhaeghe

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Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, deskilling, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, invisible hand, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Louis Pasteur, market fundamentalism, Milgram experiment, new economy, post-industrial society, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, The Spirit Level, ultimatum game, working poor

As anyone with long-term teaching experience knows, the last few decades have seen a serious and universal decline in the standard of education. Despite the stress on competencies, this doesn’t just mean that pupils are less well-equipped in terms of cultural baggage. Basic skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic have suffered equally. In today’s economy this hardly constitutes a problem, because most professionals, from doctors to carpenters, need less knowledge than formerly. The process of de-skilling, to use an ugly word, is happening everywhere. Human skills have been replaced by technology and computers, and even medical specialists must toe the line and follow treatment protocols. At present, there is a growing demand for moderately educated but not overly critical individuals as job fodder. In a neo-liberal society, the function of education is not so much to train individuals to a high level as to select youngsters and mould them to fit a certain profile that will guarantee the highest productivity.


pages: 264 words: 74,313

Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places by Paul Collier

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dark matter, deskilling, failed state, moral hazard, out of africa, price stability, structural adjustment programs

By looking at the size of firms and the year when they were established, we found that where violence had been intense, firms had shrunk. Although to an extent these firms had bounced back once the fighting was over, it had left a significant legacy: it had sharply reduced worker productivity. Responding to the problem of low productivity, firms in the previously violent districts were more likely to be undertaking basic training of their workers. Evidently, violence had deskilled the workforce. The overall picture was of a flexible private economy that had been ravaged: firms reestablished and workers could find jobs at some pitiful wage, but the skills that would have justified higher wages had been destroyed. More than forty years ago Nobel laureate Ken Arrow had the key insight into the process of skill accumulation in a society. He called it “learning by doing”: productivity rises in an activity with practice.


pages: 283 words: 77,272

With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful by Glenn Greenwald

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Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Clive Stafford Smith, collateralized debt obligation, crack epidemic, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Brooks, deskilling, financial deregulation, full employment, high net worth, income inequality, Julian Assange, nuremberg principles, Ponzi scheme, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, too big to fail, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks

Long-term unemployment has serious consequences. People who are out of the workforce for even a few months suffer severe erosion of self-esteem, great stress, and dramatic changes to their lives. People who are out for a year or more are at risk of becoming permanently unemployable. Brian Bethune, chief financial economist at IHS Global Insight, warned in Daily Finance in March 2010: “People who are unemployed tend to get de-skilled. Anytime you go through a recession and there is an extended time of unemployment, there is a dead-weight loss of skills.” The unemployment crisis not only led to suffering and lost opportunity in its own right, but further entrenched and exacerbated America’s already-shocking inequality. The hardest-hit, by far, were those in the lower income brackets. In late 2009, when the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University analyzed labor conditions for ten groups of American households based on annual household income, it found that the poorest group had a jobless rate of 30.8 percent—which, as the New York Times columnist Bob Herbert pointed out, is “more than five points higher than the overall jobless rate at the height of the Depression.”

Chomsky on Mis-Education by Noam Chomsky

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deindustrialization, deskilling, Howard Zinn, invisible hand, means of production, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, union organizing, Washington Consensus

In this sense, as Edward Said correctly points out, teachers are like other “professionals, experts, consultants who provide authority with their labor while gaining great profit.”8 As paid functionaries of the state, teachers are expected to engage in a form of moral, social, political, and economic reproduction designed to shape students in the image of the dominant society. Far from the democratic education we claim to have, what we really have in place is a sophisticated colonial model of education designed primarily to train teachers in ways in which the intellectual dimension of teaching is often devalued. The major objective of a colonial education is to further de-skill teachers and students to walk unreflectively through a labyrinth of procedures and techniques. It follows, then, that what we have in place in the United States is not a system that encourages independent thought and critical thinking. On the contrary, our so-called democratic schools are based on an instrumental skills–banking approach that often prevents the development of the kind of thinking that enables one to “read the world” critically and to understand the reasons and linkages behind facts.

Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky

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anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Burning Man, business climate, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, global reserve currency, Howard Zinn, labour market flexibility, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage tax deduction, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, school choice, strikebreaker, structural adjustment programs, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, wage slave, women in the workforce

Furthermore, if you look at the kind of automation that was developed, you see precisely what workers in the early labor movement were complaining about: being turned into mindless tools of production. I mean, automation could have been designed in such a way as to use the skills of skilled machinists and to eliminate management—there’s nothing inherent in automation that says it can’t be used that way. But it wasn’t, believe me; it was used in exactly the opposite way. Automation was designed through the state system to demean and degrade people—to de-skill workers and increase managerial control. And again, that had nothing to do with the market, and it had nothing to do with the nature of the technology: it had to do with straight power interests. So the kind of automation that was developed in places like the M.I.T. Engineering Department was very carefully designed so that it would create interchangeable workers and enhance managerial control—and that was not for economic reasons. 51 I mean, study after study, including by management firms like Arthur D.

But it’s very interesting, didn’t make him too popular in the Faculty Club and so on. 53 One of the things he discusses there is Luddism [a movement of English workers who wrecked industrial machines, which began in 1811]. See, the Luddites are always accused of having wanted to destroy machinery, but it’s been known in scholarship for a long time that that’s not true—what they really wanted to do was to prevent themselves from being de-skilled, and Noble talks about this in his book. The Luddites had nothing against machinery itself, they just didn’t want it to destroy them, they wanted it to be developed in such a way that it would enhance their skills and their power, and not degrade and destroy them—which of course makes perfect sense. And that sentiment runs right throughout the working-class movements of the nineteenth century, actually—and you can even see it today.


pages: 304 words: 96,930

Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture by Taylor Clark

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Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, deskilling, Edmond Halley, fear of failure, Honoré de Balzac, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, McJob, McMansion, Naomi Klein, Ray Oldenburg, Ronald Reagan, The Great Good Place, trade route

Realizing it had to protest or risk admitting its culpability in the trend, McDonald’s executives lashed out at Merriam-Webster, calling the inclusion a “slap in the face” to the nation’s service workers and claiming that “a more appropriate definition of a ‘McJob’ might be ‘teaches responsibility.’ ” (In the 1991 novel Generation X, Douglas Coupland quipped that a McJob is “frequently considered a satisfying career choice by those who have never held one.”) The editors, apparently convinced that the companies that created the McJobs were the ones doing the face slapping, kept the word. While the Starbucks baristas of times past needed considerable coffee expertise to perform their work, today’s company baristas must carry out a series of tasks that are as simple and deskilled as possible; the chain emphasizes speed and efficiency above all else. “It is absolutely mindless labor,” one former Starbucks employee told me. “They’ve made it so that anyone can do it.” In other words, the position is now a textbook McJob. As if to underline this point, one source recently overheard a disgruntled barista at a Manhattan Starbucks complaining to a coworker, “You know, we’re just glorified McDonald’s employees.”


pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator

Perhaps the biggest news is that synthetic biology is on the verge of developing the ultimate enabling technology and leveler of the playing field—a set of user-friendly interfaces. One such tool is under development at Autodesk’s Pier 9 design center, where Carlos Olguin60 is working on Project Cyborg, a synthetic biology interface that allows high school students, entrepreneurs, and citizen scientists to program DNA. “We’re working hard to deskill the technology,” says Olguin. “A modeling process that would previously have taken weeks or months to complete and [would] require post-PhD level abilities can now be completed in a few seconds with relative ease. The goal here is to make programming with biological parts as intuitive as Facebook. We want more people designing and contributing, people who don’t have a PhD, people like Jack Andraka—the fourteen-year-old high school student who won the grand prize of the Intel Science and Engineering Fair for creating a fast, accurate, pennies-on-the-dollar test for pancreatic cancer.”


pages: 265 words: 15,515

Nomad Citizenship: Free-Market Communism and the Slow-Motion General Strike by Eugene W. Holland

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capital controls, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, deskilling, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, peak oil, price mechanism, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, slashdot, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, wage slave, working poor

The political division of labor, by contrast, although it often overlaps with a technical division of labor, involves distinctions of prestige or power that have nothing intrinsically to do with the skills exercised or level of par­ ticipation in the process.71 Most notable is the political division between intellectual and manual labor, which is an essential feature of royal or State science, according to Deleuze and Guattari: Royal science operates a “disqualification” of manual labor, a “de-skilling.” . . .Without conferring on “intellectuals” any real, autonomous power, royal science nonetheless empowers them relatively by withdrawing all autonomy and power from laborers [formerly artisans] who now do nothing more than reproduce or execute the plans formulated by the “intellectuals” [technocrats and managers].72 Owing to the power of royal science to extract abstract concepts from the concrete operations of productive practice, conception and execution be­ come distinct activities, and each gets assigned to a distinct status group.73 Francis Bacon’s program for the development of early modern science il­ lustrates this process perfectly: he charged agents of the Royal Academy with the task of visiting local workshops to extract whatever knowledges were in practice there, and then bringing them back to the academy, where they would be elaborated into formal scientific knowledge, only to be eventually reapplied to the production process in the form of technology, thereby liquidating the autonomy of the workers and subjecting them to technicomanagerial control.74 It is significant that this is not a directly or obviously political form of control: it stems instead from a form of the division of labor which, howsoever “natural” or necessary it has come to seem as the gap between conception and execution has widened with the ever-increasing application of technology, nonetheless operates normatively to subordinate manual to intellectual labor.


pages: 297 words: 89,206

Social Class in the 21st Century by Mike Savage

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call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clapham omnibus, Corn Laws, deindustrialization, deskilling, Downton Abbey, financial independence, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, precariat, psychological pricing, The Spirit Level, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, very high income, winner-take-all economy, young professional

Coxon, ‘The Misconstruction of Occupational Judgment’, British Journal of Sociology, 34(4), 1983, 483–90. 25. See more generally here, Mike Savage, Identities and Social Change in Britain since 1940: The Politics of Method (Oxford: 2010). 26. See Ross McKibbin, Classes and Cultures: England 1918–1951 (Oxford: 1998) and Savage, Identities and Social Change in Britain since 1940. 27. See Rosemary Crompton and Gareth Jones, White-collar Proletariat: Deskilling and Gender in Clerical Work (Basingstoke: 1984). 28. Annie Phizacklea and Robert Miles, Labour and Racism (London: 1980) and from the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain (London: 1982). 29. See the online resource http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/classifications/current-standard-classifications/soc2010/soc2010-volume-3-ns-sec--rebased-on-soc2010--user-manual/index.html#skiptotop. 30.


pages: 321 words: 97,661

How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine by Trisha Greenhalgh

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call centre, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, deskilling, knowledge worker, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, New Journalism, p-value, personalized medicine, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, the scientific method

The very core of the EBM approach is to use a population average (or more accurately, an average from a representative sample) to inform decision-making for that patient. But as many others before me have pointed out, a patient is not a mean or a median but an individual, whose illness inevitably has unique and unclassifiable features. Not only does over-standardisation make the care offered less aligned to individual needs, it also de-skills the practitioner so that he or she loses the ability to customise and personalise care (or, in the case of recently trained clinicians, fails to gain that ability in the first place). As Spence [1] put it, ‘Evidence engenders a sense of absolutism, but absolutism is to be feared absolutely. “I can’t go against the evidence” has produced our reductionist flowchart medicine, with thoughtless polypharmacy, especially in populations with comorbidity.


pages: 207 words: 86,639

The New Economics: A Bigger Picture by David Boyle, Andrew Simms

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Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, land reform, loss aversion, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, working-age population

Only a few decades ago, we still bought biscuits from tins by weight and drank from returnable bottles that carried a deposit. Why this enormous change? Partly the refrigeration revolution over the past century, which meant that food could be packaged and trucked into cities. Partly because it is cheaper to package products than to employ someone in a shop to weigh them out. Partly because we have been deskilled in the home and kitchen by the mass retailers’ peddling of prepared food and ready meals. Partly because rapid technological change has intensified the trend towards in-built obsolescence. Partly, also, because of the extraordinary growth in consumption worldwide. A terrifying 80 per cent of products are thrown away after a single use. But if we are not yet going to follow the lead of the stationery company chairman, and keep everything for a lifetime – and even then it all gets thrown away – the interim solution means using waste products as raw materials for something else.


pages: 440 words: 108,137

The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen J. McNamee

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, collective bargaining, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, equal pay for equal work, estate planning, failed state, fixed income, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, job automation, joint-stock company, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, occupational segregation, pink-collar, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, prediction markets, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, school choice, Scientific racism, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, white flight, young professional

While it is true that the computer age ushered in a new genre of occupational specialties, it is also true that the bulk of the expansion of new jobs, as we have seen, has actually been very low tech. The assumption of the need for a more highly educated labor force outpaced the reality. While computerization created some new jobs with high skill requirements, other jobs have been automated or “deskilled” by computerization. Sales clerks, for instance, no longer need to calculate change. In fast-food chains, keyboards on cash registers sometimes display pictures rather than numbers. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, even computer-programming jobs, the supposed leading edge of the postindustrial boom, experienced sharp job losses. Between 2000 and 2004, 180,000 computer-programming jobs, or about one-quarter of the occupation’s total employment, were lost (Hacker 2008, 77).

Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents by Lisa Gitelman

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Andrew Keen, computer age, corporate governance, deskilling, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, optical character recognition, profit motive, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Turing test, Works Progress Administration

Professional journalism did not yet exist—there were no journalism schools, no professional associations for journalists, and no avowed ideal of objectivity—and we know that the roles of author, editor, and publisher were professionalized primarily insofar as individuals made and were known to make a living writing, editing, or publishing, or doing some combination of the same.11 Printing, of course, was not a profession; it was a trade dressing itself as an art (“the art preservative”), and one that had for decades experienced wrenching structural changes—loosely put, “industrialization”—as the apprenticeship and journeyman system broke down, while some labors (like presswork) were deskilled and others (like typesetting) were not, or at least not yet. Print production in general experienced explosive growth, yet talented printers like Harpel struggled. Job printing grew more specialized (in its distinction from periodical and book work), inspiring still further innovations in printing technology, among them smaller iron hand presses that after 1850 included myriad versions of the platen press, or “jobber.”12 It was this press that was eventually miniaturized for and pitched to amateurs.


pages: 345 words: 92,849

Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality by Don Watkins, Yaron Brook

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple II, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blue-collar work, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, financial deregulation, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Uber for X, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor

As she writes in her book No Shame in My Game, even though many low-paying workers employ talents similar to those used by their white-collar counterparts—“memory skills, inventory management, the ability to work with a diverse crowd of employees, and versatility in covering for fellow workers when the demand increases” among many other skills—such workers are “limited by the popular impression that the jobs they hold now are devoid of value.” Newman is particularly disturbed by the fact that “when journalists want to call upon an image that connotes a deadening, routinized, almost ‘skill-free’ job, they routinely invoke the fast-food burger flipper as the iconic example. Writers interested in championing the cause of the de-skilled worker have also contributed to this image problem” by suggesting that “there is no skill left in the job” and that “any worker with half a brain [would run] for the door.”40 We live in a culture that has denigrated honest work, and the inequality critics share no small part of the blame. Instead of recognizing the dignity in a job well done, they equate dignity with a job well-compensated (or, absent that, a welfare check).

Powers and Prospects by Noam Chomsky

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anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, colonial rule, declining real wages, deindustrialization, deskilling, Fall of the Berlin Wall, invisible hand, Jacques de Vaucanson, John von Neumann, Monroe Doctrine, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, theory of mind, Tobin tax, Turing test

Illustrations include central features of the modern world: the creation and sustenance of the Pentagon system of corporate welfare despite its well-known inefficiencies; the openly proclaimed strategy of diversion of soaring profits to creation of excess capacity abroad as a weapon against the domestic working class; the design of automation within the state system to enhance managerial control and de-skill workers even at the cost of efficiency and profitability; and many other examples, including a large part of the foreign policy. I’m afraid this barely skims the surface. It’s easy to see why the masters see a real hope of rolling back the hated welfare state, driving the great beast to its lair, and at last achieving the ‘daring depravity of the times’ that so shocked Madison in its very early stages, with private tyrannies, now released from even limited public accountability, assuming their proper role as ‘the pretorian [sic] band of the Government, at once its tool and its tyrant; bribed by its largesses and overawing it by its clamours and combinations’.

Rogue States by Noam Chomsky

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anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, capital controls, collective bargaining, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, declining real wages, deskilling, Edward Snowden, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, floating exchange rates, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, oil shock, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, structural adjustment programs, Tobin tax, union organizing, Washington Consensus

When it was designed in the state sector it was designed in a very specific way, which is not inherent in the technology, and this topic has been rather well studied.22 The system of computer-controlled machine tools could have been developed so as to empower mechanics and get rid of useless layers of management. But it was done the other way around: it was done to increase the layers of management and to de-skill workers. Again, that’s not a technological or an economic decision, but it’s a power decision—basically, part of class war. The same can be done with the factory of the future, when it is designed in the state sector—without anyone observing it, of course, except the business world, who are quite happy about it. The Mantech program expanded rapidly under the Reagan administration, which actually went far beyond the norm in violating market principles for the rich, while being full of elevated rhetoric for the poor.


pages: 353 words: 91,211

The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900 by David Edgerton

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agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, British Empire, conceptual framework, deglobalization, dematerialisation, desegregation, deskilling, global village, Haber-Bosch Process, interchangeable parts, knowledge economy, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, means of production, megacity, microcredit, new economy, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, spinning jenny, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, V2 rocket

By Jakob Mohrland, The History of Brunnental – 1918–1941, interview of 16 January 1986; http://www.brunnental.us/brunnental/mohrland.txt. 37. Sheila Fitzpatrick, Stalin’s Peasants: Resistance and Survival in the Russian Village after Collectivisation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 136. 38. Ibid., p. 138. 39. Angus Maddison, Dynamic Forces in Capitalist Development: a Long-run Comparative View (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 150. 40. Deborah Fitzgerald, ‘Farmers de-skilled: hybrid corn and farmers’ work’, Technology and Culture, Vol. 34 (1993), pp. 324–43. 41. Simon Partner, ‘Brightening Country Lives: selling electrical goods in the Japanese countryside, 1950–1970’, Enterprise & Society, Vol. 1 (2000), pp. 762–84. 42. A. J. H. Latham, Rice: the Primary Commodity (London: Routledge, 1998), pp. 6–7. 43. John McNeill, Something New under the Sun: an Environmental History of the Twentieth Century (London: Penguin, 2000), pp. 225–6. 44.


pages: 492 words: 70,082

Immigration worldwide: policies, practices, and trends by Uma Anand Segal, Doreen Elliott, Nazneen S. Mayadas

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affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, borderless world, British Empire, Celtic Tiger, centre right, conceptual framework, credit crunch, demographic transition, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, full employment, global village, guest worker program, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, New Urbanism, open borders, phenotype, South China Sea, structural adjustment programs, trade route, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, urban planning, women in the workforce

Dependence on the state welfare system is an important determinant of the experience of asylum seekers as they become conscious of the social stigma attached to dependence on the state welfare system in Ireland and become aware of hostility from members of Irish society to their dependence on the same. Legally imposed unemployment precludes individuals from contributing to their host society as workers and taxpayers, gives rise to a deskilling process, to role redefinition, to loss of dignity and self esteem, and to significant changes in lifestyle. Irish refugee legislation and policy gives rise to resource-based restrictive inclusion in Irish society and to the loss of social and economic status and of social roles. Individuals are left with few options but to enter the labor force as undocumented workers. At the same time, the negative way in which the label ‘‘asylum seeker’’ is socially constructed creates barriers to the integration process and limits the individual’s ability to reestablish their social world in exile.

Among the factors that define their experience of Irish society are the social construction of negative labels; resource-based restrictive inclusion; perceived hostility from some members of Irish society; an ambivalent approach to immigration from government and a failure to acknowledge their specific needs; and a perceived lack of appreciation of their role in Irish society. For respondents their primary and secondary social networks expand slowly and to a limited extent. In the Irish case, opportunities and obstacles are very much a characteristic of immigrant status. Among the range of barriers that confront refugees are the legal prohibition on employment for asylum seekers; delays in the processing of asylum applications during which time individuals become deskilled; government policies that stipulate that language classes, education, and training should not be made available to asylum seekers; and the lack of an appropriate authority or an examination process to convert educational and professional qualifications. Though significant numbers of migrants have arrived in Ireland since the mid-1990s, it was only in 2006 that all issues relating to the recognition of foreign qualifications were centralized under the ‘‘Recognition Ireland’’ service provided by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland.


pages: 477 words: 135,607

The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson

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air freight, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, British Empire, call centre, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, global supply chain, intermodal, Isaac Newton, job automation, knowledge economy, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, oil shock, Panamax, Port of Oakland, post-Panamax, Productivity paradox, refrigerator car, South China Sea, trade route, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War

Goldblatt, “Working Class Leader,” p. 860. Herod, Labor Geographies, offers a sophisticated discussion of these disputes revolving around the nature and location of longshore work. Concern about jobs lost to barge carriers, known as LASH (lighter aboard ship) vessels, appears in Longshore News, December 1969, p. 3. Critics of the ILWU and ILA agreements have made much of the routinization and “de-skilling” of longshore work due to containerization. See, for example, Herb Mills, “The Men along the Shore,” California Living, September 1980. Containerization undoubtedly eliminated the need for some skills but greatly increased the need for others. Sea-Land, as one example, employed almost twice as many mechanics at Port Elizabeth in 1980 as were employed in the entire Port of New York two decades earlier.


pages: 561 words: 114,843

Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website by Matt Blumberg

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airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Broken windows theory, crowdsourcing, deskilling, fear of failure, high batting average, high net worth, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, James Hargreaves, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, pattern recognition, performance metric, pets.com, rolodex, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype

The same man now walks into a room full of adults at a conference. “How many of you know how to dance?” he asks. A few hands go up reluctantly, all of them female. “How many of you know how to sing?” Again, a few stray hands go up from different corners of the crowd. Five percent at best. “And how many of you know how to paint?” This time, literally not one hand goes up in the air. So there you go. What makes us get deskilled or dumber as we get older? Nothing at all! It’s just our expectations of ourselves that grow. The bar goes up for what it takes to count yourself as knowing how to do something with every passing year. Why is that? When we were five years old, all of us were about the same in terms of our capabilities. Singing, painting, dancing, tying shoes. But as we age, we find ourselves with peers who are world class specialists in different areas, and all of a sudden, our perception of self changes.


pages: 434 words: 150,773

When the Iron Lady Ruled Britain by Robert Chesshyre

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Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, deskilling, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, full employment, housing crisis, manufacturing employment, means of production, North Sea oil, oil rush, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Silicon Valley, the market place, trickle-down economics, union organizing, young professional

Yes, he said, but by so doing they would lose their most highly skilled people, some of whom reached their full value to the company only after three or four years of employment. Such people could easily find alternative work in Slough. He estimated that only half a dozen of his present workers would be prepared to make such a move. The dilemma, as he put it, was that if the firm stayed it couldn’t get sufficient basic workers; if it moved, it lost essential staff. (To mitigate the labour shortage, he was ‘de-skilling’ jobs, using computers to enable unskilled men to carry out skilled functions.) He bore also a prejudice, which I was to find to be common in Slough, against northern working practices. He had seen them firsthand, when, as a young engineer, he travelled the region maintaining machinery. ‘Our northern cousins,’ he said, ‘don’t do themselves any favours.’ He recalled spending two days on a job he estimated should have taken an hour and a half because a different ‘craftsman’ was required at each stage to perform such sophisticated tasks as unplugging the electrical supply.


pages: 377 words: 21,687

Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight by David A. Mindell

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1960s counterculture, computer age, deskilling, fault tolerance, interchangeable parts, Mars Rover, more computing power than Apollo, Norbert Wiener, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, telepresence, telerobotics

It was conceived in the wake of Russia’s Sputnik success and in the early Kennedy years when large-scale science and technical and managerial projects seemed to promise solutions to political problems. But Apollo unfolded in the era of Vietnam, 1960s counterculture, and increasing questioning of the social benefits of large technological systems. Commentators worried about the phenomenon of ‘‘deskilling’’ as computerized machine tools transformed work on the factory floor.20 In his speeches and writings, for example, Martin Luther King frequently mentioned automation as a cause of the social displacements he was seeking to redress. Even NASA director James Webb suggested that the jobs generated by the Apollo program would help mollify unemployment created by automation. The Apollo years spanned the release of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr.

Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia by Dariusz Jemielniak

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Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, citation needed, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, Debian, deskilling, digital Maoism, en.wikipedia.org, Filter Bubble, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, hive mind, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, moral hazard, online collectivism, pirate software, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons

Depending on the day, hour, and speed of one’s Internet connection, it is possible to make anything from one to more than a dozen edits in ten minutes. This work requires no thought and only basic skills in Wikipedia policies. It resembles work at a McDonald’s cash register—hitting the correct buttons, in the correct order, as quickly as possible, in a perverse new version of Taylorism. Although knowledge-work deskilling and Taylorism in knowledge-creating organizations is not unusual (Greenwood & Levin, 2001), it is remarkable that the Wikipedia community, one focused on generating and preserving knowledge, by its own design promotes manual over knowledge-intensive labor. This paradox may be related to power relations in the community and its organizational structure and egalitarian design, discussed earlier.


pages: 572 words: 134,335

The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class by Kees Van der Pijl

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anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, collective bargaining, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, deskilling, diversified portfolio, European colonialism, floating exchange rates, full employment, imperial preference, Joseph Schumpeter, means of production, North Sea oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, RAND corporation, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty

The recession came in the midst of the CIO drive and worked both to undermine the workers’ will to strike and to bolster the employers’ will to resist.57 At this juncture, the AFL took the offensive, and as a result of its greater financial resources and broader support in the capitalist class, succeeded in recapturing much of the territory lost to the CIO and more. The AFL in the previous period had lost influence as a consequence both of mass production and deskilling tendencies, and because of company feudalism; now that the lightning advance of the CIO was halted, the AFL veered back to its original preeminence by combining some of the lessons it had been taught by the new organizing practices of the CIO with its rich experience of class collaboration. The restructuration of labour relations from the pre-New Deal format to the new Fordist pattern far from obliterated the forms of some of the previous arrangements.


pages: 528 words: 146,459

Computer: A History of the Information Machine by Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray, Nathan L. Ensmenger, Jeffrey R. Yost

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Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, Byte Shop, card file, cashless society, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer age, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, garden city movement, Grace Hopper, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, pirate software, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the market place, Turing machine, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, young professional

The advocates of software engineering emphasized the need to impose industrial discipline on informal and idiosyncratic craft practices of programmers. They rejected the notion that large software projects were inherently unmanageable and recommended, instead, that software developers adopt methods and techniques borrowed from traditional manufacturing. The ultimate goal would be a kind of “software factory” complete with interchangeable parts (or “software components”), mechanized production, and a largely deskilled and routinized workforce. The tools used to achieve this goal included structured design, formal methods, and development models. The most widely adopted engineering practice was the use of a “structured design methodology.” Structured design reflected the belief that the best way to manage complexity was to limit the software writer’s field of view. Thus, the programmer would begin with an overview of the software artifact to be built.

From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry by Martin Campbell-Kelly

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Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business process, card file, computer age, computer vision, continuous integration, deskilling, Grace Hopper, inventory management, John von Neumann, linear programming, Menlo Park, Network effects, popular electronics, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, software patent, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

SABRE, “The Kid’s SAGE” By 1960, both hardware and software technologies had improved dramatically. Unreliable first-generation vacuum-tube computers were giving way to smaller, cheaper, more reliable second-generation machines that used transistors, reliable core memory was now standard, and magnetic-tape storage could be augmented with random-access disk stores. Software technology had matured, allowing some de-skilling and some cost reduction through the use of programming languages and manufacturerprovided utilities. Hence, most large and medium-size firms could now achieve routine computerization with in-house staff members, occasionally augmented by programming contractors. However, real-time projects pushed the technology to its limit. They required a computer to respond instantaneously to external inputs and to process many transactions simultaneously, a requirement for which IBM used the term “teleprocessing.”

Hopes and Prospects by Noam Chomsky

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Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, colonial rule, corporate personhood, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Firefox, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, invisible hand, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, new economy, nuremberg principles, open borders, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus

The goal was to boost the market share and industrial leadership of U.S. industry in the traditional way, through state initiative and taxpayer funding. There was also a side benefit: the factory of the future could be designed to control the workforce. That is an old story. For example, automation and computer-controlled machine tools were developed in the public sector for a long period, then finally handed over to private industry. Within the state sector the technology was designed in a specific way: to de-skill workers and enhance management control. That choice was not inherent in the technology and does not appear to have been more profitable. But it is a powerful weapon in class war. The topic was well studied by then–MIT professor David Noble in important work.18 These programs expanded under the Reagan administration, which went beyond the norm in violating market principles for the rich, while excelling in elevated rhetoric about the need for market discipline for the poor.

The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be by Moises Naim

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additive manufacturing, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crony capitalism, deskilling, disintermediation, don't be evil, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, intermodal, invisible hand, job-hopping, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Martin Wolf, megacity, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, open borders, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, private military company, profit maximization, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey

This can turn even advanced and mature democracies into stagnant entities incapable of responding to the challenges and demands of the twenty-first century. As noted, Europe’s inability to respond in a timely and effective way to its devastating economic crisis offers a painful example of the corroding effects of the end of power. With even more perilous consequences, so does our inability to act decisively to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases that are warming our planet. The De-skilling and Loss of Knowledge Centralized and hierarchical organizations held sway for more than a century for a reason. Political parties, large corporations, churches, foundations, bureaucracies, militaries, prestigious universities, and cultural institutions accumulate experience, practices, and knowledge within their walls; they archive their successes and inculcate habits, culture, and operational routines in their employees or members.


pages: 525 words: 153,356

The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010 by Selina Todd

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call centre, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, credit crunch, deindustrialization, deskilling, Downton Abbey, financial independence, full employment, income inequality, manufacturing employment, New Urbanism, Red Clydeside, rent control, rising living standards, strikebreaker, The Spirit Level, unemployed young men, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, young professional

Many of them had accepted this with equanimity, until the Co-op’s managers declared their intention of reducing the wages for women in their age group, and simultaneously introducing new bonuses for young school-leavers, who were cheaper to employ. The women worried that if this was allowed they would be replaced by younger workers and would not have jobs to come back to. Behind this, they detected their employer’s intention to ‘de-skill’ office work by breaking down their jobs into menial tasks that recent school-leavers could undertake. These young workers struck on 23 December – perfectly timed to disrupt Christmas trade. Faced with crowds of angry customers, the Co-op’s management capitulated to their demands, and restored the old rate of pay.26 These strikers were alert to their employers’ attempts to use the war for their own advantage.


pages: 475 words: 149,310

Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire by Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri

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affirmative action, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, conceptual framework, David Graeber, Defenestration of Prague, deskilling, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, global village, Howard Rheingold, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Joseph Schumpeter, labour mobility, land reform, land tenure, late capitalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, private military company, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Richard Stallman, Slavoj Žižek, The Chicago School, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, transaction costs, union organizing, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus

We should note that the demands for direct democracy and self-management were strongest in the socialist and communist movements during the phase of industrial development when the professionalized industrial worker occupied a hegemonic position in the organization of capitalist production, roughly from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. The industrial workers then knew each aspect of the productive process and understood the entire cycle of production because they were its pivot. As the industrial revolution continued in the twentieth century, as assembly lines were introduced and workers were progressively deskilled, the call for worker self-management seemed almost naturally to evaporate. The project of self-management thus gave way to the notion of planning, which was a mechanism to correct (but not displace) the capitalist organization of labor and the market. As the twentieth century developed, the democratic socialist parties, in Europe and elsewhere, integrating themselves into the capitalist system, abandoned even the pretense of representing or defending the working class.


pages: 859 words: 204,092

When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Rise of the Middle Kingdom by Martin Jacques

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Admiral Zheng, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, credit crunch, Dava Sobel, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Doha Development Round, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global reserve currency, global supply chain, illegal immigration, income per capita, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, land tenure, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, open economy, pension reform, price stability, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, spinning jenny, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, urban planning, Washington Consensus, Xiaogang Anhui farmers

The domestic market was unconstrained by the local and regional preferences and the class and status distinctions that prevailed in Europe and, being relatively homogeneous, was much more receptive to standardized products.71 The relative scarcity of labour stimulated a constant desire to introduce labour-saving machinery and improve productivity. Unlike in Europe, there was little resistance to the process of deskilling and the routinization of tasks. The result was an economy which showed a far greater proclivity for technological innovation, mechanization, the standardization of products, constant improvement in the labour process, economies of scale and mass production than was the case in Europe. The American model was distinguished by a new kind of mass market and mass consumer, with all the attendant innovations in areas such as advertising.


pages: 540 words: 168,921

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

Pogroms in Russia, Poland, and other Eastern European countries sent a large number of Jews to swell the tidal wave of immigrants washing on American shores between 1880 and 1914. Motives for leaving home ran the gamut from avoiding military service, fleeing taxes, hungering for adventure, getting higher wages, wanting land, or seeking political and religious freedom.12 Steamships sped up the trips while steerage rates remained low. This steady flow of cheap labor came at the right time for corporate America, which was de-skilling many jobs as it set up factory assembly lines. Steel plants, oil refineries, sweat shops, and a myriad of factories beckoned from Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Youngstown, Toledo, and Newark to those who landed at Ellis Island. Most immigrants manned the factories, but some from Sweden and Norway went west to settle the newly opened land in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Women, depending upon the customs from their native Greece, Germany, or Ireland, took factory jobs, worked as servants, or stayed home making artificial flowers, hats, and clothes.


pages: 741 words: 179,454

Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk by Satyajit Das

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andy Kessler, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, discrete time, diversification, diversified portfolio, Doomsday Clock, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, global reserve currency, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, index fund, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, load shedding, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, savings glut, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the market place, the medium is the message, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

Harley Shaiken, a labor economist at the University of California at Berkeley, observed: “The most important model that rolled off the Detroit assembly lines in the 20th century was the middle class for blue-collar workers.”5 In trickle-down economics, benefits flow down from the top to the bottom. During the Great Depression, Will Rogers, the humorist, defined it as: “Money was all appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy.” In the 1970s, the process went into reverse. The auto industry and heavy industries in the United States and developed countries declined. Technological change deskilled some jobs, driving declines in the earnings of low and middle-income workers. Increasing international trade and globalization meant that jobs were outsourced to developing countries, where labor costs were lower. This brought new wealth to emerging nations but depressed wages and living standards in developed countries. Immigration, both legal and illegal, affected incomes, especially in lower-skilled jobs.


pages: 600 words: 174,620

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van Der Kolk M. D.

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anesthesia awareness, British Empire, conceptual framework, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, feminist movement, impulse control, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, theory of mind, Yogi Berra

One of my favorite body-oriented ways to build effective fight/flight responses is our local impact center’s model mugging program, in which women (and increasingly men) are taught to actively fight off a simulated attack.31 The program started in Oakland, California, in 1971 after a woman with a fifth-degree black belt in karate was raped. Wondering how this could have happened to someone who supposedly could kill with her bare hands, her friends concluded that she had become de-skilled by fear. In the terms of this book, her executive functions—her frontal lobes—went off-line, and she froze. The model mugging program teaches women to recondition the freeze response through many repetitions of being placed in the “zero hour” (a military term for the precise moment of an attack) and learning to transform fear into positive fighting energy. One of my patients, a college student with a history of unrelenting child abuse, took the course.


pages: 1,631 words: 468,342

Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson

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biofilm, Broken windows theory, clean water, deskilling, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Indoor air pollution, indoor plumbing, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Own Your Own Home, sensible shoes, spice trade, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer

Washday is any time anyone throws a load into the machine, and laundering skills are in precipitous decline. Dishes are washed when the dishwasher is full. Meals occur any time or all the time or, what amounts to the same thing, never, as people serve more and more prepared and semi-prepared foods. And although a large, enthusiastic minority of home cooks grow more and more sophisticated, the majority become ever more de-skilled. Dirt, dust, and disorder are more common in middle-class homes than they used to be. Cleaning and neatening are done mostly when the house seems out of control. Bedding decreases in refinement, freshness, and comfort even as sales of linens, pillows, and comforters increase. It is not in goods that the contemporary household is poor, but in comfort and care. These deficiencies of housekeeping can have serious effects on health.