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We Are All Fast-Food Workers Now: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages by Annelise Orleck
airport security, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, British Empire, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, card file, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, Food sovereignty, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, immigration reform, indoor plumbing, Kickstarter, land reform, land tenure, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, McJob, means of production, new economy, payday loans, precariat, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, Skype, special economic zone, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor
There is little profit. So franchise owners cut costs by squeezing workers.5 That’s how we got “McJobs,” says Bleu Rainer. A “McJob” is defined by Webster’s and The Oxford English Dictionary as low-paid work that offers little satisfaction and few prospects for advancement. Living-wage activists say we don’t need dictionary definitions. People around the world have worked in McJobs. Many remain stuck in McJobs for their entire working lives. An estimated one in eight Americans has worked for McDonald’s itself, and with little to show for it. “I was even promoted to manager,” says Rainer, “but I never made more than $9.15 an hour or had a schedule I could depend on. That’s a McJob.” Stretch Sanders also knows about McJobs. He is trying to put himself through college on his CVS cashier’s salary.6 Sanders used to work for Carl’s Jr., owned by Andrew Puzder, Donald Trump’s first nominee to head the federal labor department.
Bleu Rainer was sleeping in bus stations because he didn’t earn enough to pay Tampa rent. The decision to protest was not that hard, says Rainer. “We really had nothing to lose.”6 Between 2012 and 2015, fast-food workers staged hundreds of one-day flash strikes, every few months in an ever-growing number of cities. And they took advantage of social media to maximize the impact of their actions. Images of shamefaced or weeping Ronald McDonalds went viral. So did the word “McJobs,” denoting dead-end work without benefits. They called on McDonald’s to “Supersize My Wages” and asked customers if they wanted “poverty fries.” These actions spread around the globe. In 2013, the National Guestworker Alliance asked Massimo Frattini and the IUF to support foreign student workers protesting horrific labor conditions at US fast-food restaurants. In Pennsylvania, “exchange students” were being forced to work eighty-hour weeks at McDonald’s and sleep in jammed basement dorms.
Singing and cheering, they said their names aloud.5 Bleu Rainer and hundreds of fast-food workers marched wearing “Black Lives Matter: I Can’t Breathe” sweatshirts, tying the movement for higher wages to the struggle against police violence—highlighting the last words uttered by Staten Island street vendor Eric Garner as he was choked to death by police a year earlier. “It’s the same struggle,” says Rainer. “We are the same people. We all want the same thing. We deserve dignity and a decent life.” Some marchers carried Ronald McDonald puppets. They waved the corporate clown high. In some versions, he wept in shame. “McJobs Cost Us All,” said a popular shirt. The McDonald’s logo appeared on banners, covered by the words “Poverty Wages: Not Lovin’ It.” High school students mugged for the cameras. Wheelchair-bound veterans in neon-green OUR Walmart shirts wheeled with the marchers. Kids ran and laughed under signs that said: “Everybody Deserves Respect.” As we reached Times Square, daylight fading, city lights flickering on, hundreds of home-healthcare providers, clad in white lab coats, began to sing and dance to the tune of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture by Taylor Clark
Berlin Wall, commoditize, 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
That word was McJob. Defined as “a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement,” the slang term had been in common use for more than a decade. But by the time the Merriam-Webster editors elected to legitimize the term, the proliferation of McJobs had become a national issue, bemoaned in bestsellers like Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation; the general contention was that they were dehumanizing, tedious, dead-end posts that did no favors to the tens of millions of people who worked them. 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.”)
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.”
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.” Calling the post a McJob in no way implies that Starbucks baristas ought to resign themselves to feeling ill-treated and disposable or that they don’t deserve union protection. But one unavoidable fact makes unions at Starbucks all but impossible: as long as the work remains so unfulfilling, very few people will want to keep the job for long, no matter what Schultz says to keep them inspired. Recent events bear this point out. As it turns out, the Wobblies’ New York crusade actually wasn’t the first time baristas moved to unionize under Schultz. In 1996, 116 Starbucks employees from ten stores in British Columbia joined the Canadian Auto Workers Union and succeeded in negotiating several concessions from the company, like higher wages and more rights for long-tenured workers.
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland
While the two of us were walking home, he ditched me right in the middle of a conversation we were having and darted across the road, where he then scraped a boulder across the front hood and windshield of a Cutlass Supreme. This is not the first time he has impulsively vandalized like this. The car was the color of butter and bore a bumper sticker saying WE'RE SPENDING OUR CHILDREN'S INHERITANCE, a message that I suppose irked Dag, who was bored and cranky after eight hours of working his Mcjob ("Low pay, low prestige, low benefits, low future"). I wish I understood this destructive tendency in Dag; otherwise he is such a considerate guy —to the point where once he wouldn't bathe for a week when a spider spun a web in his bathtub. "I don't know, Andy," he said as he slammed my screen door, doggies in tow, resembling the lapsed half of a Mormon pamphleting duo with a white shirt, askew tie, armpits hinged with sweat, 48-hour stubble, gray slacks ("not pants, slacks") and butting his head like a rutting elk almost immediately into the vegetable crisper of my Frigidaire, from which he pulled wilted romaine leaves off the dewy surface of a bottle of cheap vodka, "whether I feel more that I want to punish some aging crock for frittering away my world, or whether I'm just upset that the world has gotten too big—way beyond our capacity to tell stories about it, and so all we're stuck with are these blips and chunks and snippets on bumpers."
Dag was on a vandal's high, and the two of us were sitting on couches in my living room looking at the fire burning in the fireplace, when shortly Claire stormed in (no knock), her mink-black-bob-cut aflutter, and looking imposing in spite of her shortness, the effect carried off by chic garnered from working the Chanel counter at the local I. Magnin store. "Date from hell," she announced, causing Dag and I to exchange meaningful glances. She grabbed a glass of mystery drink in the kitchen MCJOB: A low -pay, low prestige, low -dignity, low benefit, no-future job in the service sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never held one. POVERTY JET SET: A group of people given to chronic traveling at the expense of longterm job stability or a permanent residence. Tend to have doomed and extremely expensive phonecall relationships with people named Serge or llyana.
"And it was this thought of loving that sustained me for a long while when, after quitting, I turned into a Basement Person and never went in to work in an office again." OVERBOARDING: Overcompensating for fears about the future by plunging headlong into a job or life-style seemingly unrelated to one's previous life interests; i.e., Amway sales, aerobics, the Republican party, a career in law, cults, McJobs. . . . EARTH TONES: A youthful subgroup interested in vegetarianism, tie-dyed outfits, mild recreational drugs, and good stereo equipment. Earnest, frequently lacking in humor. ETHNOMAGNETISM: The tendency of young people to live in emotionally demonstrative, more unrestrained ethnic neighborhoods: "You wouldn't understand it there, mother— they hug where I live now." "Now: when you become a Basement Person, you drop out of the system.
Brave New World of Work by Ulrich Beck
affirmative action, anti-globalists, Asian financial crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, full employment, future of work, Gunnar Myrdal, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, job automation, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, McJob, means of production, mini-job, post-work, postnationalism / post nation state, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, working poor, working-age population, zero-sum game
Besides, their objective is much more likely to be the moulding of a life of one's own than conquest of the world market. If it is successful, so much the better. But in case of doubt, a badly paid service job may also be accepted as a meaningful part of an individual's history of paid work. Such a history would then, in the nature of things, be full of breaks and contradictions; education would be interrupted and resumed, McJobs would often rank equally with starting up in a business of one's own, and everything would be woven together into a quite individual web of activities and employ-ment situations. One thing, however, is common to all these life-constructions: they lie outside the classical employee's biography, outside union agreements and statutory salary scales, outside collective bargaining and home mortgage contracts.32 And they are the basis for a precarious new culture of independence: ‘business men and women in their own affairs’.
An ill person is an anti-capitalist and a nuisance to the company. A very ill person is a terrorist and a menace to jobs. A very very ill person abuses the social safety-net and the employer's goodwill. To continue paying wages during sickness leads to socialism. It has to stop! … Since we became younger, we have been more productive. Hardly a single one of us does not have the strength for five McJobs! Everyone delivers five newspapers at five in the morning, then takes five dogs for a walk, then fries burgers for half the day, then helps out for the other half in a health-food shop or a dry-cleaner's, and finally goes to work in a bar for the evening. The service society does indeed keep us all youthful. Anyone who is not flexible and does not have four legs has simply not understood the dollar sign of the age.
Initially conceived as a temporary measure, this provides the legal basis for deregulation of the labour market (fixed-term contracts, job-sharing, labour available on call, casual labour), and hence for the individualization of paid work. The downsizing of both skilled and unskilled labour also takes place on the basis of the ‘50/50’ rule in the contemporary US economy, according to which people over 50 years of age and earning less than $50,000 a year are the first to be hit when jobs are divided or eliminated. McJobs What does it actually mean when someone earns so little that two or more jobs are needed to make a living? Ursula Münch has a long day ahead of her: two jobs (one for eight hours, one for two); four bus journeys, involving twelve transfers and a total of three hours' travel; plus shopping, cleaning and cooking for the children. She is always in a hurry, and usually ends up running to the bus stop.
Shampoo Planet by Douglas Coupland
No time to feel, "Ah, this is my pace," So I calmly feel my pace for the first time. I smell the pilot light on the stove, hear the hum of the fridge and the rattle of the hallway fan. Now that I feel settled in, I can call Daisy up in Lancaster. The promised month has passed. Seems like a year. Over in the corner I see my camera, which I have yet to even take out of its case, having been steered away from fashion photography and bullied into a rent-paying McJob by Stephanie. The job? I man the hellish bubbling wing computer at WingWorld, a franchise that vends those parts of the chicken that remain after the white meat has been used in nuggets and the scary bits have been ground into KittyWhip(r). I am saved from utter job-despair hell, however, by the possibility of a job bussing tables at the Hard Rock Cafe, the acme of franchise-food-chain glamour, sometime later this month.
You'll need the Scoreboard from Dodger Stadium to buy those. Knock you out yet give you a natural rem cycle. Brain caviar." There is a reason I am walking down Hollywood Boulevard today. I quit my job at WingWorld yesterday. I decided I will not burn wings every day merely to give myself enough sustenance to be able to continue working at WingWorld to make enough sustenance to continue working at WingWorld to ... The loop of evil. Who invented these McJobs, anyway? They're work, but they're not a living. The undead working at unlabor. But WingWorld is my past, now. This afternoon here on the Boulevard I am experimenting with a seriously scorching entrepreneurial idea I flashed onto last week--the idea that gave me the confidence to quit. I figure, even if I have to live inside a rolled-up carpet in the alley behind the house of the Heroin Family, I would rather be a loser on my own terms than spend one more nanosecond behind goopy vats of Cajun Crocodile, Barbecue Blitz, and Mister Mustard sauce listening to Jesus lie (as truth turns out) about mythical nightclub jobs.
In-N-Out Burger by Stacy Perman
anti-communist, British Empire, commoditize, corporate raider, El Camino Real, estate planning, forensic accounting, Haight Ashbury, Maui Hawaii, McJob, McMansion, new economy, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Upton Sinclair
After that, the numbers decrease substantially: 53 percent remain one year, 25 percent stay two years, and only 12 percent remain three years or longer. In the case of In-N-Out Burger, its managers maintained an average tenure of fourteen years, while its part-time associates remained, on average, two years. The result was a corporate culture operating in stark contrast to the competition’s systems of burger flippers and vat fryers, floor moppers and cashiers who put on their paper hats and grease-stained aprons in what society calls McJobs and economists refer to as the requisite churn of capitalism. It was a place where people genuinely enjoyed getting up in the morning and going to work. Rich explained it this way: “We try and maintain the highest quality level possible, and to do that you need good training and good people. That’s why we pay the highest wages in the industry.” He added, “It means we tend to keep our employees longer than at other places, and the reduced turnover helps us maintain consistency in our products.”
Southern California Country, an Island in the Land. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1946. Mariani, John. America Eats Out: An Illustrated History of Restaurants, Taverns, Coffee Shops, Speakeasies, and Other Establishments that Have Fed Us for 350 Years. New York: Morrow, 1991. Moon, Youngme, et al. “In-N-Out Burger,” Case Study 9–503–096. Harvard Business Review, June 30, 2003. Newman, Jerry. My Secret Life on the McJob: Lessons from Behind the Counter Guaranteed to Supersize Any Management Style. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Pinheiro, Aileen, comp. The Heritage of Baldwin Park, 2 vols. Dallas, Tex.: Taylor Publishing Co., 1981; Covina, Ca.: Nielson Press Inc., 1999. Roderick, Kevin. The San Fernando Valley: America’s Suburb. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Times Books, 2001. Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.
See drag racing Hot Rod magazine, 77 hot rods, Guy and Rich’s love of, 50, 122 Howard, Margaret, memories of In-N-Out, 43 How to Win Friends and Influence People, 81 Hungerford, Analisa, memories of Johnie’s Broiler, 50-51 Igloo Drive-In, 40 implosion, small companies and, 285–86 In & Go, 253–54 Initial Public Offering (IPO), 245, 285 denying rumor of, 128–29, 189 for fast-food giants, 99 wish list, 7 In-N-Out Burger All Stars and, 4 corporate culture v. McJobs, 140 cost-effectiveness and high volume, 47 as cultural institution, 13–14 fortieth anniversary, 165, 166 mystique of, 92, 146–48, 168–69, 287 In-N-Out Burger Foundation, 205 In-N-Out Burger logo, 2, 13, 121, 288 as advertising, 149 on store in Westwood, 224–25 In-N-Out Burger University, 133–36, 172 In-N-Out Urge, 150 innovation, 40–42 double drive-through, 62–63 open kitchen, 45 Insta-Burger-King.
The Refusal of Work: The Theory and Practice of Resistance to Work by David Frayne
anti-work, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, call centre, clockwatching, David Graeber, deindustrialization, deskilling, future of work, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, McJob, means of production, moral panic, new economy, post-work, profit motive, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, unpaid internship, working poor, young professional
The characters that populate their books and songs bear a strong family resemblance to Generation X – a term popularised by Douglas Coupland in the 1990s, in his novel of the same name (Coupland, 1991). Generation X depicted a group of young adults who were grappling with their disillusionment around the trappings of the yuppie lifestyle. Coupland’s novel was witty, fiercely critical, and even featured a glossary of new phrases for the Gen-Xer’s arsenal: terms like McJob (a ‘low-pay, low- prestige, low-dignity, low-benefit, no-future job in the service sector’), Veal-Fattening Pen (‘small cramped office workstations built of fabric covered disassemblable wall partitions and inhabited by junior staff members’) and Rebellion Postponement (‘the tendency in one’s youth to avoid traditionally youthful activities and artistic experiences in order to obtain serious career experience.
., 97 Marx, Karl, 26, 30, 46, 85, 106, 116, 125, 142, 143, 147, 148; Capital, 32, 47, 114; Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, 47–8; views on technology, 32, 33; views on work, 17–18, 32 material objects, connection to, 183 material wealth, desire for, 27 Matthew, a former office worker, 13, 58, 134–8, 141, 142–4, 146–7, 159, 169, 174, 177, 183, 186, 194, 201, 202, 205–6 maturity, definition of, 198 McDonald’s, 167, 213 ‘McJobs’, 114 McKenna, S., 109 McShit T-shirt, 213 Mead, George Herbert, 203 mealtimes see eating together meaningfulness in work, 63 meaningless work, 12–13, 22, 40 medication, rejection of, 150–1 Merton, Robert, 146 Mike, an interviewee, 124, 130, 165 Mills, C. Wright, 206; White Collar, 52 mindlessness of work, 163 mini utopia, 142–7 minimum-wage jobs, 135 mobile phones, 72, 168, 170 Moir, Jan, 101–2 monasteries, 25 monotony, of everyday life, 210–11 moral principles, alternative, 122 moralisation of work, 16, 25, 103, 105, 191 morality: of work, 26; of non-workers, 207, 234 More, Thomas, 30; Utopia, 31–2 Morris, William, 30, 31, 32 multi-activity society, 143, 220, 222 music, popular, decline of, 173–4 mystery customers, 54 N National Insurance Act (1911), 28 necessary labour, distribution of, 95 need to work, 14, 111 needs: fulfilled by work, questioning of, 64; growth of, 91 ‘neo-proletariat’, 115–16 neoliberalism, 73, 219; moral fortification of work, 16 New Economics Foundation, 99, 116, 223 New Labour, 16, 103 non-compliance, acts of, 212 non-violent action, practice of, 1–23 non-work: as extension of work, 75, 82; experience of, 112; stigmatisation of, 197 see also shame, of non-work non-workers: audits and penalties for, 16; demonisation of, 97, 98–105; viewed with sense of pity, 201 see also stigmatisation, of non-workers not doing anything really, 194 O Offe, Claus, 16 Office, The, 212 Olin Wright, Erik, 30, 223 O’Mahoney, Hannah, 181 Operation Zissou, 144 Osborne, George, 99 outsourcing of domestic work, 67, 184–5 P Packard, Vance, The Hidden Persuaders, 85–6 paid employment: as sign of maturity and independence, 186; as symbol of adulthood, 198; established as norm, 191; fulfils psychological needs, 107; promotion of, 105; viewed as fundamental human need, 96–7; viewed as healthy state of being, 98, 106, 108, 109 panopticon, electronic, 60 part-time working, 123 payment, tied to working hours, 28 people with disabilities, 16, 104 personal costs of intensive work, 58 Petri, Elio, La classe operaia va in paradiso, 1, 164–5 philosophy, talking about, 143 piano tuning, as artistic exercise, 12 Pilhelm, Mats, 224 Pirsig, Robert M., Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, 183 play, in work, 75 pleasures: alternative, 157–88; productive, 177–88; savoured, 172–7; troubled, 164–72 pointlessness in work, 129 political discussion on work, initiation of, 237 politics, against work, 8 polyvalent workers, 142 poor, the: new, 159–60; seen as unworthy of leisure, 96 poor-quality jobs, effects of, 108 post-industrial economy, 49–50 potentiality, endless, sense of, 77 poverty, 159; culturalisation of, 100; self-management of, 205; viewed as deserved result, 100 see also poor, the prefigurative politics, 208 presents, buying of, 186–7 Primark, 167 productive forces, development of, 36 productivity, 36, 39; defines status of persons, 191; growth of, 40, 84, 94; obsession with, 195 professionalism, expected of employees, 58 professions, age of, 186 profit, 44, 63 prostitution, 55–6; emotional, 55 Protestant ethic, 24–9 pro-work propaganda, 96 public amenities, withdrawal of, 92 public sector workers, strike action by, 102 Pullberg, Stanley, 130, 144 Puritanism, 27 Q quality of life, 108 R Rachel, a human resources officer, 127, 130, 171 reading see books, reading of ‘Rebellion Postponement’, 114 recuperation of workers, 69–70, 147 reduction of work, 28, 32, 66, 84, 93, 94; a source of uneasiness, 97 redundancy, as cause of distress, 109–10 refrains, 211–12, 214 refusal of work, 8 reification, concept of, 125 see also de-reification Reilly, Cait, 101–3 rent, 101 repairing things, 182, 228 resistance: battle over language of, 232; culture of, 209 resistance to work, 5, 7, 13, 29, 55, 97, 112–17, 118, 156, 210, 215, 216, 217; a matter of imagination and will, 158, 159; as collective project, 217; as self-preservation, 154; material limits to, 159; motives for, 122; necessity of, 147; obstacles to, 10; potentiality of, 227; risks of, 159; routes into, 131 ‘resources’, term used for people, 139 restlessness, experiences of, 175 Rhys, husband of Ffion, 177–8, 181, 183, 209 right to be lazy, 21, 23 rituals of society, commercialised, 186 role, use of term, 65 role-distancing, 212 routine work, 18 rubbish jobs, 131–42 Russell, Bertrand, 75, 78–9, 80, 111, 225; ‘In Praise of Idleness’, 11, 95–6 Ryle, Martin, 113 S Salecl, Renata, 65, 169 Samantha, a former attorney turned waitress, 120, 138–41, 161, 177, 187, 197–8, 199 sanctity of paid work, 16, 63, 65, 96, 233 Sarkozy, Nicolas, 3–4 satisfaction at second remove, 185 satisfying work, 5, 12, 30, 132 scarcity, problem of, 33 Schor, Juliet, 165 scroungers, 199, 202 self-care, 149, 150, 151 self-defined activities, 70 self-improvement, 219 self-production, 91, 92, 228; enjoyment of, 181-4 self-reliance, 182 sellable self, 77 Sennett, Richard, 51, 73 sense of self of workers, compromised, 54 service industries, 40, 50 Severe and Enduring Mental Health Problems, label, 152 sexuality, enjoyment of, 175–6 shame: as main tool of advertising, 171; associated with resistance to work, 10; of non-workers, 192, 202 Shipman, Tim, 102 shirkers, stereotype of, 154 see also skivers shopping: a troubled pleasure, 167; avoidance of, 170; compulsive, 171; mental calculations involved in, 165; patriotic, 89; pleasure of, short-lived, 170 sickness see illness simplification of life, 218 singing, 118 single parents, 16, 104, 108 skivers, 99, 101, 189 slavery, 24 sleep, 148; needed by workers, 147 slow food movement, 118, 176 smiling, 118 sociability, 137 social protection, 74 social work, as bureaucratic machine, 132 socialisation, 15, 126, 129 sociality of workers, capture of, 60 sociological imagination, 206 Soper, Kate, 89, 113, 116, 162–3, 168, 176, 187 Southwood, Ivor, 45, 104 spending, reduction of, 179 Spicer, André, 212–13 Stallings, Phil, 45–6 standardisation of labour processes, 133 stigma: definition of, 192; insulating oneself against, 216 stigmatisation, 203–4; of non-workers, 9, 105, 121, 199 stress, 131, 148, 236; coping with, 218 ‘strivers versus skivers’, 99, 101 Sturdy, Andrew, 59–61, 64 subordination, in work relations, 91 Sunray company, 59–60 supermarket, visits to, 167–8 surplus-labour, 147 surveillance cameras, 54 sweatshops, exploitation in, 61 Sweden, shorter working day in, 224 symptoms, 148 T taxation, corporate evasion of, 101 Taylor, Frederick, 48 Taylor, Laurie, 126, 127, 129, 210 Taylorism, 48, 61; emotional, 54 team, idea of, at work, 56–7, 58 technology, 33 see also Marx, views on technology television, 87; viewers, alleged suggestibility of, 86 Terkel, Studs, 13, 15; Working, 11–12, 45 Tesco, commodity varieties in, 169 Thatcher, Margaret, 181 Theroux, Louis, 55 thirty-five hour week, 68, 223–4 Thompson, E.
Bit Rot by Douglas Coupland
3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, bitcoin, Burning Man, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, index card, jimmy wales, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, McJob, Menlo Park, nuclear paranoia, Pepto Bismol, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Ted Kaczynski, The Future of Employment, uber lyft, young professional
Europeans visiting Canada or the States: remember that restaurant memories are a great conversation starter; almost everyone you encounter will have tales of psychotic bosses, Christmas morning shifts and après-work partying excesses. Working in a restaurant when you’re young doesn’t necessarily mean minimum wage (though it usually does). For many people, minimum wage is a stage-of-life thing that we all work through and gaze back on with rose-tinted glasses. When I put the word McJob in my 1991 novel Generation X, I wanted a word to describe a “low-paying, low-prestige dead-end job that requires few skills and offers very little chance of intracompany advancement.” It made sense then and it makes sense now. Back in the early 1990s, I began to see the start of a process that’s currently in full swing: the defunding or elimination of the mechanisms by which we once created and maintained a healthy middle class.
The point in doing so was to foreground the fact that a minimum-wage job is simply not a way to live life fully, and to be earning such a wage past a certain age casts a spell of doom upon your days, sort of like those middle-class Argentineans who lost their jobs in the crash fifteen years ago and never went back to being middle-class again. McDonald’s campaigned for years and ultimately failed to get the word McJob struck from the Oxford English Dictionary, even renting a big screen in Piccadilly Circus in 2006 to put forth their viewpoint. The saga of this campaign is a fun read on Wikipedia, but given the accelerating shrinkage of the middle class, the McLawsuit seems like a frivolous corporate bonbon from a nearly vanished era. Discussions of a minimum wage still seem to have a nasty bite. As I’ve said before, we’re all going to be working at McDonald’s into our eighties, and the relentless parade of numbers that are making this clear to us is starting to really frighten people.
Tough Sh*t: Life Advice From a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good by Kevin Smith
I entered the dream factory in 1994, and by Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back in 2001, I was making movies about making movies. I was eating my own tail. There’s a lot of tail-eating going on in Zack and Miri Make a Porno, since it’s really just the story of how we made Clerks, projected through a wet-dream prism, with Scott Mosier conveniently recast as a girl I fuck on camera in the back room of a McJob and fall in love with by the final reel. I tried to capitalize on someone else’s success and forgot what got me invited to the party in the first place: the fact that my shit used to be different. Suddenly, I felt dirty, realizing I’d gone into career-management mode, just treading water, not saying anything new. I was making movies for the sake of making movies, saying funny shit, but nothing new.
The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism by Calum Chace
3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lifelogging, lump of labour, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, post-work, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional
Cattle are entirely content to be milked by robots, so the declining population of farm workers no longer has to get up before daybreak every day. 4. Retail. The shift towards purchasing goods and services online continues, and there is growing automation within shops. In some supermarkets, shoppers no longer have to unload and re-load their trolleys: the goods are scanned while still inside their baskets. Fewer attendants are required in the checkout area. In fast food outlets, so-called “McJobs” are disappearing as burgers and sandwiches are assembled and presented to customers without being handled by a human. 5. Construction. Although some developers are experimenting with pre-fabricated units, most of the cost of a construction project is generated by the variability of conditions on-site, including the foundations. Robots which can handle this unpredictability are still too expensive to replace human construction workers.
Generation A by Douglas Coupland
So, because of his near-crippling jealousy, our young scientist found it hard to concentrate on his specific laboratory task, which was this: he aimed laser pulses through a micromisted protein broth. This allowed him to isolate and separate specific proteins within. It was a job that needed much skill and decades of education but was about as fun as stocking cardboard boxes at a Body Shop. The scientist wondered if his entire youth had been wasted in attaining what was essentially an ultra-high-tech McJob. And, to go back to what was stated earlier, he was worried that his girlfriend was cheating on him simply because she could, and because her take-him-or-leave-him attitude kept his own brain’s neuroproteins on constant nuclear alert. “Wait,” Zack said. “You’re talking about yourself here, right?” “This is a story,” I said. “Can you at least stop using the phrase ‘young scientist’? It’s driving me nuts.”
The New Class Conflict by Joel Kotkin
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bob Noyce, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Graeber, deindustrialization, don't be evil, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, energy security, falling living standards, future of work, Gini coefficient, Google bus, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, McJob, McMansion, medical bankruptcy, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Buchheit, payday loans, Peter Calthorpe, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional
Large numbers moved back home with their parents during the Great Recession and its aftermath; according to the 2013 Pew Study, 56 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds live with their parent. Almost one in three young people (between ages 18 and 34) has put off getting married or having a baby because of the weak economy and wages that have been dropping even for college graduates. Perhaps more worrisome still, some, such as Aaron Renn, suggest that many millennials avoid work that they consider “McJobs” and may remain outside the labor force for a prolonged period. Rather than work in a fast food restaurant, many prefer simply to stay unattached to the labor force. By 2013, the labor participation rate among workers 16 to 19 had dropped to 35 percent from over 50 percent in 2000; those aged 20 to 24 saw their rate drop from 80 to 70 percent at the same time.5 What the new generation faces, at least in the immediate future, is not greatness, or even great relevance.
How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say--And What It Really Means by John Lanchester
asset allocation, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, David Graeber, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, financial innovation, Flash crash, forward guidance, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, high net worth, High speed trading, hindsight bias, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kodak vs Instagram, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, loss aversion, margin call, McJob, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, Nikolai Kondratiev, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, paradox of thrift, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working poor, yield curve
Australia 3. USA 4. Netherlands 5. Germany 6. New Zealand 7. Ireland 8. Sweden 9. Switzerland 10. Japan 11. Canada 12. South Korea The bottom ten, counting down to number 168, are all in sub-Saharan Africa: 159. Burundi 160. Guinea 161. Central African Republic 162. Eritrea 163. Mali 164. Burkina Faso 165. Chad 166. Mozambique 167. Democratic Republic of Congo 168. Niger McJobs Low-pay, low-status, low-security, low-prospects jobs of the sort done by workers in McDonald’s—hence the name. mean and median The mean is the average: for any group, you add whatever it is you’re measuring together, divide it by the number of people in the group, and that’s the mean. The median is the person in the middle, with 50 percent above and 50 percent below. When the mean goes up and the median stays still, that is a sign of rising inequality.
The Weightless World: Strategies for Managing the Digital Economy by Diane Coyle
"Robert Solow", barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business cycle, clean water, computer age, Corn Laws, creative destruction, cross-subsidies, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, Edward Glaeser, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, financial deregulation, full employment, George Santayana, global village, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the sewing machine, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, McJob, microcredit, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, night-watchman state, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, pension reform, pensions crisis, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, spinning jenny, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, two tier labour market, very high income, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, working-age population
It was the private sector that was creating work, about two-fifths in services. The vast majority of the new jobs were full time, it said. And, taking aim at that joke, the report said the share of workers holding multiple jobs had remained roughly constant. Joseph Stiglitz, the economist then in charge of the CEA, drew two conclusions. One, that it was a myth that most of the new jobs the economy was creating were so-called ‘McJobs’ — that is, typical of hamburger-flipping jobs in security, conditions and pay. Two, that the government needs to equip people with ‘security of employability’ rather than security of employment. In other words, they needed the kind of education, training and attitudes that would allow them to find other work quickly if unemployment befell. The Stiglitz report fell on a lot of deaf ears. It could not overcome the Fear of Flexibility 109 widespread view that new jobs are not as good as old Jobs.
Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? by Thomas Geoghegan
Albert Einstein, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, collective bargaining, corporate governance, cross-subsidies, dark matter, David Brooks, declining real wages, deindustrialization, ending welfare as we know it, facts on the ground, Gini coefficient, haute cuisine, income inequality, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, McJob, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, pensions crisis, plutocrats, Plutocrats, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce
Now, the surprising thing is that the hunter/nomad societies had a better diet, a higher quality of life, and the farmer societies had it worse. So why did people move from the hunter/nomad model to the farmer? Simple: the farmer model could sustain a larger population, though at a lower standard of living. Unlike the hunter/nomad model, which produced high-skilled “hunter” jobs but not enough of them, the agrarian model produced a lot of low-skilled jobs, jobs, jobs, or what some would now call “McJobs.” In a sense, while the higher-skilled hunter model led to a better way of life, the farmer model was better at—well, giving people work to do but not with very high rewards. That seemed to echo the U.S./Europe debate. The European model, like the hunter model, may produce better types of jobs, but the U.S. model, like the farmer model, could produce far more jobs. As a result, it could support more people, though some would have a lower standard of living.
Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford
"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, debt deflation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce
In December 2013, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked “combined food preparation and serving workers,” a category that excludes waiters and waitresses in full-service restaurants, as one of the top employment sectors in terms of the number of job openings projected over the course of the decade leading up to 2022—with nearly half a million new jobs and another million openings to replace workers who leave the industry.16 In the wake of the Great Recession, however, the rules that used to apply to fast food employment are changing rapidly. In 2011, McDonald’s launched a high-profile initiative to hire 50,000 new workers in a single day and received over a million applications—a ratio that made landing a McJob more of a statistical long shot than getting accepted at Harvard. While fast food employment was once dominated by young people looking for a part-time income while in school, the industry now employs far more mature workers who rely on the jobs as their primary income. Nearly 90 percent of fast food workers are twenty or older, and the average age is thirty-five.17 Many of these older workers have to support families—a nearly impossible task at a median wage of just $8.69 per hour.
Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari
Airbnb, centre right, failed state, glass ceiling, global pandemic, illegal immigration, mass incarceration, McJob, moral panic, Naomi Klein, placebo effect, profit motive, RAND corporation, Rat Park, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, Steven Pinker, traveling salesman, War on Poverty
They weren’t altering their mental states in any physical sense—but they carried on with the junkie behavior, injecting empty powders into their arms. Why? Bruce realizes that in all his months and years interviewing addicts about their lives, they had been telling him the answer all along. “People explained over and over before I got it,” Bruce tells me. Before they became junkies, these young people were sitting in a room alone, cut off from meaning. Most of them could hope at best for a McJob with a shrinking minimum wage—a lifelong burger-flip punctuated by watching TV and scrimping for minor consumer objects. “My job was basically to say—why don’t you stop taking drugs?” Bruce says. “And one guy explained to me very beautifully. He said, ‘Well, think about that for a minute. What would I do if I stopped taking drugs? Maybe I could get myself a job as a janitor or something like that.’ ” Compare that, he said, to “what I’m doing right now, which is really exciting.
Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole by Benjamin R. Barber
addicted to oil, AltaVista, American ideology, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business cycle, Celebration, Florida, collective bargaining, creative destruction, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, G4S, game design, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, Marc Andreessen, McJob, microcredit, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, presumed consent, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, spice trade, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, X Prize
.: The Corporate Corruption of American Higher Education (New York: Basic Books, 2005), whose cover is decorated with a mortar board affixed with a “sold” label; Derek Bok, Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003); and Stanley Aronowitz, The Knowledge Factory: Dismantling the Corporate University and Creating True Higher Learning (Boston: Beacon Press, 2000). Aronowitz worries that universities have become education factories for vocational training and McJobs rather than places of critical learning. 53. Andrew Hacker, “The Truth About the Colleges,” New York Review of Books, November 3, 3005. If evidence for the corporatization of the university is needed, Hacker observes that “employees who are not teachers make up 71 percent of Stanford’s total payroll…and 83 percent at Harvard.” 54. For more on this project, sponsored by the Exxon Educational Foundation, see the November 20, 2002, news release at www2.exxonmobil.com / Corporate / Newsroom / Newsreleases / xom_nr_201102.asp. 55.
More: The 10,000-Year Rise of the World Economy by Philip Coggan
"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, Columbine, Corn Laws, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency peg, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, germ theory of disease, German hyperinflation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, hydraulic fracturing, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kenneth Arrow, Kula ring, labour market flexibility, land reform, land tenure, Lao Tzu, large denomination, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Blériot, low cost airline, low skilled workers, lump of labour, M-Pesa, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, moral hazard, Murano, Venice glass, Myron Scholes, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, popular capitalism, popular electronics, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Nader, regulatory arbitrage, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special drawing rights, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, Veblen good, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
This aimed to combine mass production with craftsmanship. Employees with flexible roles are organised in teams, and each worker is encouraged to stop production when a fault is discovered. The result is that workers are happier, quality is improved, and the management gains from the workers’ insights. 25 But lean manufacturing has not stopped the decline in industrial employment. The worry is that well-paid factory work has been replaced with “McJobs” (after the McDonalds burger chain) in the services sector, with lower pay and poorer conditions. In turn, this may have contributed to the rise of inequality in the developed world. But one study has concluded that “on average, only about one-tenth of the overall increase in inequality between the 1980s and the 2000s can be attributed to the decline in the share of manufacturing jobs”.26 More than half of all global workers now have a job in services, up from just 33.7% in 1991.27 People who work in offices or shops have jobs that are just as “real” as those who work in factories.