call centre

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Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres by Jamie Woodcock

always be closing, anti-work, call centre, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, David Graeber, invention of the telephone, job satisfaction, late capitalism, means of production, millennium bug, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, post-work, precariat, profit motive, social intelligence, stakhanovite, women in the workforce

If this is the call centre that a manager and the producers want the outside world to see, one wonders about the footage that did not make the final cut.19 It would have been interesting to have further insight into the motivations behind the production, It is a rare representation of call-centre work, a major form of work in the economy, stripped back and reduced to comedy performances. Meanwhile, The Wolf of Wall Street captures the top-seller type of dynamic that call centres try to promote: if you sell hard enough you will be successful. Nevertheless, they both illustrate a number of key points and provide the first glimpses of what we will later explore. where did call centres come from? Call Centers for Dummies claims to be ‘a road map that can help you lead and manage a call centre’.20 The authors ‘make some assumptions’ about who is reading the book and suggests that they might be ‘a hotshot MBA tracking through your career, and you find yourself running a call center’,21 which is perhaps ironic considering the title of the book.

Call Centers for Dummies claims to be ‘a road map that can help you lead and manage a call centre’.20 The authors ‘make some assumptions’ about who is reading the book and suggests that they might be ‘a hotshot MBA tracking through your career, and you find yourself running a call center’,21 which is perhaps ironic considering the title of the book. The authors themselves are quite vague about the history of call centres, writing, ‘although we can’t really tell you when the first call center opened, we imagine that call centers started around the time that the telephone became a common household device . . . the evolution of call centers just makes sense’.22 11 Working the Phones This common sense point about the development of call centres is useful; however, as with many phenomena, it is important to go beyond the conclusion that something happened because it ‘just makes sense’. A logical starting point is the invention of the telephone.

The authors of Call Centers for Dummies admit that ‘not everyone thinks that call center changes and evolution are positive’.63 They locate this in part due to ‘the impact of call centers on everyone’s daily lives, and partly because some call centers had bad management and used bad business practices’. The workers 21 Working the Phones in call centres are completely absent from their analysis; instead they focus on how call centres ‘have raised the ire of consumers and caught the attention of legislators’, something they blame on ‘overly aggressive business practices’. This is quite a revealing phrase, suggesting that if managers had relied on regular forms of aggressive business practices, call centres would be seen in a more positive light. The prevalence of these practices in the UK was highlighted in an undercover exposé at GoGen (a charity fundraising call centre) which found that workers were ‘told to be “brutal” and “ferocious” and that no one has an excuse not to give, even the poor or elderly’.64 a workers’ inquiry This book involves an inquiry into an actual call-centre workplace and the experience of work.

pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour: How 500 Million Commuters Survive the Daily Journey to Work by Iain Gately

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, corporate raider, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, global pandemic, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, lateral thinking, low skilled workers, Marchetti’s constant, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

Not only do Indian teleworkers have to deal with irate strangers all night, but they also get detached from their family roots, forget what sunlight looks like, have no time for friendships, and are led into temptation by their handsome incomes. There’s a high churn rate among call-centre workers, and they burn out far quicker than Dutch bus drivers. Deep feels that this is because ‘your mentality changes’ when you work in a call centre. ‘You try to think like an American, but you’re not really an American, you’re an Indian. And sometimes you make the wrong decisions… You’re earning good, you’re looking good, you’re admired — that’s outside. But on the inside, you have a void.’ Ironically, many Indian telecommuters not only have to face the stress of virtual travel but also have to endure the discomforts of commuting in the flesh. Although call centres may ease congestion in the West, they increase it in the places they are built. Bangalore has spectacular jams in rush hour, and its public transport systems are close to being swamped.

At times he had to overcome surreal obstacles: I went to meet bureaucrats after they sat on our application for months. A government official said he could approve a call center, but could not approve a center to handle ‘incoming and outgoing calls’. So we had to print definitions of a call center from the Internet and take them to him to show him that’s what a call center did. In keeping with the Jack Nilles vision of telecommuting – that it might employ people who were excluded from the labour market either because they couldn’t get to it or weren’t expected to be there – Roy pushed for the right to employ women on his so-called ‘graveyard shifts’ that ran from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. (Bangalore time) for North America. He found there ‘were laws that forbade employing women in jobs after 10 p.m. In each state that we planned on setting up call centers in, we had to persuade its government to change that law.’

The pay averages the equivalent of £200 per month, the job has a certain cachet, and the surroundings are often salubrious. Many call centres are laid out as campuses with cappuccino bars, chill-out rooms, and sports facilities, as well as partitioned rows of workstations. The address of IBM’s Indian headquarters: ‘Golf Course Links, Bangalore’, says it all. Telecommuting aspirants borrow several months’ wages in advance from their relatives to pay for elocution courses, so that they’ll sound just right on the phone. The courses are designed to wipe out ‘Mother Tongue Influence’ (‘MTI’) i.e. Indian accents, and teach students to speak with absolute clarity, so that any English-speaker anywhere in the world can understand them, even over a bad line. The courses also teach tricks of the trade, like pretending that you’re called Bob. As Deep, an ex-British Telecom call-centre worker and MTI trainer explained to Forbes magazine: ‘Tell an American that your name is Raja and an F-word pops out.

pages: 329 words: 95,309

Digital Bank: Strategies for Launching or Becoming a Digital Bank by Chris Skinner

algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, bank run, Basel III, bitcoin, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, buy and hold, call centre, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, demand response, disintermediation, don't be evil,, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Google Glasses, high net worth, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, margin call, mass affluent, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, Pingit, platform as a service, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pre–internet, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, reserve currency, RFID, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, software as a service, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Stuxnet, trade route, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, web application, WikiLeaks, Y2K

They just get on with their lives and see online, mobile and all other digital channels as being seamlessly integrated into their world. These people do not think about branches, call centres, internet and so on. They just think of these things as life, and this is where retail bankers are getting it wrong because they are run by digital aliens or immigrants who do not get the digital life. For example, retail banks have a historically strong branch network. They added ATMs in the 1970’s, call centres in the 1980’s, the internet in the 1990’s and are now adding mobile in the 2000’s. Each channel is added as an extra layer on the foundation of the branch distribution cake. Branch networks are the foundations whilst electronic distribution is the cream on the cake. This is why retail banks talk about multichannel strategies where they try to integrate their call centre channel with their internet channel; they attempt to deliver mobile banking interoperable with the call centre channel; they mess about with CRM to ensure consistency across branch and internet channels.

This is why retail banks talk about multichannel strategies where they try to integrate their call centre channel with their internet channel; they attempt to deliver mobile banking interoperable with the call centre channel; they mess about with CRM to ensure consistency across branch and internet channels. My problem is this: banks only have one channel. They do not have multichannels, call centre channels, internet channels, mobile channels and so forth. They just have an electronic channel that underscores and provides the foundation for all end points: mobile, telephone, internet and branch. The electronic channel is based upon internet protocol (IP) technologies, as is the branch as it happens. And this is the big change: banks should stop thinking of channels and just recognise that they are digital enabled. Call centre, ATMs, branch, internet, mobile ... everything is digital enabled and therefore the bank has become a Digital Bank, based upon digitised platforms that reach into every nook, cranny, sinew and synapse of the bank.

These were delivered through one channel, the branch. Over time, another channel appeared, the direct sales representative. These sales folk resided in branches and were served by the branch system. Then, a new channel popped up, the call centre. The call centre was like one massive remote branch and required a new structure to operate. But the underlying data could be delivered through the branch-based systems, so the new structure was primarily designed to sit on top of those systems, offering scripts into the various products the bank offered. The call centre people struggled with this – sometimes operating six or more windows of screens at any one time to get a competitive picture of the customer’s needs – but they lived with it. Then, another channel popped up: the Internet. At first, banks thought this could lead to branch closures and started to invest heavily in moving from branch to Internet services.

pages: 382 words: 120,064

Bank 3.0: Why Banking Is No Longer Somewhere You Go but Something You Do by Brett King

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, asset-backed security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, disintermediation,, fixed income, George Gilder, Google Glasses, high net worth, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Infrastructure as a Service, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, peer-to-peer, performance metric, Pingit, platform as a service, QR code, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, self-driving car, Skype, speech recognition, stem cell, telepresence, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, underbanked, US Airways Flight 1549, web application

They might wire money to a third party, visit an ATM to withdraw cash, go online to check if their salary has been deposited, pay a utility bill, use their credit card to purchase some goods from a retailer, fill out a personal loan application online, ring up the call centre to see what their credit card balance is, or report a lost card. If they are sophisticated customers or clients, they may also trade some stocks, transfer some cash from their Euro forex account to their US dollar account, put a lump sum in a mutual fund, or sign up for a home insurance policy online. In the early days of the Internet and call centre, it was not uncommon to find that the call centre and internet banking were 24 hours behind the in-bank systems because the “batch” processes that updated the alternate channel databases/logs ran overnight. Thus, if I made a transaction via an ATM or through the branch, it wouldn’t show on my online statement or could not be verified via the call centre until the next morning. Today, my internet banking account view can show me that my available credit card balance is US$10,000, but because of transactions that don’t yet appear on my statement, my actual available balance could be $250.

You might think by hiding phone numbers on your website you save costs by reducing call centre load. Research shows, however, that if you can direct customers to the correct call centre number quickly, you reduce traffic and costs—rather than leave customers to experiment by calling many different numbers. On every product or transaction page on your website, list the specific call centre number for that type of product/service. This can direct customers to an Interactive Voice Response menu specifically designed for that query, which will reduce call centre load and ensure CSR (customer service representatives) are appropriately equipped to answer specific questions. Even better, put a Skype calling button on the website where they can contact someone from the bank as they have a question, rather than waiting for them to find the correct number and call you separately. UBank™ in Australia used this methodology with great success.

Customers are already coming to your website to find the solution, so why not put a list of the most frequent call types, issues or questions in the same area of the site where customers look up the telephone number? Even better, why not put the same list on the homepage! Compile this list of these “top” service enquiries by checking call centre data for the most frequent call types over the last six months. By simply putting the answers of these frequent issues on the site, you can reduce call centre traffic by 10–20 per cent. Keep in mind you would actually have to provide a solution on the site, and not just some FAQs. There may have to be some process intelligence. But get this right and those customers already going to your website to solve this problem will not ring your call centre. Thus, immediate load reduction . . . Remind customers when they withdraw cash from an ATM that their credit card payment is due. Ask customers if they’d like their account balance sent by SMS to their mobile phone.

pages: 256 words: 79,075

Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain by James Bloodworth

Airbnb, Berlin Wall, call centre, clockwatching, collective bargaining, congestion charging, credit crunch, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, gig economy, Jeff Bezos, low skilled workers, Network effects, new economy, North Sea oil, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, post-work, profit motive, race to the bottom, reshoring, Silicon Valley, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, working poor, working-age population

Being treated well at work was nice; however, we would surely have been on firmer ground had we wrung those benefits out of the company ourselves. Then it would have been within our power to resist had the company tried to snatch anything back. The situation in some call centres is, of course, worse than anything I experienced at Admiral. In order to coax firms to keep their call centres in Wales – rather than relocate offshore to places like India – companies have trumpeted the purported ‘flexibility’ of the workforce (see: part-time, casual, poorly paid). Cardiff houses many of Wales’s biggest call centres, and a lady called June, who worked at another outsourcing call centre, relayed to me just how stressful this sort of environment could sometimes be. ‘[The staff] get stressed because the targets for sales and all that ... And there’s other things in the job that you gotta promote, so I still have to promote, and I still have to be on target, and sometimes that can be stressful ... people stay home ill and different things because they just fed up or end up leaving.’

Unlike their desperate Eastern European counterparts, young Brits were ‘wet behind the ears’, Oliver proclaimed. Yet as a youth worker I would meet in Ebbw Vale told me: ‘If you’ve studied and you’ve got a degree, do you really wanna be working in a call centre?’ Probably not, and you will notice that the celebrities and commentators who bleat on endlessly about graft and hard work rarely send their own children to toil away fruitlessly in call centres and scrabble around pulling vegetables out of the ground in the sodden fields of Kent. In Wales I was working as a ‘Renewals Consultant’. It was up to me to persuade customers who had found a cheaper car insurance quote elsewhere to stick with Admiral. There are around 5,000 call centres in the UK, employing around a million people.7 As well as Swansea, Admiral has offices in Cardiff and Newport and is famously a ‘good’ company to work for.

I had got through the interview process at local car insurance company Admiral, and had been offered a position renewing customers’ policies in one of its call centres. The company required immediate ‘proof of address’ in the local area. While none of the ‘professional’ jobs I have done have ever required this, at Admiral – as at Amazon and Carewatch – it was considered urgent. Thus I had to get a deposit down on a place right away – spending more money than I had intended to in the process – and chase up my bank for the ellusive statement with my new address on it. Brynmill is a relatively affluent suburb adorned mostly with dirty white stuccoed terraces. Living there whilst working from eight till five in a call centre you soon come to realise just what vastly different worlds students and locals in university towns and cities often inhabit.

pages: 317 words: 101,475

Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones

Asperger Syndrome, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit crunch, deindustrialization, Etonian, facts on the ground, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mass immigration, Neil Kinnock, Occupy movement, pension reform, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, Right to Buy, rising living standards, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working-age population

Less than two years into the economic crisis that began in 2007, one in four retail and sales workers had their pay slashed. Nearly a third had their hours cut, and over a fifth lost benefits.' If you think shop workers have it bad, consider now the call centre worker. There are now nearly a million people working in call centres, and the number is going up every year. To put that in perspective, there were a million men down the pits at the peak of mining in the 1940s. If the miner was one of the iconic jobs of post-war Britain, then today, surely, the call centre worker is as good a symbol of the working class as any. 'Call centres are a very regimented environment,' says John McInally, a trade unionist leading efforts by the PCS to unionize call centre workers. 'It's rows of desks with people sitting with headphones. There's loads of people in the room, but they're separate units. They're encouraged not to talk, share experiences, and so on ...

According to the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, increasing numbers of call centre workers are being referred to speech therapists because they are losing their voices. The cause? Working long hours with little opportunity to even have a drink of water. That's one reason why the sickness rate in call centres is nearly twice the national average. The other is deep alienation from the work. In One call centre McInally dealt with in Northern England, sickness rates had reached nearly 30 per cent. 'That's a sign oflowmorale,' he says-as is the fact that annual staff turnover is around a quarter of the workforce. And, like so much of the new working class, the salaries of call centre workers are poor. A trainee can expect £12,500, while the higher-grade operators are on an average of just £16,000. Twenty-eight-year-old Carl Leishman has been a call centre worker in County Durham for eight years.

John McInally has been leading valiant attempts by the pes union to organize call centre workers. He believes that there are real grounds for optimism, because of one key similarity between call centres and old- style factories: large numbers of workers concentrated in one place. But he has no illusions about the obstacles that are in the way, not least because of how regimented the work is. 'You could have four hundred people in a room, or a couple of rooms, who may see each other every day but never speak to each other,' he says. Just as factory workers were stuck at their looms in Victorian times, call centre workers are stuck at their desks. There is one major difference, though: unlike Victorian workers who could shout to each other over their looms, call centre workers have earphones plugged in all day and so are prevented from communicating.

The Future of Technology by Tom Standage

air freight, barriers to entry, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, creative destruction, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, double helix, experimental economics, full employment, hydrogen economy, industrial robot, informal economy, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, labour market flexibility, Marc Andreessen, market design, Menlo Park, millennium bug, moral hazard, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, railway mania, rent-seeking, RFID, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart grid, software as a service, spectrum auction, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, technology bubble, telemarketer, transcontinental railway, Y2K

India’s most often-cited advantage is its large English-speaking population, which has helped to fuel the call-centre boom. Yet already the market for call-centre workers is tightening. Pay and staff turnover are shooting up as operators poach staff who have already undergone costly “accent neutralisation” training at rival firms. Even the best callcentre operators in India lose about half their employees each year (but then turnover in British call-centres is about 70%). One Convergys job 128 A WORLD OF WORK advertisement in the Times of India promises to make prospective callcentre employees “a prime target of all the dons of the industry. You will be hunted down, with almost a king’s ransom on your head”. No dream job Part of the problem is that call-centre work tends not to be much fun – although Indians enjoy much better pay, relative to other local jobs, than British or American call-centre employees.

Protectionists are finding it hard to argue that “corporate greed” is draining jobs from Britain and America when those two economies are close to full employment. More awkwardly still, the very industries said to be badly hurt by the migration of jobs overseas report a shortage of workers at home. Most of the jobs created in India are either in call-centres or at it firms. But call-centre companies in both Britain and America suffer from rising staff turnover and struggle to recruit more people. Britain’s Call-Centre Association, a trade lobby, thinks that employment in the industry in Britain will rise in the next few years; in the United States, call-centre employment is expected to decline slightly. As it spending recovers from recession, labour markets in America I 144 A WORLD OF WORK and Europe are becoming tighter in this industry too. Not many students in rich countries choose to study engineering at college.

India’s bpo industry also started with foreign captives. The pioneers were ge, American Express and British Airways, who all arrived in the late 1990s. These companies were joined by home-grown call-centre operators such as 24x7, vCustomer, Spectramind and Daksh. Spectramind has since been bought by Wipro, and Daksh by ibm. These Indian firms also face competition from specialist American call-centre companies which, like the global it firms, have been adjusting to the cheap Indian competition by taking themselves to India. By far the most successful of these foreign firms has been America’s Convergys, which with a total of around 60,000 employees is the biggest call-centre operator in the world. By the end of 2005, says the company’s local boss, Jaswinder Ghumman, Convergys hoped to employ 20,000 people in India. A fourth wave of bpo start-ups, many of them funded by American venture capitalists, has been experimenting with the remote delivery from India of all sorts of work, from hedge-fund 126 A WORLD OF WORK administration to pre-press 4.4 2.1 Sustainable?

pages: 207 words: 59,298

The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction by Jamie Woodcock, Mark Graham

Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, disintermediation,, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, global value chain, informal economy, information asymmetry, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, Lyft, mass immigration, means of production, Network effects, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, planetary scale, precariat, rent-seeking, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional

Starting with time and motion studies, the factory floor would be investigated and measured in detail, calculating how much time each individual part of a task should take. The advent of the assembly line meant that production could then be sped up on this basis, trying to take control away from workers. Managers in call centres were able to use technological methods of surveillance to electronically measure the work process in great detail (Woodcock, 2017). Many work platforms follow on from these traditions, albeit without the physical supervision found in either factories or call centres. Some platform infrastructures allow the real-time location tracking and timing of every worker. This develops the forms of surveillance from the call centre, deploying them beyond the walls of a workplace (Woodcock, forthcoming). Some cloud platforms, in contrast, can monitor every digital activity performed by a worker on-platform. The ability to organize work via a platform requires digital legibility.

For example, a worker at Deliveroo explained that they preferred it as: you’re not selling anything, you’re not selling yourself so there’s no emotional labour in it and I think that’s why it’s been like a job that I’ve stuck at longer than other shit jobs because I find it a lot easier to not do that sort of selling yourself side of things. The alternative kinds of work that they described included service work based in a restaurant or working the phones in a call centre. This, despite the fact they still described Deliveroo as a ‘shit job’, made it comparatively better than the conditions in high-pressure call centres (Woodcock, 2017). Similarly, another worker explained that they ‘wanted to work outside and with a bicycle, because it’s my passion working with a bicycle’. For younger workers, the gig economy offers the potential – and it is important to stress that this is a potential, as we discuss further later in the book – for different ways of working.

This means that management are more likely to act unilaterally, without the checks of collective bargaining or negotiation. Globalization and outsourcing The final precondition that has deeply shaped the gig economy in its current form is a combination of political economy and technology: the effects of globalization and outsourcing. This is a development and intensification of the outsourcing of call centres from high-income countries to low- and middle-income countries, for example, from the UK to India (Taylor and Bain, 2005). This laid the organizational basis for wider business process outsourcing that has become today’s online outsourcing. However, globalization has not only meant the shifting of work and trade to different parts of the world, but also brought about a generalization of what Barbrook and Cameron (1996) have termed the ‘Californian Ideology’, referring to the encouragement of deregulated markets and powerful transnational corporations.

pages: 477 words: 75,408

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,, 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

Forrester argued that companies which wait too long to offer good e-commerce channels risk losing market share to more digitally-minded competitors. Call centres We are still at the very early stages of introducing artificial intelligence to call centres. For many of us, dealing with call centres is one of the least agreeable aspects of modern life. It normally involves a good deal of waiting around, listening to uninspiring hold music, followed by some profoundly unintelligent automated routing, and finally a conversation with a bored person the other side of the world who is reading from a script written by a sadist. One of the leaders in introducing genuine AI to call centres is Swedbank, one of Sweden's biggest banks, with 9.5m customers and 160,000 employees. It has 700 people working in contact centres, which handle 2m customer calls each year.

This latter effect is disguised because, as society gets richer, people buy many more items, so the store needs more staff even though their involvement in each individual item is less. Online shopping is perhaps the ultimate prosumer experience. Consumer reviews replace the retailer’s sales force, and its algorithms do the up-selling. Call centres Of course, automation and prosumption is not always to the benefit of consumers. In markets where switching costs or partial monopolies dilute the standards-raising effect of competition, companies can save money for themselves in ways which actually make life worse for their customers. We are all familiar with call centres where (for instance) utility companies and banks have automated their customer service operations, obliging frustrated customers to plough through various levels of artificial un-intelligence in order to get their problem resolved.

We are all familiar with call centres where (for instance) utility companies and banks have automated their customer service operations, obliging frustrated customers to plough through various levels of artificial un-intelligence in order to get their problem resolved. The customer would be much better off if a human picked up the call immediately, but that would cost the companies a lot more money, and they have no incentive to incur that cost. Things are improving, however, as the AI used in call centres advances. Just as most people choose to withdraw cash from ATMs rather than venture into the bank and wait in line for a human cashier, many call centre operations are now getting good enough at handling or triaging problems that we may soon prefer to deal with the automated system than with a human. Food service The automation of service in fast food outlets seems to have been just around the corner for decades. Indeed, elements of it have been a reality for years in Oriental-style outlets like Yo, Sushi!, but it has so far failed to spread to the rest of the sector.

pages: 255 words: 92,719

All Day Long: A Portrait of Britain at Work by Joanna Biggs

Anton Chekhov, bank run, banking crisis, call centre, Chelsea Manning, credit crunch, David Graeber, Desert Island Discs, Downton Abbey, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, future of work, G4S, glass ceiling, industrial robot, job automation, land reform, low skilled workers, mittelstand, Northern Rock, payday loans, Right to Buy, Second Machine Age, six sigma, Steve Jobs, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, wages for housework, Wall-E

‘You’re giving them service but at the same time, they’re feeling welcomed.’ T, 32, call centre special adviser, Lincoln Behind a branch of a fast-food chain in Lincoln, there is a featureless yellow brick call centre open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. From the level of noise as the call centre handlers walk in, they can often guess what’s happening across the country. Bad weather causes a surge in the number of calls: a dense, chattering sound. A terrorist attack is loud. But less dramatic worries are quieter and more frequent: anger at a lost connection, sorrow for a family member passed away, simple loneliness. T has spent eleven years solving problems with people’s phone and broadband connections through his headset. When we meet on his lunchbreak in a side room of the call centre too small for the many office chairs in it, he’s already eaten the pasta he brought from home at his desk.

Sushi executive’s business card lying on the desk. I first met Reilly in June 2004 when we worked together in the Saga motor insurance call centre in Folkestone. He had just finished a degree in Film Studies at the University of Kent. We learned to log prangs and crashes, to enunciate, explain and navigate computer systems. Reilly took it all just seriously enough; he and his friend Nick made me laugh a lot more than I expected to in a minimum wage job. I left at the end of the summer to study for a master’s in English Literature; Reilly stayed. He had wanted to write novels when he was little; at 13 he wanted be a journalist at the New Musical Express. After a year in the call centre he took four weeks’ leave to do work experience at the local paper. At the end of that month, he was offered a job at the Dover Express on a salary of £12,600 a year.

Tomorrow I’ll go alone; I’ll teach in the school, and I’ll give all my life to those who may need me. Now it’s autumn; soon winter will come and cover us with snow, and I will work, I will work. Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters CONTENTS IN DOVER MAKING: potter, shoemaker, robot SELLING: fishmonger, creative director, councillor, homesteader, legal aid lawyer SERVING: sex worker, baristas, call centre adviser, special adviser LEADING: company director, stay-at-home mum, hereditary lord ENTERTAINING: dancer, footballer, giggle doctor THINKING: scientist, question writer, professor CARING: care worker, cleaner, crofter REPAIRING: rabbi, army major, nurse STARTING: apprentice, intern, technologist, unemployed, on workfare AT SCHOOL References Acknowledgements IN DOVER IN THE COLD BACK ROOM of a charity shop, a group of volunteers are working.

pages: 236 words: 62,158

Marx at the Arcade: Consoles, Controllers, and Class Struggle by Jamie Woodcock

4chan, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, anti-work, augmented reality, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, Build a better mousetrap, butterfly effect, call centre, collective bargaining, Columbine, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, David Graeber, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, game design, gig economy, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global value chain, Hacker Ethic, Howard Zinn, John Conway, Kickstarter, Landlord’s Game, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Minecraft, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Oculus Rift, pink-collar, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, union organizing, unpaid internship, V2 rocket

We approached it as a concept that could be applied in countless settings, improving education, fitness, health, productivity, and so on. This was what many on the project set out to do. It was impressive how much we believed that games could have an impact on the world. What was missing from the project’s focus was the effect that gamification was already having in the real world. When I worked in a call center as part of an inquiry for my last book, I saw firsthand the use of gamification at work. The call center was filled with ways to collect metrics and measure worker performance. At the simplest level, the large screen over the call center floor compared each worker’s performance in real time by ranking them from best seller to worst. While this never convinced me to try my hardest to reach the top of the leader board, it certainly motivated me to try a little harder so as not to stay in last place for the entire shift.

Often the workers “are hoping to join the above the line club,” putting up with precarious conditions and low pay with the promise of later promotion.29 As one worker explained: I was a quality assurance tester at Rockstar, and at its worst, we worked 72 hours a week. I was one of the unlucky ones to be working the night shifts. That’s 8pm–8am, six days a week, testing Grand Theft Auto. It was horrendous. I didn’t see daylight for months. This was perceived as a requirement and if you had issues with it, you were told “Well, you can go stack shelves at Tesco instead or answer phones at a call centre.” You were treated as disposable.30 Many of these forms of work “below the line” are gendered in various ways. For example, in the increasingly important area of publicity and marketing, in which publishers compete in ever more crowded marketplaces for videogames, the sector is “solidly pink-collar,” with public relations workers over 85 percent female. However, in contrast to how journalists are respected for their creative work, publicists have often become targeted as “spin doctors” that are “an insidious and growing threat to journalism and democracy.”31 The nature of the work involves organizing press releases, managing social media, planning events, and so on, all of which relies on relationship building.

Lebowitz, Following Marx: Method, Critique and Crisis (Boston: Brill, 2009), 314. 15Lebowitz, Following Marx, 310, 314. 16Karl Marx, “A Workers’ Inquiry,” New International 4, no. 12 (1938): 379. 17Marx, “A Workers’ Inquiry,” 379. 18Cleaver, Reading Capital Politically, 58. 19Jamie Woodcock, “The Workers’ Inquiry from Trotskyism to Operaismo: A Political Methodology for Investigating the Workplace,” Ephemera 14, no. 3 (2014): 493–513. 20Jamie Woodcock, Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres (London: Pluto, 2017). 21“Interview with Vittorio Rieser,” Generation Online, October 3, 2001, 22Notes from Below editors, “The Workers’ Inquiry and Social Composition,” Notes from Below 1 (January 29, 2018), 23Julian Kücklich, “Precarious Playbour: Modders and the Digital Games Industry,” Fibreculture Journal 5, no. 1 (2005). 24Tiziana Terranova, “Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy,” Social Text 18, no. 2 (2000): 32. 25Kücklich, “Precarious Playbour.” 26Dyer-Witheford and de Peuter, Games of Empire, 27. 27Dyer-Witheford and de Peuter, Games of Empire, 50. 28Ergin Bulut, “Glamor Above, Precarity Below: Immaterial Labor in the Video Game Industry,” Critical Studies in Media Communication 32, no. 3 (2015): 203. 29Bulut, “Glamor Above, Precarity Below,” 203. 30Ian G.

pages: 312 words: 78,053

Generation A by Douglas Coupland

Burning Man, call centre, Drosophila, hive mind, index card, Live Aid, Magellanic Cloud, McJob, new economy, post-work, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Stephen Hawking

I was not allowed to return to my bank job, because my father was no longer there—I had to become everything for myself. I spent a few years subsisting by cleaning up debris and rebuilding structures for NGOs like UNICEF and UNESCO. Unlike many young men my age, I refused to be lured to Dubai, and after the cleanup was complete, I was fortunate to find a job sweeping and cleaning at a call centre for Abercrombie & Fitch in a warehouse building at Bandaranaike Airport. I knew this was only temporary, as my love of American-produced global culture and my knowledge of the inner life of Craigs would one day allow me to become an actual call centre phone staffer, and yes, after some years my wish came true. I quickly rose through the ranks and was placed in charge of the Abercrombie & Fitch American-Canadian Central Time Zone Call Division. This occurred because I was able to give fellow workers hints not listed on our official standardized greetings sheet—obvious words like “awesome!”

For that matter, a plate of Bolognese spaghetti might be a terrifying thing to encounter for the first time. I could make a list of other such examples, but I will not. Nobody in the call centre witnessed my bee stinging me. I looked at it, and it was like seeing a long-lost friend—the happiness it brought me! I quite forgot young Leslie from the New York Times on the other end of the line. She probably interpreted my silence as artistic temperament, but she finally asked, “Werner? Werner, are you there?” I told her that my name wasn’t actually Werner, it was Harj, and that I was sorry I had led her on, and that I was actually working in an Abercrombie & Fitch call centre in Trincomalee, the capital of Sri Lanka. “Don’t dick with me. I’m on deadline.” “I just told you the truth. If you like, give me some words and I will write them on a piece of paper and then photograph them for you, and in the background you can see my hateful boss, Hemesh, as well as the guava bins at the far end of the warehouse.”

Another Craig came out immediately, his specific name being Dylan, and he asked, “Seriously, your name is really Apu?” “I joke you not.” “Wow.” Then the three of them leaned against the front desk with casual American elegance and asked what I was up to. I said, “I have been working in a company call centre in Sri Lanka for many years now, and it has always been my dream to visit the headquarters of our esteemed company.” The first Craig said, “Seriously? I mean, it’s nice here, dude, but it’s not a destination.” The second Craig asked me what it was like to work in a call centre. “In Sri Lanka,” I said, “I enjoyed providing a completely customer-centric operation by consistently enhancing customer service as I tried to gain a better understanding of our customers’ shopping patterns and preferences across Abercrombie & Fitch’s multiple shopping channels.

pages: 325 words: 99,983

Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language by Robert McCrum

Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, colonial rule, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Etonian, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, invention of movable type, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, jimmy wales, knowledge economy, Livingstone, I presume, Martin Wolf, Naomi Klein, Norman Mailer, Parag Khanna, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile

As Fareed Zakaria has put it, both ‘speak globalization fluently.’ Globish is essential to India’s globalising ambitions. This is not the Indian English of Hobson–Jobson and the bazaar or the standardised American and British English of the universities, but the emerging supranational lingua franca that enables a call centre in Bangalore to answer impossible queries, or sell new products, as far afield as Cheltenham in the UK, Cedar Rapids in the United States or Co. Cork, Eire. Many major cities in India now have call centres, with a dynamic effect on the local economy (call centre employees enjoy a salary as much as five times the national average). The road to Electronics City is symbolic of old India, but the Infosys campus, barely five miles from the centre of the city, is an oasis of Globish. Each of the 21,000 employees with an average age of between 25 and 26, is an exponent of Globish culture.

Five Point Someone features soft drugs, binge drinking, and an affair between a student and his professor’s daughter. One Night @ the Call Centre is a romantic comedy set in a call centre office where bored young Indians try to resolve the mindless enquiries of midwestern American technophobes. Bhagat says that his novel reflects a generational divide in India. His model society is China, not the modernising China of Deng Xiaoping, but the radicalising China of Mao Zedong. ‘India needs a cultural revolution to change mindsets,’ Bhagat told the Guardian. ‘In China it was bloody, but India needs to learn that the old ways are not always the best ways.’ One Night @ the Call Centre has already sold about 2 million copies. In October 2008 it reached a new audience when a Bollywood film adaptation went on general release.

On dozens of streets in a city like Bangalore, Calcutta or Mumbai, you will find advertisements for ‘English Centre’ or ‘Career English’, the passport to a better future. In Bangalore, I climbed a rickety outside staircase to the offices of ‘Easy English’ (advertising ‘Spoken English, Call Centre Training, Placements’) to learn about the programme on offer to the would–be student. ‘Easy English’ turned out to be a husband–and–wife team, operating out of four rooms (and a tiny kitchen), with a clientele of barely a dozen students who were paying 1,500 rupees a month, a substantial commitment, to acquire enough English to apply to one of the call centres. How long, I wondered, had ‘Easy English’ been in business here? ‘Six months.’ The proliferation of such training rooms happens at the end of the Globish food chain. Infosys, Microsoft and the other big corporations will train thousands of high–quality graduates to operate in North American, Australasian or British markets.

pages: 196 words: 55,862

Riding for Deliveroo: Resistance in the New Economy by Callum Cant

Airbnb, call centre, collective bargaining, deskilling, Elon Musk, future of work, gig economy, housing crisis, illegal immigration, information asymmetry, invention of the steam engine, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, new economy, Pearl River Delta, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, union organizing, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce

If you were the third person on a triple order, your food would have to spend, on average, about half an hour being bumped around in a backpack and going cold before it got to you. If you ever had a problem, like a puncture or a crash, you could ring Deliveroo’s call centre. One recurring issue was inadvertent calzone: if someone ordered a single pizza, it had a lot of space to bang about in your bag, and when climbing or descending a hill could easily get folded. You’d arrive and take the box out your backpack, only to find tomato sauce soaking through the cardboard. The call centre workers responded to this by reordering the pizza (at the company’s expense) and telling you to offer the pizza to the customer. Sometimes, however, the call centre workers would tell you to give it to the homeless. I suspected that some call centre workers were going off script in an effort to help people out, or maybe the company just changed its tune in order to get some good publicity.

Together we talked about our problems with the job, and a flood of ideas for demands emerged. Everyone had something specific they wanted changed: from the amount of time you wasted ‘on hold’ to the call centre when a delivery went wrong, to the state of the kit, to the triple orders which were bad for the customer, to the lack of discounts at local bike shops, to the rates of pay. The demands to solve those problems varied wildly. Some workers wanted a wearable video camera to be a standard part of the kit so that if an accident took place we’d all have a record of it; others wanted insurance deals, an £8 guarantee for the first hour you logged on, a £12 guarantee for all the time you were logged on, more call centre staff, and on and on. The attitudes towards management were all over the place. A few workers thought that Deliveroo would voluntarily recognize a union branch if we set one up; others thought they’d fight us tooth and nail.

Uphadya, are discussing overcoming the vertical isolation of software engineers by organizing ‘technoscientific’ points of production.28 This organization could be structured industrially (organizing all workers in one industry, rather than all workers in one job role), and so recompose different layers of the working class into one united front against the black box and the bosses.29 Together, couriers and tech workers would have much more leverage than either group on their own. The disconnect of these two workforces is a key point that allows Deliveroo to systematically exploit workers on the ground and systematically control workers in its HQ. But industrial-scale organization at Deliveroo could go even further than that: workers in the Deliveroo customer service call centres, cleaning the Deliveroo offices, and guarding the Deliveroo sites all have the same interests as us. Even beyond just Deliveroo, workers in the food service industry at large have the same interests as us: the chefs, waiting staff, and agricultural workers on whom the whole industry relies all also deserve better pay and conditions. When you started thinking about the connections, the potential links between workers across the industry multiplied and multiplied.

pages: 336 words: 83,903

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

In many modern workplaces, computer technologies are not used to enhance the worker’s capacities, but to enforce new extremes of work intensification and control. Studies of today’s classic example of bad work – the call centre – document a number of practices that are now commonplace. Auto-diallers connect both inbound and outbound calls straight to employees’ headsets, with no breaks permitted between calls. Monitoring software collects data on each worker’s productivity, automatically reporting tardy or under-performing workers to their managers, so they can be singled out for coaching, disciplinary action or embarrassment. One study describes the modern call centre as an ‘electronic panopticon’ (Fernie and Metcalf, 2000), whereas another refers to the ‘assembly line in the head’ of the call centre worker, who always knows that the completion of one task will immediately be followed by the uptake of another (Taylor and Bain, 1999).

Work, in the sense of aesthetic creation, might even be seen as a quest for immortality, expressing the producer’s desire to create durable evidence of his or her finite existence in the world. From great structures like churches and bridges to cultural artefacts like novels and video games – all of these things are the product of work. The trouble with defining work in these terms, however – as a form of creative activity – is that it becomes difficult to know what we should call work that is not creative but menial and routine. Workers who complain about their jobs in call centres, on supermarket checkouts, or at computers, inputting data day after day, are more likely to view their work as a means of self-preservation rather than self-expression. For all of us whose survival depends on submission to the daily grind, ‘work’ conjures a less romantic set of images. It calls to mind the sense of dread associated with words like ‘chore’, ‘travail’ or ‘burden’. In these cases, work does not represent a source of joy or a form of self-expression, but that blank part of the day which must be endured until five p.m.: the coveted hour when work releases its grip and we can finally be ourselves again.

In the UK, it is perhaps epitomised by the (albeit extreme) example of London’s coveted Google offices, which comprise a sort of playground featuring beanbags, allotments, chill-out zones and an old-fashioned sitting room, designed to allow employees to ‘work from home’ whilst remaining in the office. Peter Fleming and Andrew Sturdy explored this new fun-at-work ethos in their study of the Sunray (a pseudonym) call centre (Fleming and Sturdy, 2011). Sunray’s work culture was governed by the cringeworthy principle of the ‘3Fs’: ‘Focus, Fun, Fulfilment’ – a slogan repeated in team meetings, recruitment literature, and staff appraisal sessions. Attempts to inject fun into the office gave rise to a range of activities, from quizzes, themed fancy dress events and away-days to Friday afternoon drinking games and decorating the office to look like a jungle.

pages: 104 words: 34,784

The Trouble With Brunch: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure by Shawn Micallef

big-box store, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, deindustrialization, ghettoisation, Jane Jacobs, Joan Didion, knowledge worker, liberation theology, Mason jar, McMansion, new economy, post scarcity, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, World Values Survey

He has enough on his plate with all those nuclear families and the dull floors of their detached homes. Middle-class consumption is a complicated thing, but crucial to understanding how this class self-identifies. When I moved to Toronto in 2000, the economy was booming. I was only a recent grad student with little job experience, however, so I started temping at a call centre. A giant call centre is not unlike a factory floor, and for a little while, at least, Toronto felt a bit more like Windsor (in fact, one of the ways Windsor has replaced its manufacturing sector is with much lower-paying call centres, a shift from an industrial economy to a service-oriented one). After four months of searching, however, I finally got a proper, permanent job as a fundraising researcher at a large non-profit organization. Not only was I tasked with finding the kind of philanthropic money unfamiliar to me in Windsor, I found out quickly that the people I worked with often had backgrounds very different than mine.

The service class is sometimes lumped into the creative economy, but Florida says the distinction between those in the service sector and those in the creative class is autonomy in the latter; they are paid to create while the service class is paid to execute an already-created plan. It is curious why we do not speak more of the service class as the working class. Though not as physical as working in the Ford foundry, the punch-in/punch-out life is much the same, as is the lack of agency. Having worked in both sectors, from the factory floor at Hiram Walker to the mall record store (and even my first Toronto job temping at a call centre), I see much in common with the relationship to work (being told what to do) and a wider class sensibility (feeling as if somebody else controls your destiny). As for lifestyle, Florida argues the creative class is not just a blending of bourgeois and bohemian values, as outlined in David Brook’s 2000 book Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, an early look at what would inform Florida’s creative class, but transcends those two categories completely.

pages: 367 words: 108,689

Broke: How to Survive the Middle Class Crisis by David Boyle

anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, Desert Island Discs, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, housing crisis, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, mortgage debt, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, new economy, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, pension reform, pensions crisis, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, positional goods, precariat, quantitative easing, school choice, Slavoj Žižek, social intelligence, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vanguard fund, Walter Mischel, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, working poor

Re-engineering meant that organizations no longer needed to be the great employers of the middle classes, cluttering up their middle ranks with careful, thrifty, sensible and educated types to communicate between the different corporate layers. This was also the defining shift in the class system — the economy, like the corporations, is now run by a tiny ruling elite, with a handful of well-paid managers who do their bidding, and a vast and detachable underclass of drones who man the software and call centres. The middle classes have largely migrated to the public sector, the creative world and the entrepreneurial world of small business. When the Independent on Sunday can talk about the ‘casualisation of the middle classes in full swing’, that means many things, but most of all perhaps it has meant the end of the traditional middle-class occupational pension.[2] Here is the shift in a nutshell.

They want a school that will push their children academically, but they also want a school that will nurture and inspire them. They are looking for a place where their child will find others like them, somewhere where they can know the teachers, where they won’t be bullied or threatened because they know things. Somewhere without X-ray machines for knives, with some respect for culture, history and music — and which won’t just train their children to be an online or call-centre drone. And about these things the league tables will tell them absolutely nothing. So the core of the great panic is not actually snobbery. It is a search for shared values and it is a fear, as much as anything else, of violence, of knives, security guards and hyper-masculine aggression.[27] ‘Stick the name of the school into Google along with words such as “vandalism”, “knives”, “arson” and “metal detector”,’ advised Andrew Pawson with unnecessary relish, but he has pinpointed the fear accurately.

Ironically, 1903 was the same year that Henry Ford first experimented with production lines, and the combination of Taylor’s time and motion thinking and Ford’s assembly lines was described as ‘Fordism’ by the Italian Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci. We are now in a post-Fordist world. The robots have taken over the factories — the masses don’t work there any more — but we are definitely not in a ‘post-Taylor’ one. You can see his ideas, breaking every task down into units, measuring how long they take and setting targets for workers to meet, in call centres, NHS hospitals, probation offices and the battery of statistics by which public services are now run all over the Western world. Taylor died of flu in 1915, broken and embittered by his treatment at the hands of congressmen inquiring into his methods. Ironically, he died winding his watch, the symbol of his legacy. His formula for efficiency led to job cards, time clocks, inventory control and all the other apparatus of twentieth-century manufacturing.

pages: 209 words: 89,619

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class by Guy Standing

8-hour work day, banking crisis, barriers to entry, basic income, 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, mass immigration, means of production, mini-job, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nudge unit, old age dependency ratio, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, 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

Nevertheless, those who are dependent on others for allocating them to tasks over which they have little control are at greater risk of falling into the precariat. Another group linked to the precariat is the growing army in call centres. These are ubiquitous, a sinister symbol of globalisation, electronic life and alienated labour. In 2008, the United Kingdom’s Channel 4 presented a television documentary called ‘Phone Rage’, highlighting the mutual misunderstandings between young call-centre staff and angry customers. According to the programme, on average, people in the United Kingdom spent a full day each year talking to call centres, and the amount of time was rising. Then there are interns, a peculiarly modern phenomenon whereby recent graduates, current students or even pre-students work for a while for little or no pay, doing petty office jobs.

Ackerman, Bruce 180 Adecco 33, 49 agency 167–70 Agrarian Justice (Paine) 173 Aguiar, Mark 128 Alemanno, Gianni 149 Alexander, Douglas 145 alienation 19–24 alternative medicine 70 altruism 181 anger 19–24, 168 anomie 19–24, 64 Ant Tribe 73 anxiety 19–24, 155, 178 Anzalone, John 152 apprenticeships 10b, 23, 60, 70, 72–3, 131 architecture of choice 133, 139, 140, 142 Arendt, Hannah 117, 163–4 Arizona law SB1070 93, 97–8 associational freedom 167–70 associations, occupational 169–70 asylum seekers 92–3, 94, 96, 149, 158 Atos Origin 166–7 atypical labour 32, 41 Australia 39, 90, 103 Austria 150 Axelrod, David 152 baby boomers 66–7, 74 bag lady syndrome 63, 84 banausoi 13, 117 basic income 171–8, 181 Bauerlein, Mark 69 BBVA 50 Beck, Glen 151 Belgium 39 benefits 11–12, 33, 174 and the disabled 87 health care 51 unemployment 45–8, 99, 104 and wages 41–2 women and 62 Bentham, Jeremy 132–3 Berlusconi, Silvio 69, 183 on immigrants 4, 97, 148–9 BIEN (Basic Income European Network/ Basic Income Earth Network) 172 Birthright Lottery, The (Schachar) 177 Blair, Tony 135, 158, 179 Blinder, Alan 163 boredom 19, 141 Bosson, Eric 97 brain 18, 85 Brazil 182 breadwinners 41, 59, 62, 64 British Airways 50 Brown, Gordon 103 Bryceson, D.B. 21 Buffett, Warren 78 call centres 16, 169 Cameron, David 139, 169, 179 Can They do That? (Maltby) 138 Canada 79, 114 capital funds 176–7 Capitalism and Freedom (Friedman) 156 care work 61, 86, 125–6 careers, leisure 129 cash transfers 177 see also conditional cash transfers (CCTs) CCTs (conditional cash transfer schemes) 140 Cerasa, Claudio 149 Channel 4, call centre programme (UK) 16 charities 53 children, care for 125 China 28 and contractualisation 37 criminalisation 88 deliberative democracy 181 education 73 immigrants to Italy 4–5 invasion of privacy 135 migrants 96, 106–9, 109–10 old agers 83 191 192 INDEX China 28 (Continued) Shenzhen 133, 137 and time 115 wages 43 youth 76 see also Chindia China Plus One 28 Chindia 26, 27–9, 83 see also China Chrysler Group LLC 43 circulants 90, 92 Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission (US) 152–3 civil rights 14, 94 class, social 6–8, 66–7 Coase, Ronald 29 Cohen, Daniel 57, 66, 69 collaborative bargaining 168 collective attention deficit syndrome 127 commodification of companies 29–31 of education 67–72 and globalisation 26 labour 161–2 of management 40 of politics 148–53 re- 41–2 conditional cash transfers (CCTs) 140 see also cash transfers conditionality 140, 175 and basic income 172–3 and workfare 143–5, 166–7 connectivity, and youth 127 contract status 35, 36, 37, 44, 51, 61 contractors, independent/ dependent 15–16 contractualisation 37 counselling for stress 126 Crawford, Matthew 70 credit 44 crime 5, 129–30 criminalisation 14, 145, 146 crystallised intelligence 85 cultural rights 14 de Tocqueville, Alexis 145 de-industrialisation 5, 37–8 debt, and youth 73–4 Delfanti, Alessandro 78 deliberative democracy 180–1, 182 denizens 14, 93–102, 105, 113, 117, 157–8 Denmark 150 dependent/independent contractors 15–16 deskilling 17, 33, 40, 124 developing countries 12, 27, 60, 65, 105–9 disabled people 86–7, 89, 170 discrimination age 84–5 disability 81 gender 60, 123 genetic profiling 136–7 and migrants 99, 101–2 disengagement, political 24 distance working 38, 53 dole (UK) 45 Duncan Smith, Iain 143 Durkeim, Emile 20 economic security 157, 171, 173–6 The Economist 17–18, 33, 52, 137 economy, shadow 56–7 education 10, 67–73, 135–6, 159–60 Ehrenreich, Barbara 21, 170–1 elites 7, 22, 24, 40, 50 criminality 152 and democracy 181 ethics 165 Italian 148 and the Tea Party (US) 151 empathy 22–3, 137 employment agencies 33 employment security 10b, 11, 17, 36, 51, 117 Endarkenment 70 Enlightenment 24, 70 enterprise benefits 11, 12 environmental issues 167 environmental refugees 93 Esping-Andersen, G. 41 ethics 23–4, 121–2, 165 ethnic minorities 86 EuroMayDay 1, 2, 3, 167 European Union (EU) 2, 39, 146, 147 and migrants 97, 103, 105 and pensions 80 see also individual countries export processing zones 105–6 Facebook 127, 134, 135 failed occupationality 21 INDEX family 27, 44, 60, 65, 126 fear, used for control 32 fictitious decommodification 41 financial capital 171, 176–7 financial sector jobs 39–40 financial shock 2008-9 see Great Recession Financial Times 44, 55, 121, 155 firing workers 31–2 Fishkin, James 180 Fletcher, Bill 170–1 flexibility 18 labour 23–4, 31–6, 53, 60, 61, 65 labour market 6, 120–1, 170 Ford Motor Company 42, 43 Foucault, Michel 88, 133 Foxconn 28–9, 43, 105, 137 see also Shenzhen France criminalisation 88 de-industrialisation 38 education 69 leisure 129 migrants 95, 97, 101–2, 114 neo-fascism 149 and old agers 85 pensions 79 shadow economy 56 Telecom 11 youth 65–6 fraternity 12, 22, 155 freedom 155, 167–70, 172 freelance see temporary employment freeter unions 9 Friedman, Milton 39, 156 functional flexibility 36–8, 52 furloughs 36, 50 gays 63–4 General Motors (GM) 42, 43, 54 genetic profiling 136 Germany 9 de-industrialisation 38 disengagement with jobs 24 migrants 91, 95, 100–1, 114 pensions 79 shadow economy 56 temporary employment 15, 35 wages 40 and women 62 youth and apprenticeships 72–3 193 Glen Beck’s Common Sense (Beck) 151 Global Transformation 26, 27–31, 91, 115 globalisation 5–7, 27–31, 116, 148 and commodification 26 and criminalisation 87–8 and temporary employment 34 Google Street View 134 Gorz, Andre 7 grants, leisure 180–2 Great Recession 4, 49–51, 63, 176 and education 71 and migrants 102 and old agers 82 and pensions 80 and youth 77–8 Greece 52, 56, 117, 181 grinners/groaners 59, 83–4 Habermas, Jürgen 179 Haidt, J. 23 Hamburg (Germany) 3 happiness 140–1, 162 Hardt, M. 130 Hayek, Friedrich 39 health 51, 70, 120, 126 Hitachi 84 Hobsbawm, Eric 3 hormones 136 hot desking 53 Howker, Ed 65 Human Rights Watch 106 Hungary 149 Hurst, Erik 128 Hyatt Hotels 32 IBM 38, 137 identity 9 digital 134–5 work-based 12, 15–16, 23, 158–9, 163 Ignatieff, Michael 88 illegal migrants 96–8 In Praise of Idleness (Russell) 141, 161 income security 10b, 30, 40, 44 independent/dependent contractors 15–16 India 50, 83, 112, 140 see also Chindia individuality 3, 19, 122 informal status 6–7, 57, 60, 96, 119 inshored/offshored labour 30, 36, 37 194 INDEX International Herald Tribune 21 internet 18, 127, 139, 180, 181 surveillance 134–5, 138 interns 16, 36, 75–6 invasion of privacy 133–5, 167 Ireland 52–3, 77 isolation of workers 38 Italy education 69 neo-fascism 148–9 pensions 79 Prato 4–5 and the public sector 52, 53 shadow economy 56 and temporary employment 34 youth 64 Japan 2, 30 and Chinese migrants 110 commodification of companies 30 and migrants 102, 103 multiple job holding 119–20 neo-fascism 152 pensions 80 salariat 17 subsidies 84 and temporary employment 15, 32–3, 34–5, 41 and youth 66, 74, 76, 77 job security 10b, 11, 36–8 Kellaway, Lucy 83–4 Keynes, John Maynard 161 Kierkegaard, Søren 155 Klein, Naomi 148 knowledge 32, 117, 124–5, 171 labour 13, 115, 161–2 labour brokers 33–4, 49, 110, 111, 167, 168 labour flexibility 23–4, 31–45 labour intensification 119–20 labour market flexibility 6 labour security 10–11, 10b, 31 Laos 112 lay-offs see furloughs Lee Changshik 21 legal knowledge 124–5 legal processing 50 Legal Services Act of 2007 (UK) (Tesco Law) 40 leisure 13, 128–30 see also play lesbians 63–4 Liberal Republic, The 181 Lloyds Banking Group 50–1 localism 181–2 long-term migrants 100–2 loyalty 53, 58, 74–5 McDonald’s 33 McNealy, Scott 69 Malik, Shiv 65 Maltby, Lewis 138 Manafort, Paul 152 management, commodification of 40 Mandelson, Peter, Baron 68 Maroni, Roberto 97 marriage 64–5, 92 Martin, Paul 141 Marx, Karl 161 masculinity, role models for youth 63–5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 68–9 Mayhew, Les 81 Mead, Lawrence 143 mergers, triangular 30 Mexico 91 Middle East 109 migrants 2, 13–14, 25, 90–3, 145–6 and basic income 172 and conditionality 144 denizens 93–102, 157–8 government organised 109–13 internal 105–9 and queuing systems 103–5 and recession 102–3 Mill, John Stuart 160 Morris, William 160, 161 Morrison, Catriona 127 multinational corporations 28, 92 multitasking 19, 126–7 National Broadband Plan 134 near-sourcing/shoring 36 Negri, A. 130 neo-fascism 25, 147–53, 159, 175, 183 Netherlands 39, 79, 114, 149–50 New Thought Movement 21 New York Times 69, 119 News from Nowhere (Morris) 161 Niemöller, Martin 182 INDEX non-refoulement 93 Nudge (Sunstein/Thaler) 138–9 nudging 138–40, 155–6, 165, 167, 172, 178, 182 numerical flexibility 31–6 Obama, Barack 73, 138–9, 147, 148 Observer, The 20 occupations associations of 169–70 dismantling of 38–40 freedom in 162–4 obsolescence in 124 offshored/inshored labour 30, 36, 37 old agers 59, 79– 86, 89 old-age dependency ratio 80–1 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 27 origins of the precariat 1–5 outsourcing 29, 30, 33, 36, 37, 49 Paine, Thomas 173 panopticon society 132–40, 142–3 Parent Motivators (UK) 139–40 part-time employment 15, 35–6, 51, 61, 82 Pasona 33 paternalism 17, 29, 137, 153, 178, 182 nudging 138–40, 155–6, 165, 167, 172, 178, 182 pensions 42, 51, 52, 76–7, 79–81, 84–6 PepsiCo 137 personal deportment skills 123 Philippines 109 Phoenix, University of 71 Pigou, Arthur 117, 125 play 13, 115, 117, 128, 141 pleasure 141 Polanyi, K. 163, 169 political engagement/disengagement 24, 147 Portugal 52, 56 positive thinking 21, 86 Prato (Italy) 4–5 precariat (definition) 6, 7–13 precariato 9 precariatisation 16–18 precarity traps 48–9, 73–5, 114, 129, 144, 178 pride 22 prisoners 112, 146 privacy, invasion of 133–5, 167 private benefits 11 productivity, and old age 85 proficians 7–8, 15, 164 proletariat 7 protectionism 27, 54 public sector 51–4 qualifications 95 queuing systems 103–5 racism 97–8, 101, 114, 149 Randstad 49 re-commodification 41–2 recession see Great Recession refugees 92, 93, 96 regulation 23, 26, 39–40, 84, 171 Reimagining Socialism (Ehrenreich/ Fletcher) 170–1 remote working 38, 53 rentier economies 27, 176 representation security 10b, 31 retirement 42, 80–3 rights 14, 94, 145, 163, 164–5, 169 see also denizens risk management 178 Robin Hood gang 3 role models for youth 63–5 Roma 97, 149 Rossington, John 100 Rothman, David 88 Russell, Bertrand 141, 161 Russell, Lucie 64 Russia 88, 115 salariat 7, 8, 14, 17, 32 Santelli, Rick 150 Sarkozy, Nicolas 69, 97, 149 Sarrazin, Thilo 101 Schachar, Ayelet 177 Schneider, Friedrich 56 Schwarzenegger, Arnold 71 seasonal migrants 98–100 security, economic 157, 171, 173–6 self-employment 15–16, 66, 82 self-esteem 21 self-exploitation 20, 122–3 self-production 11 self-regulation 23, 39 self-service 125 services 37–8, 63 195 196 INDEX Sex, Drugs and Chocolate: The Science of Pleasure (Martin) 141 sex services 63 sexism, reverse 123 shadow economy 56–7, 91 Shenzhen (China) 133, 137 see also Foxconn Shop Class as Soulcraft (Crawford) 70 short-time compensation schemes 55–6 side-jobs 119–20 skill reproduction security 10b skills 157, 176 development of 30, 31, 40 personal deportment 123 tertiary 121–4 Skirbekk, Vegard 85 Smarsh 138 Smile or Die (Ehrenreich) 21 Smith, Adam 71 snowball theory 78 social class 6–8, 66–7 social factory 38, 118, 132 social income 11–12, 40–5, 51, 66 social insurance 22, 104 social memory 12, 23, 129 social mobility 23, 57–8, 175 social networking sites 137 see also Facebook social rights 14 social worth 21 sousveillance 134, 135 South Africa, and migrants 91, 98 South Korea 15, 55, 61, 75 space, public 171, 179–80 Spain BBVA 50 migrants 94 and migrants 102 pensions 79 and the public sector 53 shadow economy 55–6 temporary employment 35 Speenhamland system 55, 143 staffing agencies 33–4, 49, 110, 111, 167, 168 state benefits 11, 12 status 8, 21, 32–3, 94 status discord 10 status frustration 10, 21, 63, 67, 77, 78, 79, 89, 114, 123, 160 stress 19, 126, 141, 141–3 subsidies 44, 54–6, 83–6, 176 suicide, work-related 11, 29, 58, 105 Summers, Larry 148 Sun Microsystems 69 Sunstein, Cass 138–9 surveillance 132–6, 153, 167 see also sousveillance Suzuki, Kensuke 152 Sweden 68, 110–11, 135, 149 symbols 3 Taking of Rome, The (Cerasa) 149 taxes 26 and citizenship 177 France 85 and subsidies 54–5 Tobin 177 United States (US) 180–1 Tea Party movement 150–1 technology and the brain 18 internet 180, 181 surveillance 132–6 teleworking 38 temporary agencies 33–4, 49, 110, 111, 167, 168 temporary employment 14–15, 49 associations for 170 Japan 9 and numerical flexibility 32–6 and old agers 82 and the public sector 51 and youth 65 tertiarisation 37–8 tertiary skill 121–4 tertiary time 116, 119 tertiary workplace 116 Tesco Law (UK) 40 Thailand, migrants 106 Thaler, Richard 138–9 therapy state 141–3, 153 Thompson, E.P. 115 time 115–16, 163, 171, 178 labour intensification 119–20 tertiary 116, 119 use of 38 work-for-labour 120–1 titles of jobs 17–18 Tobin taxes 177 Tomkins, Richard 70 towns, company 137 INDEX toy-factory incident 108–9 trade unions 1, 2, 5, 10b, 26, 31, 168 and migration 91 public sector 51 and youth 77–8 see also yellow unions training 121–4 triangular mergers 30 triangulation 34 Trumka, Richard 78 trust relationships 8–9, 22 Twitter 127 Ukraine 152 undocumented migrants 96–8 unemployment 145 benefits 45–8, 99, 104 insurance for 175 voluntary 122 youth after recession 77 uniforms, to distinguish employment status 32–3 unions freeter 9 yellow 33 see also trade United Kingdom (UK) 102–3 benefit system 173 Channel 4 call centre programme 16 company loyalty 74–5 conditionality 143–5, 166–7 criminalisation 88 de-industrialisation 38 disabled people 170 and education 67, 70, 71 financial shock (2008-9) 49–51, 71 labour intensification 119 Legal Services Act (2007) (Tesco Law) 40 leisure 129 migrants 91, 95, 99, 103–5, 114, 146 neo-fascism 150 paternalism 139–40 pensions 43, 80 and the public sector 53 public spaces 179 and regulation of occupational bodies 39 shadow economy 56 and social mobility 56–8 and subsidies 55 197 temporary employment 15, 34, 35 as a therapy state 142 women 61–2, 162 workplace discipline 138 youth 64, 76 United States (US) care for children 125 criminalisation 88 education 69, 70–1, 73, 135–6 ethnic minorities 86 financial shock (2008-9) 49–50 migrants 90–1, 93, 94, 97, 103, 114 neo-fascism 150–1, 152–3 old agers 82–3, 85 pensions 42, 52, 80 public sector 52 regulation of occupational bodies 39 social mobility in 57–8 subsidies 55, 56 taxes 180–1 temporary employment 34, 35 volunteer work 163 wages and benefits 42 women 62, 63 youth 75, 77 universalism 155, 157, 162, 180 University of the People 69 University of Phoenix 71 unpaid furloughs 36 unpaid leave 50 uptitling 17–18 utilitarianism 88, 132, 141, 154 value of support 11 Vietnam 28, 111–12 voluntary unemployment 122 volunteer work 86, 163–4 voting 146, 147, 181 Wacquant, L. 132 wages 8, 11 and benefits 41–2 family 60 flexibility 40–5, 66 individualised 60 and migrants 103 and temporary workers 32, 33 Vietnam 28 see also basic income Waiting for Superman (documentary) 69 Wall Street Journal 35, 163 198 INDEX Walmart 33, 107 Wandering Tribe 73 Weber, Max 7 welfare claimants 245 welfare systems 44 Wen Jiabao 105 Whitehead, Alfred North 160 Williams, Rob 62 wiretapping 135 women 60–5 and care work 125–6 CCTs (conditional cash transfer schemes) 140 labour commodification 161 and migration 92 multiple jobholding 119–20 reverse sexism 123 work 115, 117, 160–1 and identity 158–9 and labour 13 right to 145, 163, 164–5 security 10b work-for-labour 120–1, 178 work-for-reproduction 124–7 work–life balance 118 worker cooperatives 168–70 workfare 143–5, 166–7 working class 7, 8 workplace 116, 122, 130, 131 discipline 136–8 tertiary 116 Yanukovich, Victor 152 yellow unions 33 youth 59, 65–7, 89, 156 commodification of education 67–72 connectivity 127 and criminality 129–30 generational tension 76–7 and old agers 85 precarity traps 73–5 prospects for the future 78–9 and role models 63–5 streaming education 72–3 zero-hour contracts 36

Challenges to be overcome would include transparency, overtendering, accountability once contracts were negotiated, and governance of rules on distribution of income, labour opportunities and internal promotions. Problems would also arise in jurisdiction and relations with other services. How would a service deal with labour-saving technical change? On launching the idea in February 2010, Cameron cited examples such as call centres, social work, community health and nursing teams, hospital pathology departments, and rehabilitation and education services in prisons. This list prompts several questions. How large should the group be that is designated as a ‘worker cooperative’? If all National Health Service hospitals in a local authority area were selected as a group, problems would arise in determining what share of income would go to groups with widely different earnings and technical skills.

pages: 401 words: 93,256

Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life by Rory Sutherland

3D printing, Alfred Russel Wallace, barriers to entry, basic income, Black Swan, butterfly effect, California gold rush, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, double helix, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Firefox, George Akerlof, gig economy, Google Chrome, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Hyperloop, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, IKEA effect, information asymmetry, James Dyson, John Harrison: Longitude, loss aversion, low cost airline, Mason jar, Murray Gell-Mann, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the map is not the territory, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Veblen good

Here are some recent butterfly effect discoveries, from my own experience: A website adds a single extra option to its checkout procedure – and increases sales by $300m per year. An airline changes the way in which flights are presented – and sells £8m more of premium seating per year. A software company makes a seemingly inconsequential change to call-centre procedure – and retains business worth several million pounds. A publisher adds four trivial words to a call-centre script – and doubles the rate of conversion to sales. A fast-food outlet increases sales of a product by putting the price . . . up. All these disproportionate successes were, to an economist, entirely illogical. All of them worked. And all of them, apart from the first, were produced by a division of my advertising agency, Ogilvy, which I founded to look for counter-intuitive solutions to problems.

When every function of a business is looked at from the same narrow economic standpoint, the same game is applied endlessly. Define something narrowly, automate or streamline it – or remove it entirely – then regard the savings as profit. Is this, too, explained by argumentative thinking, where we would rather win an argument than be right? I rang a company’s call centre the other day, and the experience was exemplary: helpful, knowledgeable and charming. The firm was a client of ours, so I asked them what they did to make their telephone operators so good. The response was unexpected: ‘To be perfectly honest, we probably overpay them.’ The call centre was 20 miles from a large city; local staff, rather than travelling for an hour each day to find reasonably paid work, stayed for decades and became highly proficient. Training and recruitment costs were negligible, and customer satisfaction was astoundingly high.

However, modern capitalism dictates that it will only be a matter of time before some beady-eyed consultants pitch up at a board meeting with a PowerPoint presentation entitled ‘Rightsizing Customer Service Costs Through Offshoring and Resource Management’, or something similar. Within months, either the entire operation will be moved abroad, or the once-happy call centre staff will be forced on to zero-hour contracts. Soon nobody will phone to place orders because they won’t be able to understand a word they are saying, but that won’t matter when the company presents its quarterly earnings to analysts and one chart contains the bullet point: ‘Labour cost reduction through call centre relocation/downsizing’. Today, the principal activity of any publicly held company is rarely the creation of products to satisfy a market need. Management attention is instead largely directed towards the invention of plausible-sounding efficiency narratives to satisfy financial analysts, many of whom know nothing about the businesses they claim to analyse, beyond what they can read on a spreadsheet.

pages: 346 words: 97,330

Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley From Building a New Global Underclass by Mary L. Gray, Siddharth Suri

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, big-box store, bitcoin, blue-collar work, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, deindustrialization, deskilling, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, employer provided health coverage,, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, gig economy, glass ceiling, global supply chain, hiring and firing, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, informal economy, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, market friction, Mars Rover, natural language processing, new economy, passive income, pattern recognition, post-materialism, post-work, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software as a service, speech recognition, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, two-sided market, union organizing, universal basic income, Vilfredo Pareto, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator

The goal isn’t just to sound like an American; companies like Orion Edutech, for instance, also attend to cultural nuance—teaching Western customs by showing American TV shows like Friends or Seinfeld and exposing Indians to American popular music. See A. Aneesh, Neutral Accent: How Language, Labor, and Life Become Global (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015); J. K. Tina Basi, Women, Identity and India’s Call Centre Industry (London: Routledge, 2009); Mahuya Pal and Patrice Buzzanell, “The Indian Call Center Experience: A Case Study in Changing Discourses of Identity, Identification, and Career in a Global Context,” Journal of Business Communication 45, no. 1 (January 1, 2008): 31–60,; Sumita Raghuram, “Identities on Call: Impact of Impression Management on Indian Call Center Agents,” Human Relations 66, no. 11 (November 1, 2013): 1471–96, [back] 8. A quote from interviews with TurkerNation discussion forum users indicates that some workers value online forums for both reasons: “If I had not found TurkerNation, I would not have made as much money for sure.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Reprint. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2017. Poster, Winifred R. “Hidden Sides of the Credit Economy: Emotions, Outsourcing, and Indian Call Centers.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 54, no. 3 (June 2013): 205–27. Prassl, Jeremias. Humans as a Service: The Promise and Perils of Work in the Gig Economy. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2018. Raghuram, Sumita. “Identities on Call: Impact of Impression Management on Indian Call Center Agents.” Human Relations 66, no. 11 (November 1, 2013): 1471–96. Reich, Robert. “How the New Flexible Economy Is Making Workers’ Lives Hell.” Robert Reich (blog), April 20, 2015.

In CHI ’17: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2347–58. New York: ACM, 2017. Barowy, Daniel W., Charlie Curtsinger, Emery D. Berger, and Andrew McGregor. “AutoMan: A Platform for Integrating Human-Based and Digital Computation.” Communications of the ACM 59, no. 6 (June 2016): 102–109. Basi, J. K. Tina. Women, Identity and India’s Call Centre Industry. London: Routledge, 2009. Battistoni, Alyssa. “The False Promise of Universal Basic Income.” Dissent, Spring 2017. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2016. Washington, DC: Federal Reserve Board, May 2017.

There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years by Mike Berners-Lee

air freight, autonomous vehicles, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, food miles, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Hans Rosling, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), land reform, neoliberal agenda, off grid, performance metric, profit motive, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, urban planning

All metrics are harmful if you give them too much power. GDP is no different. It is not a measure of human progress. Its simplicity makes it a tempting crutch for any politician who is feeling freaked out by the complexities of running a country full of real sentient people and is looking for a way to reduce their anxiety. There is information in GDP but no simple link to good and bad. Learning from call centre metrics disasters Twenty years ago, when call centres were a newish phenomenon, I spent some time training some of their managers in Sheffield. Their biggest problem was that staff kept leaving. After just a few years they were getting to the point where they had burned a hole through the population of the city; everyone who might possibly apply for a job with them had already worked for them, hated it and left. The mass of 126 5 GROWTH, MONEY AND METRICS quantitative information that managers had at their fingertips was a big part of the problem.

For many, this might sound too obvious to be worth writing down, but all too often the values behind ideas are not made explicit even though the implications are usually enormous for economics, food policy, climate policy and just about everything else you can think of for thriving in the Anthropocene. To be very clear, the same principle of inherent equal value of all human beings is universal. It applies to all world leaders, purveyors of both real and fake news, tireless aid workers, left wingers, right wingers, billionaires, paupers, your own kids, other people’s kids and even the call centre employee who rings you when you are having dinner with your family to try to persuade you to sue for an accident that never even happened. A person’s inherent worth is independent of their circumstances or the choices they have made in their lives or have had made for them. As far as other life forms go, they too deserve a place – because of their own sentient experience, not just for the practical reason that humans need them for food and medicine.

Much of this might be because of reason (1), but it might also be rewarding for its own sake – fun, challenging and interesting perhaps. (3) It provides a mechanism through which resources, and especially money, are appropriately allocated. Sadly, many jobs don’t fill all or any of these criteria. Nor are jobs the only ways of meeting the criteria. Useful things can be done by people without pay being necessary or appropriate. Fulfilling activities don’t require payment either and money can be distributed through a myriad of payment and tax mechanisms. Here are some examples. If you work in a call centre, cold calling people to try to persuade them to sue someone else 152 6 PEOPLE AND WORK for an accident they probably never even had, you probably hate your job, not least because you understand that its net impact on the world is negative. You and the rest of the world would be better off if we asked you not to go to work and paid you the same money anyway. Meanwhile neighbourly care and friendship isn’t a job but meets the first two of my criteria.

pages: 273 words: 21,102

Branding Your Business: Promoting Your Business, Attracting Customers and Standing Out in the Market Place by James Hammond

Albert Einstein, call centre, Donald Trump, intangible asset, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, market design, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Steve Jobs, the market place

In this brand-driven climate, traditional marketing techniques are no longer sufficient to create business success. Advertising is losing its pulling power. More direct mail is going straight in the waste-paper basket than ever before, and if traditional selling was only ever a ‘numbers game’, without a brand for support, its days are definitely numbered. Even the rise of technology-based customer care approaches, such as the once-hailed customer relationship management (CRM) systems, call centres and the like, have done little to aid business development. (Let’s face it. When you’re number 23 in a callwaiting queue and have been held there for 20 minutes, occasionally spoken to by some distorted, pre-recorded, unemotional voice telling you that ‘your call is important to us’, you get the feeling that someone somewhere has 4 Branding your business completely lost the plot, and has thrown any concept of building a strong brand out of the window.)

Whatever the sales gurus tell you, people don’t want to be constantly reminded of who they are. And keep the conversation centred around the brand, not yourself. Include your company name as close to the beginning of the conversation as you can, then utilise appropriate key words or phrases from your Brand Lexicon often. This will give the caller memory cues to keep the brand alive throughout the discussions. For example, if you contact Disney’s call centre, the conversation they’ll have with you will be replete with multiple uses of words like ‘magic’ and phrases such as ‘the magic of Disney’ and ‘magical kingdom’. Chances are, you won’t get off the phone without the word ‘magic’ still in your memory, albeit short-term. But put this together with the other experiences of ‘Disney magic’ you’ll encounter at their parks and that place in long-term memory is almost assured. 118 Making sense of the senses Fifteen customer service no-nos By Monte Enbysk, lead editor for the network.

(One interruption in a call might be excusable; beyond that, you are crossing the ‘rude’ threshold. Do your best to be prepared with enough staff for peak calling times.) 8. Your employees refuse or forget to use the words ‘please’, ‘thank you’ or ‘you’re welcome’. (Please use these words generously, thank you.) 9. Your employees hold side conversations with friends or each other while talking to customers on the phone, or they make personal calls on cell phones in your call centre. (Don’t do either of these.) 10. Your employees seem incapable of offering more than oneword answers. (One-word answers come across as rude and uncaring.) 11. Your employees do provide more than one-word answers, but a lot of the words are grounded in company or industry jargon that many customers don’t understand. (If you sell tech products, for example, don’t casually drop in abbreviations such as APIs, ISVs, SMTP or TCP/IP.) 12.

pages: 350 words: 107,834

Halting State by Charles Stross

augmented reality, Boris Johnson, call centre, forensic accounting, game design, Google Earth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, lifelogging, Necker cube, Potemkin village, RFID, Schrödinger's Cat, Vernor Vinge, zero day

So you’ve got to make sure the other guy doesn’t get his hands on it, don’t you? You’re right about it sounding like a swoop and squat, and that medical claim is a classic. Medical confidentiality is a great blind for snipers, but we can poke a hole in it if there’s a fraud investigation in train. Now, Nationwide still have some human folks on the web in the Customer Retention and Abuse groups, and what you need to do is to get this escalated off the call-centre ladder until a human being sees it, then you need to hammer away.” “But how do I…?” You start checking off points on your fingertips. “You start by getting Sally to offer them her car’s black-box log. Once you know exactly where she was when the incident happened—the black-box GPS will tell you that—you tell them to serve a FOIA disclosure notice on the Highways Agency for their nearby camera footage—if they won’t listen at first, I’ll talk you through doing that yourself.

The first not-so-subtle hint you’re not in England is the row of flags flying over the railway station concourse—pale blue background, white diagonal cross. They’re feeling their new EU-regional cojones, the Scots. It’s a puzzler, but at least they’re not insisting you clear customs and immigration: Thank Brussels for something. The taxi ride to your hotel rubs in the fact that you’ve come to another country. It’s the old-fashioned kind of black cab, with a real human being behind the wheel instead of a webcam and a drone jockey in a call centre. Your driver manages to detour past a weird building, all non-Euclidean swoops and curves (he proudly declares it to be a parliament, even though it looks like it just arrived from Mars, then confides that it cost a science-fictional amount, confirming the Martian origins of its budget oversight process). Then he takes a hyperspace detour round the back of a bunch of office blocks and into a rural wilderness, around the grassy flank of an extinct volcano so pristine that you half expect to see a pitched battle in progress between ghostly armies in kilts.

The hotel does indeed appear to have gun turrets. And gargoyles. Then your tourist map twitches and rearranges itself in front of your eyes as the overloaded Galileo service catches up with you. “This is the, uh, Niddrie Malmaison. I wanted the West End one?” “Oh, reet. Ahcannaebemissingthe—” You blink at the subsequent stream of consonants interspersed with vowels that sound subtly wrong. Maybe you’d have been better off waiting for a call-centre–controlled limo. But evidently no reply is expected: The driver hits the pause button on his meter and engages the mysterious fifth wheel that allows taxis everywhere to turn on the spot. And you’re off again, into a bizarre grey maze of steep streets and steeper buildings, with or without battlements. Eventually you find yourself in front of what your map overlay insists is the right hotel, and you can relax and bill it to the company account.

pages: 389 words: 119,487

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon-based life, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, deglobalization, Donald Trump, failed state, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Freestyle chess, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invisible hand, job automation, knowledge economy, liberation theology, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, obamacare, pattern recognition, post-work, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, transatlantic slave trade, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

Today millions of Bangladeshis make a living by producing shirts and selling them to customers in the United States, while people in Bangalore earn their keep in call centres dealing with the complaints of American customers.26 Yet with the rise of AI, robots and 3-D printers, cheap unskilled labour would become far less important. Instead of manufacturing a shirt in Dhaka and shipping it all the way to the US, you could buy the shirt’s code online from Amazon, and print it in New York. The Zara and Prada stores on Fifth Avenue could be replaced by 3-D printing centres in Brooklyn, and some people might even have a printer at home. Simultaneously, instead of calling customer services in Bangalore to complain about your printer, you could talk with an AI representative in the Google cloud (whose accent and tone of voice are tailored to your preferences). The newly unemployed workers and call-centre operators in Dhaka and Bangalore don’t have the education necessary to switch to designing fashionable shirts or writing computer code – so how will they survive?

If AI and 3-D printers indeed take over from the Bangladeshis and Bangalorians, the revenues that previously flowed to South Asia will now fill the coffers of a few tech-giants in California. Instead of economic growth improving conditions all over the world, we might see immense new wealth created in hi-tech hubs such as Silicon Valley, while many developing countries collapse. Of course, some emerging economies – including India and Bangladesh – might advance fast enough to join the winning team. Given enough time, the children or grandchildren of textile workers and call-centre operators might well become the engineers and entrepreneurs who build and own the computers and 3-D printers. But the time to make such a transition is running out. In the past, cheap unskilled labour has served as a secure bridge across the global economic divide, and even if a country advanced slowly, it could expect to reach safety eventually. Taking the right steps was more important than making speedy progress.

Hughes, ‘A Strategic Opening for a Basic Income Guarantee in the Global Crisis Being Created by AI, Robots, Desktop Manufacturing and BioMedicine’, Journal of Evolution and Technology 24 (2014), 45–61; Alan Cottey, ‘Technologies, Culture, Work, Basic Income and Maximum Income’, AI and Society 29 (2014), 249–57. 24 Jon Henley, ‘Finland Trials Basic Income for Unemployed’, Guardian, 3 January 2017. 25 ‘Swiss Voters Reject Proposal to Give Basic Income to Every Adult and Child’, Guardian, 5 June 2017. 26 Isabel Hunter, ‘Crammed into squalid factories to produce clothes for the West on just 20p a day, the children forced to work in horrific unregulated workshops of Bangladesh’, Daily Mail, 1 December 2015; Chris Walker and Morgan Hartley, ‘The Culture Shock of India’s Call Centers’, Forbes, 16 December 2012. 27 Klaus Schwab and Nicholas Savis, Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution (World Economic Forum, 2018), 54. On long-term development strategies, see Ha-Joon Chang, Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective (London: Anthem Press, 2003). 28 Lauren Gambini, ‘Trump Pans Immigration Proposal as Bringing People from “Shithole Countries”’, Guardian, 12 January 2018. 29 For the idea that an absolute improvement in conditions might be coupled with a rise in relative inequality, see in particular Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013). 30 ‘2017 Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel’, Israel Democracy Institute and Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (2017),; Melanie Lidman, ‘As ultra-Orthodox women bring home the bacon, don’t say the F-word’, Times of Israel, 1 January 2016. 31 Lidman, ‘As ultra-Orthodox women bring home the bacon’, op. cit; ‘Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel’, Israel Democracy Institute and Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies 18 (2016).

Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth

call centre, dark matter, fear of failure, Google Earth, rolodex, unpaid internship

As always when otherwise occupied, I wanted to be writing – a desire that rarely withstood the presence of actual writing time. Bacon, my novel-in-progress, was the story of a priest who fell in love with a talking pig (I could already see the movie trailer: Gene Hackman in a dog collar, the back of a pig’s head in the foreground as they desperately embraced: ‘God help me, I love you!’). I’d been halfway through the thing for a few years now and needed to crack on if I was ever going to escape the call centre. I’d reduced my hours there to the minimum but I still spent every second pondering quiet desktop suicide. The previous week I’d been losing the will to live ten minutes into my shift when my boss came over and asked whether I had flu. ‘It’s just a cold,’ I said, stoically. He looked at the pile of congealed tissues on my desk. ‘You know, Laura, it’s best if you don’t come in when you’re infectious.’

So apart from checking email, odd facts (I listed them and did them in bulk at 5 p.m.) and sometimes – when I was feeling particularly brave – my overdraft balance, I kept the wi-fi off. The book was proving hard enough without the added worry of where it might or might not fit in the world, especially when I was yanked every day into a heinous, staticky place, a grey carpeted box of lies concerning credit cards. All that got me through was telling myself I was buying as well as biding my time, a dangling carrot for most people who worked in the call centre. There were musicians, playwrights, poets, novelists – all of us detesting every second in our headsets; all of us dreading the time someone would turn round and say: I’VE GOT MY BREAK! I’M OUT! SEE YOU LATER, LOSERS! GCSE English class. Tuesday afternoon. Me – thirteen, ginger, unstylishly myopic – navigating my way through Yeats’ ‘When You Are Old’ with rabid intent. I loved it, loved it without knowing exactly why.

Daisy stopped wailing and the sound of block-bashing began again. I looked at Jacqueline. She picked her tea up from by her sandals and pointed to a mug down by the side of my chair. I picked up the tea and took a sip. Scaldy-hot. I took another sip. ‘So when did you leave the Red Room, then?’ I said when I could. ‘Not long after you. Four months, maybe five. Those 3 a.m. finishes! They’re a killer. What have you been up to since?’ ‘I work in a call centre.’ A pause, then: ‘See, much better hours, you know what I mean. Neil’s an accountant so we get something like a normal life at the evenings and weekends.’ ‘Well, my shifts are pretty unpredictable. It’s a twenty-four-hour service. Credit cards.’ I didn’t know why but it was almost as though part of me was enjoying making out I did the worst thing in the world. I think I was trying to embarrass her or convince myself or both.

pages: 320 words: 86,372

Mythology of Work: How Capitalism Persists Despite Itself by Peter Fleming

1960s counterculture, anti-work, call centre, clockwatching, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, David Graeber, Etonian, future of work, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, illegal immigration, Kitchen Debate, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, neoliberal agenda, Parkinson's law, post-industrial society, post-work, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, Results Only Work Environment, shareholder value, social intelligence, The Chicago School, transaction costs, wealth creators, working poor

Analysts have noted how keeping unsociable hours is increasingly the norm beyond the professions usually associated with night work (nursing, for example). This has been encouraged and facilitated by a broader agenda of flexible employment systems, the growth of subcontracting and the degradation of important employment rights and benefits that once regulated this practice (see Kreitzman, 1999; Aubenas, 2011). Cleaners, warehouse workers, caterers, security personnel, truck drivers, call-centre agents and many others now do their work in the middle of the night when the rest of us are asleep. Of course, Marx noted long ago that the attempt to render labour productive after the sun goes down represents a strong predisposition of the capitalist mode of production: The prolongation of the working day beyond the limits of the natural day, into the night, acts only as a palliative. It quenches only in a slight degree the vampire thirst for the living blood of labour.

This impossibility is characterized not only by the Saint Genets haunting the cut-throat nightlife of the neoliberal order. We are not referring to a distinctive class or social category, although the destitute prefigures its form. For the impossibility lodged in every centre of this wrong whole is viral too. Its inflections are to be seen in the homeless, in the tearful bankers falling to earth from their high-rise prisons, in academics sacrificing themselves to the ‘bad deal’ they call a mortgage, in the call-centre employees who cannot go on, etc. The official silence concerning these unmanageable moments constantly throbs everywhere in the large cities of the capitalist order, a low and compulsive hum that troubles those who have learnt to listen to its message. A Negative Optics of Revolt After Deleuze, the planet of work is no figurative prison or straitjacket, but a set of impossible geometric lines that we must render obsolete so that their perpetual postponements and qualifications can be halted for good.

In the presence of a gruelling and often humiliating clash between managers and a disempowered employee, organizational bystanders frequently lose their nerve and volunteer important insights about the political alliances and factions that may be frustrating managerial objectives. A fourth reason for all this conflict is perhaps most central. An incident of disagreement, however minor and insignificant, offers management useful ammunition for justifiably abandoning employees in the future should the need arise. Many industries, especially call centres, customer services and retail, rely upon orchestrated conflict to eject workers on a regular basis, knowing that newcomers are less wise to the historical struggles within the firm and more pliant, until they too become a ‘problem’ and are themselves replaced. Indeed, these ‘green field’ strategies, in which a relentless cycle of hiring–firing–hiring is pursued, require a very combative approach by management, because most of the time employees simply want to be left alone to get on with the job.

pages: 335 words: 114,039

David Mitchell: Back Story by David Mitchell

British Empire, call centre, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Desert Island Discs, Downton Abbey, energy security, Kickstarter, lateral thinking

I really didn’t know what I wanted. - 29 - Are You Sitting Down? The landline rang in my living room. This wasn’t as unusual in 2002 as it is now. Nowadays I’d assume it was a survey or someone trying to sell me something. If I answered it, I’d expect that suspicious pause after I said hello which tells you that it’s from some poor sod in a call centre – a cold-call centre, in fact. Possibly a cold cold-call centre if it’s in the North-East, or a humid cold-call centre if it’s the subcontinent. The pause, I reckon, is because they’ve dialled a dozen, or a hundred, or maybe a thousand numbers at once, and it takes a beat for them to notice which ones have been answered. And of course it’s an infuriating pause because, not only is someone about to waste your time, you’re also expected to wait a few seconds until it’s convenient for them to start wasting it.

And then the battle begins. The battle, in my case, is to get off the phone politely and without having hung up on anyone. I feel that an element of my humanity will have been lost if I actually hang up while they’re still speaking. I try, by adopting a firm and patronising voice, to put an end to the call in good order. Of course it never works. The techniques drilled into the staff of a cold-call centre presumably include never stopping talking and never saying, ‘Okay, thanks, goodbye.’ I’m a slightly obsessive ‘goodbye’ sayer – I come away from parties with an unsettled feeling because I haven’t formally taken my leave of all the people I chatted to. I know that’s fine and people don’t expect it, but it feels like I’ve left lots of loose ends hanging. All of which makes me easy prey for the cold-caller.

pages: 164 words: 57,068

The Second Curve: Thoughts on Reinventing Society by Charles Handy

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, bonus culture, British Empire, call centre, Clayton Christensen, corporate governance, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, Edward Snowden, falling living standards, future of work, G4S, greed is good, informal economy, Internet of things, invisible hand, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, late capitalism, mass immigration, megacity, mittelstand, Occupy movement, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, sharing economy, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, Veblen good, Walter Mischel

What seems sure is that the world that our grandchildren will work in will have very different organisations and very different life options than the ones I knew. Whether they will be better or nicer is another question. 4 THE WORKPLACE What? Where? Who? and How? WE HAVE TO contemplate a day when most factories – if they are still called that – are largely staffed by robots and call centres by talking computers, when cars, lorries and trains are increasingly driverless, when cooking is fully automated, the menu of your choice brought by robot to your table, when most shopping is online and entertainment on tap in your lounge or bedroom. Much of our lives will be organised by algorithms and computer-controlled systems. It will be, some say, a world where humans service the machines rather than the other way round, science fiction become fact.

If they are not delivered you or your group will have failed. But there is more to the job than the specified core, there is the dough around the jam, the empty space for new initiatives. Efficiency dislikes empty space so is tempted to prescribe what should happen in it, thereby pulling more into the core. In the extreme all the doughnut is core, every action is foreseen and prescribed, as is the case in many call centres where the operator is totally constrained by what they read on their screen. The next stage is to do away with the operator and leave it to the computer, thereby giving complete control to the centre but also ensuring that no unexpected or creative initiatives will be forthcoming. Efficiency will have killed individual creativity and initiative. The preferred solution is a compromise. The centre has control over the core of the work and can, by drawing the outer rim of the doughnut a bit tighter, limit the scope for initiative, while still leaving the individual or group room to be creative.

Doughnut management requires a major investment in the development of the staff. That may be expensive in the short term but, ultimately, trust is always cheaper than control. In a doughnut culture people are judged on the results, not on their methods, on their effectiveness rather than their efficiency. Efficiency should be the servant not the master. The new technologies can now work both ways. Technology can be used, as in some of those call centres, to eliminate discretion and increase control, or, by monitoring only results and by more disclosure of necessary data, it can facilitate individual initiative. Some business organisations take the doughnut model to extremes, effectively licensing individual units to run their own businesses, or to start new ones, for which they would need corporate approval if investment were needed. Companies such as W.

Digital Transformation at Scale: Why the Strategy Is Delivery by Andrew Greenway,Ben Terrett,Mike Bracken,Tom Loosemore

Airbnb, bitcoin, blockchain, butterfly effect, call centre, chief data officer, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, cryptocurrency, Diane Coyle,, G4S, Internet of things, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, loose coupling, M-Pesa, minimum viable product, nudge unit, performance metric, ransomware, Silicon Valley, social web, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds

Hearing repeated complaints about their own ministry in person from an anguished member of the public helps focus the mind. Relying on anecdotes for ideas is not enough, of course. Your other source of intelligence should be data. There are various sources worth exploring. The web traffic data from your existing websites is a good place to start, not least to help identify how many of the thousands of web pages maintained by your organisation are visited by almost nobody. Data from call centres is also rich with insight about what your users are failing to find out from your websites. Gathering any unfiltered information you can get on user complaints is extremely powerful too, not least because it ensures that those with access to louder megaphones aren’t given a falsely high priority. A digital team may need to get creative about getting hold of such data, because colleagues in other parts of the organisation can be decidedly reticent about handing it over, especially if they haven’t acted on it themselves.

More importantly, however, it would land a near-fatal blow to the digital team’s ability to say that it represented a departure from the typical record of public sector IT. That e-petitions didn’t experience a familiar kind of public IT failure on a grand scale was itself enough for it to stand out as a success. To get a sense of just how visible a service will be, you will ideally need access to data. The web traffic logs on existing websites should give you some indication, as will call centre data. However, for completely greenfield services, there may be no historical numbers to work from. In these cases, you will have to calibrate potential visibility with a combination of your instincts and the amount of political attention the new idea is getting. Plan for worst-case scenarios, and run exercises that put the service through its paces. There should be no surprises on the day it goes live.

Their goal should be to place this project in the same canon as those great designs; not by pastiche or homage, but by using the principles of good design adopted by the organisation’s pioneers. If they do this well enough, digital teams can unlock design patterns their organisation has never faced before. In the UK’s Ministry of Justice, a team redesigned the lasting power of attorney service following GDS’s design principles. Soon after a beta version was launched, the department’s call centre began getting more contacts. This was a puzzle and potentially a worry – the new service was supposed to reduce the number of people ringing up, not increase it. It turned out the spike in calls had been caused by users who wanted to praise the team on how smooth they found their experience. A positive feedback button was duly added to the online service. What if a user doesn’t know what they need?

pages: 208 words: 67,582

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

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, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, The Spirit Level, ultimatum game, working poor

Until recently, the West possessed a tradition of authority symbolically vested in individuals (‘Thou shalt honour thy father and thy mother’). Representatives of authority were themselves subject to the system, and could also be held accountable. These days, we live in a world where power is anonymous and cannot be localised, and therefore no longer exercises any moral authority. Much more importantly, it can also no longer be called to account. It is epitomised by the call centre with its endless menu options (‘Hi, I’m Vanessa, how can I help you?’) that never puts us through to the person who is responsible, for the very good reason that they don’t exist. The seat of power has been abandoned. There are no fathers anymore because the system has done away with symbolic authority figures. In the best-case scenario, the modern father is a second mother alongside the first.

The tragedy is that parents are blamed for the consequences of this system, though they themselves are victims of it. Journalist Kaat Schaubroeck sums it up perfectly in the title of her book: Een verpletterend gevoel van verantwoordelijkheid: waarom ouders zich altijd schuldig voelen (A Crushing Sense of Responsibility: why parents always feel guilty). When they seek help for their children, whose disorders are also caused by the system, they find themselves at the mercy of the social-services call centre, which sends them from pillar to post. And this is the second explanation for the increasing demand for discipline: neo-liberal policies create a need for it by sweeping away symbolic authority and trust in such authority. As a result, everyone mistrusts everyone else, leading to yet more monitoring and measurement, and, despite all the slogans about deregulation and the ‘free’ market, to an endless proliferation of rules, regulations, and contracts.

That’s why it’s so important not just to look at the figures, but also to take note of someone who has tried to understand the German model by consciously experiencing it. Günter Wallraff is a journalist who occasionally goes undercover to find out exactly what it means, say, to be a member of an ethnic minority. He did the same thing as a worker right at the bottom of the social ladder, taking on jobs such as a baker in the Lidl supermarket chain and an operator in a call centre. He published his account in a book entitled Heerlijke nieuwe wereld (Brave New World). Besides the starvation wage (7.66 euros an hour before tax), Wallraff said that the hardest thing to bear was the loss of dignity, the feeling of no longer belonging. The system creates an underclass who regard themselves as failures, are ashamed, and seek to draw as little attention to themselves as possible.

pages: 252 words: 65,990

HWFG: Here We F**king Go by Chris McQueer

call centre, Donald Trump, Kickstarter, Nelson Mandela, sensible shoes

‘I’m sor–’ The craft imploded under the pressure as the glass cracked open and the squid just fucking ate every single bit of them. It was mental. Sammy the Crime Scene Cleaner Efter mah escapades in the sausage factory, ah went oan the brew fur a while. Ye ever been oan the brew? It’s a fuckin nightmare. Honestly, yer better aff workin. Cunt’s are oan yer case 24/7. Need tae apply fur aboot a million joabs every single day. Call centres, offices, shops, fuckin door tae door sales an aw that – everyhing. ‘Ahm clearly no qualified tae work in a jail,’ ah says tae mah designated advisor. ‘Ah mean, ahm no the biggest maist intimidatin cunt, um ah?’ ‘That’s beside the point,’ mah advisor says. ‘You have to apply or you’ll be sanctioned and lose your job seeker’s allowance.’ ‘Swear tae god, mate, if ah get this joab ah’ll be ragin.’

Within a couple of hours they had arranged to go on their first date. To impress Holly, Zack had claimed he was on the hunt for a job. After she came back from lunch, Beverly was stunned to see he was putting together a CV. Written in comic sans, using his email and only half a page long, but at least it was a start. Beverly stopped his email from sending when he fired his CV off to a local call centre and fixed it up herself. By the end of her shift, Zack had a first date, a first driving lesson and his first interview all lined up. An excellent day’s work, she thought. AND he’d only had two wanks. He would be fine without her after Friday, she reckoned. * * * On Thursday, Beverly could hardly believe her time with Zack was almost over. The night before she’d realised that the only real time Zack and his mother spoke was when she shouted him down for dinner or when she was giving him into trouble.

Beverly strode through the cafeteria without picking up her morning coffee, not even stopping to talk to poor Henry who was crouched under a table begging for help. Zack’s driving lesson was booked for 2pm and Zack was still asleep at just after 1pm. Normally, she would set an alarm to wake him up but today she cancelled the alarm he’d set himself for 1:30pm. She then turned his phone on silent so he couldn’t hear when the instructor tried to phone him. Time to fuck up his employment hopes now. She drafted a short email in which she told the call centre’s recruitment manager that he had a voice like “a wee jessie” and to “shove the job up his arse” after picking up some Scots from watching Still Game. The she turned her attentions to poor Holly. She could do much better than Zack anyway. Your dug’s fuckin ugly she wrote and hit send. Eh fuck you then, cheeky arsehole Holly replied, then blocked him. Zack and his maw had been having a nice wee night together with a Chinese on the couch.

pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, drone strike,, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, microservices, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wages for housework, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

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. The silicon chip gets smaller; the add-on devices that once cluttered our workspaces – modems, hard drives, floppy disks – become smaller, scarcer, and then disappear. Proprietary software gets built by corporate IT departments and is then replaced by off-the-peg versions at one-tenth of the price. And soon, too, the IT departments disappear, to be replaced by call centres in Mumbai. The PC becomes the laptop. The laptop shrinks and gets more powerful but is superseded by the smartphone and the tablet. At first, this new technology was mapped on to the old structures of capitalism. In the 1990s, the folklore in IT was that the most expensive software – the enterprise resource package – ‘moulds like putty, sets like concrete’. By the time you had computerized your production line, innovation elsewhere meant you had to rip it out and start again.

They have access to banking and insurance, are likely to own a TV, and usually live in small family groups, not the multigenerational families of the slum, or the solitude of the dormitory. Three-quarters of them work in service industries. The growth of service sector jobs in the developing world reflects both the natural evolution of the job mix under modern capitalism and a second round of offshoring, focused on call centres, IT departments and back-office functions. In short, the graph shows the limits of what offshoring can achieve. That growing wedge of $13-a-day workers is nudging into the income bracket of the poorest American workers. This means that the days of easy wins for firms offshoring their production are drawing to a close. For the last twenty-five years, large parts of industry in the global south have used ‘extensive’, rather than intensive, methods to boost production.

‘Capturing positive externalities,’ writes Moulier-Boutang, ‘becomes the number one problem of value.’48 In cognitive capitalism, the nature of work is transformed. Manual labour and industry don’t stop, but their place in the landscape changes. Because profit increasingly comes from capturing the free value generated by consumer behaviour, and because a society focused on mass consumption has to be constantly fed coffee, smiled at, serviced by call centres, the ‘factory’ in cognitive capitalism is the whole of society. For these theorists, ‘society as a factory’ is a crucial concept – vital to understanding not just the nature of exploitation but resistance. For a pair of Nike trainers to be worth $179.99 requires 465,000 workers in 107 factories across Vietnam, China and Indonesia to produce to the same exact standard. But it also requires the consumer to believe that the Nike swoosh makes these chunks of plastic, rubber and foam worth seven times the average US hourly wage.49 Nike spends $2.7 billion a year on getting us to believe just that (compared to $13 billion actually making the shoes and clothing) – and that marketing budget buys way more than advertisements at the Superbowl.

pages: 280 words: 76,376

How to Write Your Will: The Complete Guide to Structuring Your Will, Inheritance Tax Planning, Probate and Administering an Estate by Marlene Garsia

Asperger Syndrome, Berlin Wall, call centre, clean water, credit crunch, estate planning

The level of assistance is not available to the same degree as that found in England and Wales, nor do matters appear as straightforward – except for processing small estates. The appropriate authorities in both England and Scotland have been extremely helpful, as they would be to any person seeking their assistance. There are significant changes under way not only with new laws but a change in the probate system and updating of excepted estates. Capital Taxes Office have introduced a call centre processing system although the initial contact is still to be made with your local Probate Registry. A proposed simplification in dealing with the Registries has been introduced. As an executor or proposed administrator you have to present yourself to the Registrar and swear that the information given is correct; in future ‘a statement of truth’ will replace the oath, although personal attendance will still be necessary.

A spouse who survives for a short time but dies within the 28-day period will be treated as if he or she had died within the lifetime of the deceased. The second part of the book deals with probate, what steps should be taken and when, in order to prove a will. If the sad task of winding up the estate of a close relative or friend is placed under your agreed control, you may need to seek advice. The best place to start is at the Personal Applications Department of your nearest Probate Registry or at one of its sub-registries. The new call centre on 0845 3020900 can be used for IHT queries and for forms, and also a website at The Registrar and his colleagues in the Personal Applications Department in your area deal on a daily basis with all sorts of queries raised regarding probate. However, they cannot give legal advice. Of course, the State has laid down certain rules which have to be followed by them. The rules are there to protect the wishes of the deceased and to ensure that those wishes are fulfilled.

Changes to the Probate Registry Far-reaching changes were proposed for the Probate Registry, and a consultancy exercise carried out. In the proposal the current Registries and Sub-Registries were to be closed, leaving some six or so Probate Registries nationwide. To this end an 144 ■ How to Write Your Will amalgamation of telephone numbers/helpline numbers between the Capital Taxes Office and Probate is already in place and working. However, the call centre staff are only trained to deal with standard queries, and if it does not fall into this category your call will have to be transferred to another office. Happily, these proposals to reduce the number of offices have been abandoned and the nationwide network is to remain for the time being. Other positive proposals, such as a joint helpline, will also remain. Under the present system, before probate is granted appointments have to be made to swear the accuracy of the submission.

pages: 227 words: 81,467

How to Be Champion: My Autobiography by Sarah Millican

Albert Einstein, call centre, Downton Abbey, index card, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Nelson Mandela, Nick Leeson

I don’t really know what valves are but I know that opening one up a little stops it blowing later down the line. I think I might have learnt that from The Simpsons. While it sounds sad, those cries were very good for me and helped me get back behind my desk to work. I was worried that staying too long on frontline would desensitise me to emotions, so I was very glad to be headhunted to be part of a new team that would be working out the back of Felling Jobcentre, six Metro stops away. It was a call centre where the only thing I’d be doing was job searches. I was one of a team of about ten. We all worked in the same room, which had a small kitchenette off it where one of the girls pinned passive-aggressive poems about cleaning the microwave, and the tea club biscuit-tin lid was never on. Because we were in such a small room with our own loos and everything, we didn’t have to go far to get anything.

Mine was clerical and retail but my friend Angela’s was warehouse and forklift, so I mentioned my old warehouse man and she said she’d see what she could do. It was on that computer system that I spotted my next job: sound engineer. When I went for the interview and they told me it was for audiobooks, I was thrilled because I was going to be surrounded by books again. They’d had only male interviewees so far who’d thought it was a music role. I got the job, and on the day I left the call centre my friend Angela got a call from my warehouse man. She had put him in for a fair few jobs over the months, and he’d rung to pass a message on to me that he’d got himself one, which was the best leaving present I could have asked for. Producing audiobooks was like being a kid, but instead of your parent reading to you it’s a professional actor who can do all the voices. I was only there eighteen months but I enjoyed it very much.

‘Don’t worry, Doctor, I am SHITFACED all of the time. It’s going really well.’ I pride myself on the fact that I only missed half a day at work the whole time, but I know in my heart that I cried at my desk A LOT so I’m not sure how much actual work got done. At this point I was back working for the civil service. I’d left audiobooks because of the antisocial hours and this job, working in the call centre, was more money. I sat opposite an adorable bloke called Paul, and one day he asked how he could help me while I was snuffling behind my monitor. I told him I liked pictures of animals in clothes, so every time I was upset my email would ping and there would be a Yorkshire terrier in a ball gown. Instant wet-faced smile. Paul was very sweet. We once got in the lift on the ground floor together and he decided to use the time between there and the sixth floor, where we worked, to strip to the waist to show me his new tattoo.

pages: 322 words: 84,580

The Economics of Belonging: A Radical Plan to Win Back the Left Behind and Achieve Prosperity for All by Martin Sandbu

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, centre right, collective bargaining, debt deflation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, intangible asset, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, liquidity trap, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Martin Wolf, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mini-job, mortgage debt, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, pattern recognition, pink-collar, precariat, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, social intelligence, TaskRabbit, total factor productivity, universal basic income, very high income, winner-take-all economy, working poor

Unless governments adopt policies that handle this disruption better, it will potentially affect even greater numbers of people than deindustrialisation. And to the extent that researchers can predict it, it is the places most left behind by the previous wave of automation that are most exposed to the next one. That is because lower-skilled routine jobs—for example in retail, warehousing, and customer service such as call centres—are both more threatened by technological innovation and disproportionately found in places that previously lost industry or mining jobs, places like the north of England or the US states of Indiana and Ohio. In contrast, the places with a high proportion of knowledge economy jobs—think Oxford or New York—are not just doing better already but are also more secure because such jobs tend to be harder to automate.25 In baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out.

Much of the increase in US income inequality over the last decades has come not from inequality between the low and high paid within each company—between, say, the janitor and the CEO, though that has increased, too—but from a growing difference between what a janitor at a successful company is paid and what a janitor at an unsuccessful one is paid.26 In Europe and Japan, in contrast, concentration has not increased as much, perhaps because competition regulators have been more active.27 But everywhere, the rate at which newcomers enter markets to challenge established companies seems to be falling, which also reduces competitive pressures and therefore makes pro-competitive policy all the more important.28 Second, location can be a factor affecting market power. In small places, a supermarket chain, call centre, or delivery warehouse may offer the only jobs available to people with low formal skills. It is then hard to challenge poor working conditions. In the United States, employers have reduced competition for staff further by introducing “noncompete” clauses in employment contracts, making it harder for workers to take another job even when one exists.29 Third, the digital revolution threatens to worsen the imbalance of power further, inside production relationships, within labour markets, and against consumers.

But the broad definition of connectivity is crucial.19 Without the “software” of economic connectivity—the education, skills, and social aptitude to participate in the most modern economic activities—reducing “hard” distance may achieve little. Extending the area from which poorly paid workers can commute into cities to do low-productivity service work (or providing such work remotely, for example through call centres) does nothing to restore a sense of economic belonging. A striking illustration of how physical distance overlaps with psychological and social distance is that even in the era of ubiquitous social networks, people’s networks of online “friends” thins out fast with how far away they live.20 This matters for access to a knowledge economy where high-value services rely on cognitively and socially specific communication.

Autonomous Driving: How the Driverless Revolution Will Change the World by Andreas Herrmann, Walter Brenner, Rupert Stadler

Airbnb, Airbus A320, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, call centre, carbon footprint, cleantech, computer vision, conceptual framework, connected car, crowdsourcing, cyber-physical system, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, demand response, digital map, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, global supply chain, industrial cluster, intermodal, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Mars Rover, Masdar, megacity, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer rental, precision agriculture, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Zipcar

ONLINE SERVICES AND ECALL It is already possible to send and receive e-mails or to listen to music from the Internet in cars. In the future, it will be possible to download videos in HD quality into cars as well. Along with improving quality and network capacity, it will be possible to use even more digital entertainment and communication services. eCall (emergency call) notifies an emergency call centre when an accident occurs. As of 2018, this emergency call system must be installed in all new vehicles in the European Union. A device installed in the vehicle automatically reports an accident using a standardised telephone number. General Motors has offered a similar system for its vehicles called OnStar in The Connected Car 137 numerous countries for several years. The system is installed in the rear-view mirror and 6 million units have already been sold.

This is justified from the perspective of safety and liability, but there is increasing pressure at the political level to make access to the data compulsory. The Connected Car 139 K e y T a ke a w a y s Vehicle connectivity will take place permanently via mobile-phone networks or with the help of ad-hoc networks. Ad-hoc networks will be used for V-to-V, V-to-I and V-to-X communications. Established online services allow the occupants to use the phone, send e-mails and play music from the Internet. eCall is a service to notify an emergency call centre of an accident and will be mandatory in new vehicles in all European countries as of 2018. With connected driving, information from other vehicles or from the infrastructure will be integrated into the real-world model of an autonomous vehicle. Connected mobility means that services for mobility encompassing all modes of transport will be offered in the future. This page intentionally left blank CHAPTER 13 CYBER SECURITY AND DATA PRIVACY CYBER SECURITY Apart from all the political, ethical and legal debates relating to autonomous driving [10], the issue of cyber security also has to be resolved before these cars are on the roads.

These data are primarily required for the driver assistance systems, and also so that more and more information and communication services can be provided to the customer in the vehicle [83]. Fundamentally, there are three categories of data that are generated in the vehicle: (1) Data are created by statutory regulations such as the automatic emergency call. In the case of an accident, data on the time, place and driving direction is sent to the emergency call centre. (2) Data result from technical processes such as the recognition of the environment with sensors and subsequent processing of that data. As a rule, these data are of a temporary nature, unless they are entered into the map producer’s database. And (3), data also come from the provision of services for which a contractual agreement exists. This includes the updating of navigation maps, Internet access in a vehicle and many V-to-X applications such as checks on the driver’s fitness to drive by means of sensors in the steering wheel.

pages: 281 words: 47,243

Tuscany Road Trips by Duncan Garwood, Paula Hardy, Robert Landon, Nicola Williams

call centre, car-free, haute couture, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Skype

Some six-digit national rate numbers are also in use (such as those for Alitalia, rail and postal information). International Calls A To call Italy from abroad, call the international access number (011 in the USA, 00 from most other countries), Italy’s country code (39) and then the area code of the location you want, including the leading 0. A The cheapest options for calling internationally are free or low-cost computer programs such as Skype, cut-rate call centres and international calling cards. A Cut-price call centres can be found in all of the main cities, and rates can be considerably lower than from Telecom payphones. A Another alternative is to use a direct-dialling service such as AT&T’s USA Direct (access number 800 172444) or Telstra’s Australia Direct (access number 800 172610), which allows you to make a reverse-charge (collect) call at home-country rates. A To make a reverse-charge international call from a public telephone, dial 170.

pages: 332 words: 100,601

Rebooting India: Realizing a Billion Aspirations by Nandan Nilekani

Airbnb, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, call centre, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, DARPA: Urban Challenge, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, Edward Snowden,, energy security, financial exclusion, Google Hangouts, illegal immigration, informal economy, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, land reform, law of one price, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, more computing power than Apollo, Negawatt, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, price mechanism, price stability, rent-seeking, RFID, Ronald Coase, school choice, school vouchers, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, software is eating the world, source of truth, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, WikiLeaks

After flagging off the first enrolment, the UIDAI raced to reach a run rate of one million enrolments a day. In order to do so, MoUs were signed with registrars, enrolment agencies were brought on board, operators were trained, a biometric device ecosystem was created, enrolment and de-duplication software was continuously upgraded and fine-tuned to function at scale, servers were procured, letters were printed and dispatched, and a multilingual call centre was set up to handle queries and grievances. It took a significant amount of time and effort right from the first enrolment to scale each of these processes to achieve the target of generating one million Aadhaar numbers a day, but when Nandan tendered his resignation as chairman of the UIDAI on 13 March 2014, he could do so with the knowledge that the UIDAI had succeeded in its goal of delivering over 600 million Aadhaar numbers in less than five years of its existence.

It was technology and data analytics that powered this leap, allowing us to choose the media and the message likely to have the greatest impact and then monitoring the results in real time. The campaign rolls out Once people knew who Nandan was, what he had achieved so far and what he hoped to do for Bangalore South, we now had to tackle the challenging task of persuading people to vote for him. Volunteers called the residents of Bangalore South through call centres, familiarizing them with Nandan’s biography and emphasizing the local connect, starting with the fact that he was born in Bangalore South. In the later stages of the campaign, the live calls were complemented by automated phone calls that played a pre-recorded message from Nandan urging people to cast their vote in his favour. We ran polls alongside to measure how effective these strategies were.

With their large budget, parties can ensure that the message stays consistent across the country, an approach that was most successfully employed by Narendra Modi and to a certain extent by the AAP in Delhi. Funds can be raised on the basis of the party’s brand, and technology helps to log and utilize even the smallest of donations, as the AAP’s fundraising campaign demonstrated so ably. The platform will also offer a set of technology-based tools that candidates can access: digitized voter lists, voter look-up services for party workers, social media engagement, call centre management, 3D hologram rallies, and so on. All these technological innovations were deployed in the 2014 elections, and should soon enter the mainstream of Indian politics. The trend of political parties increasingly providing a set of tools, or an integrated launch platform to their candidates, will only accelerate in future elections. Candidates that can combine strong grassroots support with a party-supplied platform will naturally have an edge over old-style politics.

Rome by Lonely Planet

bike sharing scheme, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, double helix, G4S, Index librorum prohibitorum, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, low cost airline, Murano, Venice glass, Skype, urban planning

On Saturday he’s been invited to a friend’s wedding, which means he’ll have to find time to shop for a present. On Sunday his partner wants to go to the Caravaggio exhibition at the Quirinale, but that’ll be packed, and he’d rather drive out to the Castelli Romani for lunch at Lago di Albano. Paolo Virzì’s 2008 film Tutta la vita davanti won critical praise for its bittersweet portrayal of a philosophy graduate who dreams of a job in research but ends up working the phones in a Roman call centre. Work Employment in the capital is largely based on Italy’s bloated state bureaucracy. Every morning armies of suited civil servants pour into town and disappear into vast ministerial buildings to keep the machinery of government ticking over. Other important employers include the tourist sector, banking, finance and culture – Italy’s historic film industry is largely based in Rome and there are hundreds of museums and galleries across town.

According to figures released by Istat, Italy’s official statistics body, up to 800,000 women were forced to leave work in 2008-2009 after giving birth. Italian law legislates against this, but sexual discrimination clearly remains an issue in many work places. Rome’s under 40s are another workplace minority with many young Romans forced to accept short-term contracts for jobs for which they are hugely overqualified such as working in a telephone call centre. These jobs typically offer no job security, no pension benefits and no prospects. Home Life & the Family Romans, like most Italians, live in apartments. These are often small – 75 to 100sq m is typical – and expensive. House prices in central Rome are among the highest in the country and many first time buyers are forced to move out of town or to distant suburbs outside of the GRA (the grande raccordo anulare ), the busy ring road that marks the city’s outer limit.

Telecom Italia (, in Italian) sells prepaid wi-fi cards for €3 (one hour), €5 (five hours), €15 (24 hours) and €40 (seven days). International Calls To call abroad from Italy dial 00, then the relevant country and area codes, followed by the telephone number. Try to avoid making international calls from a hotel, as you’ll be stung by high rates. It’s cheaper to call from a private call centre or from a public payphone with an international calling card. These are available at newsstands and tobacconists, and are often good value. Another alternative is to use a direct-dialling service such as AT&T’s USA Direct (access number 800 172 444) or Telstra’s Australia Direct (access number 800 172 610), which allows you to make a reverse-charge call at home-country rates. Skype is also available at many internet cafes.

pages: 223 words: 58,732

The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, affirmative action, Airbnb, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, carried interest, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, computer age, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, George Santayana, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, illegal immigration, imperial preference, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, liberal capitalism, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, one-China policy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, reshoring, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, telepresence, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

Companies’ ability to go offshore via diversified global supply chains is no longer confined to physical goods. In the short term it is not artificial intelligence the West should worry about. It is what Baldwin calls remote intelligence. In some respects it has already arrived. Over the last twenty years, India and the Philippines reaped the rewards of the telecoms revolution to create lower-skilled service sector jobs at call centres, and on technology helpdesks. Those jobs are now under threat. As the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen says, ‘Software is eating the world’. How many times have you talked to a computer recently, rather than someone with an Indian accent? A lot more than a few years ago, I would guess. Automated voice software is supplanting humans. India is thus being forced to upgrade. Its next generation of offshore jobs will be devoted to far more complex tasks, such as providing medical diagnoses, writing legal briefs, remotely supervising factories and plants, and doing consumer data analysis.

So too are rapid leaps in language-translation software (India should beware: China’s relative lack of English will no longer be such a disadvantage). In the West we spend half our time fretting about low-skilled immigrants. We should be worrying at least as much about high-skilled offshoring. Some types of medical surgeon and architect will be as vulnerable to remote intelligence as plant engineers or call-centre operators. Ironically, some of the lowest-paid jobs – in barbershops and nail salons – will be among the safest. No matter how dexterous your virtual service provider, it is hard to imagine how she could cut your hair. In the near future, technology will shift many more lucrative Western service jobs to the developing world. Beyond that, artificial intelligence threatens to eat the whole world’s lunch.

pages: 385 words: 111,113

Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deskilling, different worldview, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, distributed ledger, double helix, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fellow of the Royal Society, fiat currency, financial exclusion, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Leonard Kleinrock, lifelogging, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, mobile money, money market fund, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Turing test, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, WikiLeaks

Interactions like booking an airline ticket or changing a hotel reservation, resolving a problem with your bank, booking your car for a service or finding out the results of a paternity test could all be adequately handled by machine intelligences in the very near term. In many instances, they already are. A human won’t effectively differentiate the experience enough to justify the cost of a human-based call centre representative. In fact, my guess is that it won’t be long before you’ll have to agree to a charge if you want to speak to a “real” human. Many airlines and hotels already levy a phone service charge if you call instead of change a booking online. It’s pretty clear that human concierge services will become a premium level service only for the most valuable customer relationships in the future.

To practise her trade, Maria, and many like her, has to leave her home country and family to seek work in foreign countries. If she is lucky and can get an H1 Visa to work in the United States, she will probably need to leave her husband and children behind. Amazingly, the right robots might enable her to have the best of both worlds… What if Maria could stay in Manila and still work with patients in the United States? Imagine Maria in a call centre or even working from home. She is at her computer monitoring ten robot companions in an assisted care facility in Los Angeles. Each patient has a personal dedicated companion robot sitting by his or her bedside, running standard artificial general intelligence (AGI) software in a semi-autonomous mode. In this mode, the personal robot will be able to carry on conversations, answer basic questions and help the patient get assistance or entertainment.

Figure 4.12: TU Delft’s Ambulance Drone delivering a defibrillator (Credit: TU systems) Companies like Hanson are developing robots that can mimic anyone by scanning your face and getting a 3D print of your face produced. If you want your face on the carebot, this will be possible by 2017. At any time, be it in response to the sensors input, a patient request or emergency, or just daily health checks, a nurse or doctor can remote presence in and begin communicating through voice and video with the patient in an extremely efficient manner. Trained nurses or emergency response operators in a call centre could “remote in” immediately and begin assessing the situation of the patient more accurately than they do over the phone today asking questions as paramedics are dispatched. Some claim the elderly do not want to interact with robots, but the number of videos on YouTube that show older people happy with their carebots is increasing exponentially. Another criticism is that robots are incapable of “caring” for people, that because carebots are not human, robots are poorly suited to the task.

The Rough Guide to Chile by Melissa Graham, Andrew Benson

Atahualpa, California gold rush, call centre, centre right, cuban missile crisis, feminist movement, Francisco Pizarro, Murano, Venice glass, sensible shoes, sustainable-tourism, trade route, union organizing, women in the workforce

February is the main holiday month in Chile, when there’s an exodus from the big cities to the beaches or the Lake District, leaving some shops and restaurants closed. February is also an easy time to get around in Santiago, as the city appears half-abandoned. Phones Using phonecards is a very practical way to phone abroad, and it’s worth stocking up on them in major cities, as you can’t always buy them in small towns and villages. Alternatively there are dozens of call centres or centros de llamadas in most cities, and some of them Major holidays | Travel Essentials offer cheap rates. Another convenient option is to take along an international calling card. Generally billed to your home phone account or credit card, these are very handy and easy to use, but are usually two or three times more expensive than buying a Chilean phonecard or using a centro de llamadas.

Hospital Van Buren, Colón and San Ignacio T32/225 4074. Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano Esmeralda 1069. Free films and cultural guides. Internet Centro de Llamadas, Pedro Montt 2368 (CH$600 per hr); Internet Cerro Alegre, Urriola 678, Cerro Alegre (CH$400 per hr). Post office Prat 856. Telephone offices Entel, Pedro Montt 1940 and Condell 149, opposite the Municipalidad; Telefónica, Plaza Victoria and Sotomayor 55. Also cheap call centres around the bus station. The coastal resorts south of Valparaíso are among the busiest and most developed in the Litoral Central. A trail of seaside towns, full of busy hotels, cabañas and marisquerías, are linked by numerous micros and colectivos. Most sit on long, overcrowded beaches – in the summer, that is; in the winter they are forlorn and abandoned, often lost in marine fog. The majority of the main resorts, such as sprawling Algarrobo, El Tabo and Cartagena, are overrun with ugly apartment blocks and jam-packed with noisy vacationers.

You can pick up a town map at the Oficina de Turismo (supposedly open Mon–Sat 10am–5pm; T 67/411123) on main street O’Higgins, at the corner of Lautaro. Upstairs, a small museum (same hours) shows off a few Tehuelche artefacts and fossils of giant molluscs and other marine animals, reminders that thousands of years ago this area was covered by the sea. Practicalities | Across Lago General Carrera to Chile Chico Small supermarkets, internet cafés and call centres are found along O’Higgins. There is a single ATM at Banco Estado at O’Higgins and Baquedano; it only accepts MasterCard. Accommodation includes the friendly Hotel Plaza on the corner of O’Higgins and Balmaceda, with clean, basic rooms (T 67/411215; 3 ) and the Belgian-Chilean Hostería de la Patagonia at Chacra 3-A (T 67/411337; 4 ), a charming house with comfortable en-suite rooms, good home-cooked food, and outdoor excursions on offer, tucked away in a large garden on the eastern edge of town.

pages: 217 words: 63,287

The Participation Revolution: How to Ride the Waves of Change in a Terrifyingly Turbulent World by Neil Gibb

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, gig economy, iterative process, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kodak vs Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Network effects, new economy, performance metric, ride hailing / ride sharing, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route, urban renewal

Like Brin and Page, what drove Koum wasn’t the desire to create an app, to become a billionaire, or a love of tech, although these might all have been in the mix. What drove him was that his social mission was something meaningful that mattered to him a lot. It was authentic. It was, as Carlo said of Homeboy, real. Koum connected with it at a very deep and emotional level. Koum’s stand became WhatsApp’s brand. People knew they could rely on it. They knew they wouldn’t get a call in the night from a call centre in India pretending to be offering a Windows upgrade, or from the secret police. In an era of escalating disruption and ever-increasing change, if you hang on to what you do you get left behind. Why, though, creates a context in which innovation can occur. The bigger the why, the more meaningful and real it is for those involved – the bigger the impact. On 19 February 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, the largest sum ever paid for what was essentially still a start-up.

Even though she is disgruntled with it and a far better alternative seems to be available, she can’t bring herself to switch. You can see the lawyer in her battle with that. If you look at Jay as a customer, her behaviour doesn’t make sense. We live in incredibly impatient and intolerant times. Consumers’ expectations have gone through the roof while their tolerance levels have tanked. Ask anyone who works in a call centre what it is like to deal with customers and you will hear some pretty grim tales. Trust and loyalty have hit an all-time low. Bright, savvy customers like Jay know how to get a good deal. If she were thinking and acting like a normal customer, Apple would be toast. But she isn’t. Jay’s behaviour mirrors that of the Manchester United supporters on the terraces at Old Trafford. Jay isn’t an Apple customer, she is an Apple fan – which means she has a totally different relationship with the brand.

Lonely Planet Chile & Easter Island (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet, Carolyn McCarthy, Kevin Raub

California gold rush, call centre, carbon footprint, centre right, Colonization of Mars, East Village, haute cuisine, Kickstarter, land reform, low cost airline, mass immigration, New Urbanism, off grid, place-making, QR code, Skype, sustainable-tourism, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, white picket fence

Currency exchange, and has two ATMs that accept Visa and MasterCard. Also has an ATM at the airport (in the departure area). Farmacia Cruz Verde (Av Atamu Tekena; 9am-7:30pm Mon-Sat) Large and well-stocked pharmacy. Hospital Hanga Roa ( 210-0215; Av Simon Paoa s/n) Mana@net (Av Atamu Tekena s/n; per hr CH$1200; 9am-10pm) Internet cafe and call centre. Omotohi Cybercafé (Av Te Pito o Te Henua s/n; per hr CH$1000; 9am-10pm) Internet and wi-fi access, and call centre. Police ( 133) Post office (Av Te Pito o Te Henua s/n; 9am-1pm & 2.30-6pm Mon-Fri, 9am-12:30pm Sat) Puna Vai (Av Hotu Matua; 8:30am-1pm & 3-8pm Mon-Sat, 9am-1pm Sun) This petrol station also doubles as an exchange office. Much more convenient than the bank (no queues, better rates, longer opening hours, no commission on traveler’s cheques).

Note that exchange rates on Easter Island are lower than those offered in mainland Chile. Taxes All prices given in this chapter are inclusive of tax. Tipping & Bargaining Tipping and bargaining are not traditionally part of Polynesian culture. Telephone Easter Island’s international telephone code is the same as Chile’s ( 56), and the area code ( 32) covers the whole island. International calls (dial 00) start at around US$0.50 per minute. You’ll find several private call centres in town. Entel offers GSM cell-phone service, and prepaid SIM cards are available for purchase. TRANSPORTATION Getting There & Away Air The only airline serving Easter Island is LAN ( 210-0920;; Av Atamu Tekena s/n; 9am-4.30pm Mon-Fri, to 12.30pm Sat). It has daily flights to/from Santiago, one weekly flight to/from Pape’ete (Tahiti) and twice weekly flights to/from Lima (Peru).

Filling lentil-and-bulgur-style set lunches are served at the back, while a cafe upfront does sandwiches and cakes, all to the tune of wind-chime and whale music. Santos Pecadores COCKTAIL BAR (; Av Vicente Méndez 275; 8:30pm-late Tue-Sat; ) Chillanejos with plenty of dash and cash pour into this chichi red-walled bar northeast of the city center for sushi, ceviche and lots and lots of cocktails. DJs keep things going till late at weekends. Information Look for internet cafes, call centers, laundromats and other travelers’ services along pedestrianized Arauco. BancoEstado ( 455-291; Constitución 500; 9am-2pm Mon-Fri) One of many ATMs on this street. Hospital Herminda Martín ( 208-221; Francisco Ramírez 10) Public hospital on the corner of Av Argentina. Post office ( 800-267-736; Av Libertad 501; 8:30am-6:30pm Mon-Fri, 9am-12:45pm Sat) Sernatur ( 223-272;; 18 de Septiembre 455; 8:30am-1:30pm & 3-6pm Mon-Fri) Friendly staff provide city maps and information on accommodations and transport.

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Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd

call centre, David Attenborough, haute couture, Piper Alpha

They would be removed from their fridges a second time for full post-mortem and for the retention of blood samples. Identification was, and is, the first priority for the pathologists in any mass disaster – there were many worried relatives, desperate for reliable information. The number of a call centre had been given out through the media for friends and relatives to phone, but it had no queuing system so callers found it to be constantly engaged. One can only wonder at the anger and frustration that caused. But the lesson was learned and call centres were organized and designed differently after that. There were thirty-five deaths but over the ensuing day the call centre took 8,000 calls, and there were many more to hospitals and even mortuaries. If injuries were slight the police gave information over the phone. Bad news was delivered personally by officers. It would have been all too easy, without proper care, to tell a woman her husband was dead when he wasn’t, or vice versa.

Decoding Organization: Bletchley Park, Codebreaking and Organization Studies by Christopher Grey

call centre, computer age, glass ceiling, index card, iterative process, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, old-boy network

In many senses BP is a unique case, as, m a k i n g o r g a n i z a t i o n 261 indeed, must ultimately be true of any case study. However, it is possible to see many resonances, at least, between BP and other organizations, including those of the present day. For example, the management of the Typex room, described in Chapter 5, with its intensive monitoring of individual output levels does not seem very far removed from current systems for managing call centres (Bain et al., 2002). Again, the enclosed, secretive community of BP might bear some comparison with the self-contained ‘Googleplex’ campus of the Google corporation (Stiernstedt and Jakobsson, 2009). Another instance would be the parallels between the ‘instinctive’ ability of an intelligence analyst or cryptanalyst to spot tiny hints – as discussed in Chapter 6 – and Weick and Roberts’ (1993) observation of the way that flight crews need to be alert to small things which might have large consequences.

This experiment is in large part a matter of the adoption of a certain style of analysis, as indicated earlier, especially in terms of the manner of the use of organization theory. It is also a matter of methodology, in that it uses a historical case and, finally, of extending the normal range of the kinds of organizations considered by organization studies. This range is normally quite limited, with banks, consultancy firms, airlines, manufacturing companies, call centres and so on featuring prominently and repetitively (Rehn, 2008). Breaking with this established repertoire may also be a way of reviving organization studies. Of course, some may feel that this is an entirely misplaced exercise, that organization studies is proceeding perfectly well and is in no need of any such reviving. On such a view, the experiment will necessarily be a failure, and an ill-conceived one at that.

London: Bantam, pp. 1–14. Appleby, J., Hunt, L. and Jacob, M. 1995. Telling the Truth about History. New York: W. W. Norton and Company. Bakken, T. and Hernes, T. 2006. ‘Organization is both a noun and a verb: Weick meets Whitehead’, Organization Studies 27: 1599–616. Bain, P., Watson, A., Mulvey, G., Taylor, P. and Gall, G. 2002. ‘Taylorism, targets and the pursuit of quantity and quality by call centre management’, New Technology, Work and Employment 17: 170–85 Barley, S. 2010. ‘Building an institutional field to corral a government: A case to set an agenda for organization studies’, Organization Studies 31: 777–805 Barley, S. and Kunda, G. 2001. ‘Bringing work back in’, Organization Science 12: 76–95 Batey, M. 2010. Dilly. The Man Who Broke Enigmas. London: Biteback Publishing. Battles, M. 2004.

pages: 204 words: 66,619

Think Like an Engineer: Use Systematic Thinking to Solve Everyday Challenges & Unlock the Inherent Values in Them by Mushtak Al-Atabi

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Black Swan, business climate, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cognitive bias, corporate social responsibility, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, follow your passion, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, invention of the wheel, iterative process, James Dyson, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, Lean Startup, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, remote working, shareholder value, six sigma, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker

The market is segmented and a different value is delivered to each segment. 11.3.2 Channels In order to engage the customers and deliver the created value to them, appropriate channels must be created and kept open. Through these channels a business can create awareness and market its products and services, sell and deliver these products and services, as well as provide after-sales services. Channels will include stores, websites and call centres. Taking a car company for example, the value is delivered to the customer through various marketing activities, making the cars available for a test drive, selling the car, and eventually providing after-sales services and scheduled maintenance. To achieve this, the car manufacturer may use different media as awareness channels - car showrooms for exhibiting the cars and arranging for test drives, and service centres for the maintenance of the cars sold. 11.3.3 Revenue and Cost Money is the lifeline of any entrepreneurial undertaking.

People involved in creating and delivering the value need to be qualified, trained, well compensated and motivated to do their best and ensure that the intended value is consistently created and delivered. Method Methods and processes represent the recipe used to create and deliver the value. They refer to the way a patient is examined at a hospital, a haircut is executed at a saloon, a phone call is handled at a call centre, a car is assembled at a factory, a washing machine is repaired at a workshop, and an exam paper corrected at a school. These methods should be well documented, clear, efficient, effective and consistent. A good method should have no bottleneck and should also be free of non-value-adding steps. These methods can be documented using flowcharts and SOPs (Standard Operation Procedures). Flow Chart for a Process Machine The tools of the trade are a very important part of creating and delivering the promised value.

pages: 252 words: 74,167

Thinking Machines: The Inside Story of Artificial Intelligence and Our Race to Build the Future by Luke Dormehl

Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, borderless world, call centre, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, drone strike, Elon Musk, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, global village, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet of things, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Such changes can have a major impact on how we communicate with and respond to AI assistants, both in terms of our levels of comfort (and thereby how often we use them) and our efficiency while doing so. People are regularly attracted to those who are similar to themselves. As an illustration of how this could prove useful, Chicago’s Mattersight Corporation has created technology that analyses the speech patterns of people phoning up call centres. It then uses this information to put callers through to employees who are skilled at dealing with their specific personality type. According to Mattersight, a person patched through to an individual with whom they share similarity attraction is likely to have an average call length of five minutes, with a successful resolution rate of 92 per cent. A caller paired with a conflicting personality, on the other hand, will have an average call length of ten minutes and a problem resolution rate of just 47 per cent.

To find a specific word or phrase from the index, please use the search feature of your ebook reader. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 2, 228, 242–4 2045 Initiative 217 accountability issues 240–4, 246–8 Active Citizen 120–2 Adams, Douglas 249 Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) 19–20, 33 Affectiva 131 Age of Industry 6 Age of Information 6 agriculture 150–1, 183 AI Winters 27, 33 airlines, driverless 144 algebra 20 algorithms 16–17, 59, 67, 85, 87, 88, 145, 158–9, 168, 173, 175–6, 183–4, 186, 215, 226, 232, 236 evolutionary 182–3, 186–8 facial recognition 10–11, 61–3 genetic 184, 232, 237, 257 see also back-propagation AliveCor 87 AlphaGo (AI Go player) 255 Amazon 153, 154, 198, 236 Amy (AI assistant) 116 ANALOGY program 20 Analytical Engine 185 Android 59, 114, 125 animation 168–9 Antabi, Bandar 77–9 antennae 182, 183–5 Apple 6, 35, 56, 65, 90–1, 108, 110–11, 113–14, 118–19, 126–8, 131–2, 148–9, 158, 181, 236, 238–9, 242 Apple iPhone 108, 113, 181 Apple Music 158–9 Apple Watch 66, 199 architecture 186 Artificial Artificial Intelligence (AAI) 153, 157 Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) 226, 230–4, 239–40, 254 Artificial Intelligence (AI) 2 authentic 31 development problems 23–9, 32–3 Good Old-Fashioned (Symbolic) 22, 27, 29, 34, 36, 37, 39, 45, 49–52, 54, 60, 225 history of 5–34 Logical Artificial Intelligence 246–7 naming of 19 Narrow/Weak 225–6, 231 new 35–63 strong 232 artificial stupidity 234–7 ‘artisan economy’ 159–61 Asimov, Isaac 227, 245, 248 Athlone Industries 242 Atteberry, Kevan J. 112 Automated Land Vehicle in a Neural Network (ALVINN) 54–5 automation 141, 144–5, 150, 159 avatars 117, 193–4, 196–7, 201–2 Babbage, Charles 185 back-propagation 50–3, 57, 63 Bainbridge, William Sims 200–1, 202, 207 banking 88 BeClose smart sensor system 86 Bell Communications 201 big business 31, 94–6 biometrics 77–82, 199 black boxes 237–40 Bletchley Park 14–15, 227 BMW 128 body, machine analogy 15 Bostrom, Nick 235, 237–8 BP 94–95 brain 22, 38, 207–16, 219 Brain Preservation Foundation 219 Brain Research Through Advanced Innovative Neurotechnologies 215–16 brain-like algorithms 226 brain-machine interfaces 211–12 Breakout (video game) 35, 36 Brin, Sergey 6–7, 34, 220, 231 Bringsjord, Selmer 246–7 Caenorhabditis elegans 209–10, 233 calculus 20 call centres 127 Campbell, Joseph 25–6 ‘capitalisation effect’ 151 cars, self-driving 53–56, 90, 143, 149–50, 247–8 catering 62, 189–92 chatterbots 102–8, 129 Chef Watson 189–92 chemistry 30 chess 1, 26, 28, 35, 137, 138–9, 152–3, 177, 225 Cheyer, Adam 109–10 ‘Chinese Room, the’ 24–6 cities 89–91, 96 ‘clever programming’ 31 Clippy (AI assistant) 111–12 clocks, self-regulating 71–2 cognicity 68–9 Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organises (CALO) 112 cognitive psychology 12–13 Componium 174, 176 computer logic 8, 10–11 Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) 96–7 Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) 168, 175, 177 computers, history of 12–17 connectionists 53–6 connectomes 209–10 consciousness 220–1, 232–3, 249–51 contact lenses, smart 92 Cook, Diane 84–6 Cook, Tim 91, 179–80 Cortana (AI assistant) 114, 118–19 creativity 163–92, 228 crime 96–7 curiosity 186 Cyber-Human Systems 200 cybernetics 71–4 Dartmouth conference 1956 17–18, 19, 253 data 56–7, 199 ownership 156–7 unlabelled 57 death 193–8, 200–1, 206 Deep Blue 137, 138–9, 177 Deep Knowledge Ventures 145 Deep Learning 11–12, 56–63, 96–7, 164, 225 Deep QA 138 DeepMind 35–7, 223, 224, 245–6, 255 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) 33, 112 Defense Department 19, 27–8 DENDRAL (expert system) 29–31 Descartes, René 249–50 Dextro 61 DiGiorgio, Rocco 234–5 Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) 31 Digital Reasoning 208–9 ‘Digital Sweatshops’ 154 Dipmeter Advisor (expert system) 31 ‘do engines’ 110, 116 Dungeons and Dragons Online (video game) 197 e-discovery firms 145 eDemocracy 120–1 education 160–2 elderly people 84–6, 88, 130–1, 160 electricity 68–9 Electronic Numeric Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC) 12, 13, 92 ELIZA programme 129–30 Elmer and Elsie (robots) 74–5 email filters 88 employment 139–50, 150–62, 163, 225, 238–9, 255 eNeighbor 86 engineering 182, 183–5 Enigma machine 14–15 193–7 ethical issues 244–8 Etsy 161 Eurequa 186 Eve (robot scientist) 187–8 event-driven programming 79–81 executives 145 expert systems 29–33, 47–8, 197–8, 238 Facebook 7, 61–2, 63, 107, 153, 156, 238, 254–5 facial recognition 10–11, 61–3, 131 Federov, Nikolai Fedorovich 204–5 feedback systems 71–4 financial markets 53, 224, 236–7 Fitbit 94–95 Flickr 57 Floridi, Luciano 104–5 food industry 141 Ford 6, 230 Foxbots 149 Foxconn 148–9 fraud detection 88 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) 211 Furbies 123–5 games theory 100 Gates, Bill 32, 231 generalisation 226 genetic algorithms 184, 232, 237, 257 geometry 20 glial cells 213 Go (game) 255 Good, Irving John 227–8 Google 6–7, 34, 58–60, 67, 90–2, 118, 126, 131, 155–7, 182, 213, 238–9 ‘Big Dog’ 255–6 and DeepMind 35, 245–6, 255 PageRank algorithm 220 Platonic objects 164, 165 Project Wing initiative 144 and self-driving cars 56, 90, 143 Google Books 180–1 Google Brain 61, 63 Google Deep Dream 163–6, 167–8, 184, 186, 257 Google Now 114–16, 125, 132 Google Photos 164 Google Translate 11 Google X (lab) 61 Government Code and Cypher School 14 Grain Marketing Adviser (expert system) 31 Grímsson, Gunnar 120–2 Grothaus, Michael 69, 93 guilds 146 Halo (video game) 114 handwriting recognition 7–8 Hank (AI assistant) 111 Hawking, Stephen 224 Hayworth, Ken 217–21 health-tracking technology 87–8, 92–5 Healthsense 86 Her (film, 2013) 122 Herd, Andy 256–7 Herron, Ron 89–90 High, Rob 190–1 Hinton, Geoff 48–9, 53, 56, 57–61, 63, 233–4 hive minds 207 holograms 217 HomeChat app 132 homes, smart 81–8, 132 Hopfield, John 46–7, 201 Hopfield Nets 46–8 Human Brain Project 215–16 Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) 153, 154 hypotheses 187–8 IBM 7–11, 136–8, 162, 177, 189–92 ‘IF THEN’ rules 29–31 ‘If-This-Then-That’ rules 79–81 image generation 163–6, 167–8 image recognition 164 imagination 178 immortality 204–7, 217, 220–1 virtual 193–8, 201–4 inferences 97 Infinium Robotics 141 information processing 208 ‘information theory’ 16 Instagram 238 insurance 94–5 Intellicorp 33 intelligence 208 ambient 74 ‘intelligence explosion’ 228 top-down view 22, 25, 246 see also Artificial Intelligence internal combustion engine 140–1, 150–1 Internet 10, 56 disappearance 91 ‘Internet of Things’ 69, 70, 83, 249, 254 invention 174, 178, 179, 182–5, 187–9 Jawbone 78–9, 92–3, 254 Jennings, Ken 133–6, 138–9, 162, 189 Jeopardy!

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Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work by Alex Rosenblat

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, big-box store, call centre, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Donald Trump,, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Chrome, income inequality, information asymmetry, Jaron Lanier, job automation, job satisfaction, Lyft, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, performance metric, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, Ralph Waldo Emerson, regulatory arbitrage, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social software, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, TaskRabbit, Tim Cook: Apple, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, urban planning, Wolfgang Streeck, Zipcar

A more experienced driver probably would not have followed that prompt, because doing so would accumulate a lot of unpaid “deadhead” miles—the expense of driving without a passenger—with a slim chance of a ride request. I meet Tanisha, a woman in her twenties, on a bright day in Dallas, Texas, as I make my way over to nearby Fort Worth. She left her job at a call center in Dallas to work for Lyft and Uber in order to get away from the stifling, heavily managed environment of call center work.33 She was motivated by Uber’s siren call to be her own boss. “It is good extra money on the side. Part-time-wise, the most I made was two hundred dollars in one week. . . . At that time, I was doing at least four to five hours for three or four days,” she offers. When I spoke with her, she was starting to experiment with full-time driving, wanting a flexible schedule and more freedom on the job.

Pugh also discusses the conjoined themes of family and workplace commitment and notes the separation of them for some and the pairing of them for others. Andrew Cherlin discusses marital churn in American society by situating it in the context of a growing dichotomy between individualism and neoliberal autonomy, and marriage as a formal, long-standing commitment, in The Marriage-Go-Round (New York: Vintage, 2010). 4. Kirstie S. Ball and Stephen T. Margulis, “Electronic Monitoring and Surveillance in Call Centres: A Framework for Investigation,” New Technology, Work and Employment 26, no. 2 (2011): 113–126,–005X.2011.00263.x/abstract. 5. Global News Staff, “Uber Can Now Legally Operate in Quebec,” Global News, October 22, 2016, 6. Carmel DeAmicis, “HomeJoy Shuts Down after Battling Worker Classification Lawsuits,” ReCode, July 17, 2015, 7.

For example, drivers’ primary (and often exclusive) point of communication with Uber is by email, although toward the end of 2017, drivers gained in-person driver hubs (physical locations where drivers can receive in-person support) and a telephone number to call in some cities. Drivers don’t have a dedicated human manager who responds to their inquiries. Instead, they have community support representatives (CSRs), located at the email equivalent of a call center, often located abroad, such as in the Philippines,8 and managed by third-party companies, like Zendesk.9 Effectively, Uber offshores and automates its main communications with drivers. Drivers receive automated replies to most of their inquiries, which often appear to be based on keywords in the text of their emails. In other words, Uber is managing drivers without a human that understands and is responsive to nuances.

pages: 290 words: 87,084

Branded Beauty by Mark Tungate

augmented reality, Berlin Wall, call centre, corporate social responsibility, double helix, East Village, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, haute couture, invention of the printing press, joint-stock company, liberal capitalism, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, stem cell

Seabra was an early adopter of ‘sustainable’ practices, taking care to ensure that none of the company’s suppliers used child labour and investing a percentage of profits in social projects. Refillable packaging was launched as early as 1983. Sales staff are paid an average of 16 times higher than minimum wage, are given shares in the company and receive regular training in the latest skincare advances. Natura remains responsive to consumers, with a call centre to deal with enquiries from consultants and customers. Seabra has not been afraid to rely on his instincts: he launched a line of products for infants (Mamãe e Bebê, or Mother and Baby) against the advice of his researchers. Like Shiseido, he believes cosmetics are vital for boosting well-being and self-esteem. Natura refers to this as bem estar bem (well being well). It also steers clear of exaggerated claims, saying that it aims to prevent signs of ageing rather than promising rejuvenation.

(It stands for ‘Just a kiss’. Arnaud explains, ‘When you meet someone you like, if your strategy is good enough, the validation comes with a kiss. After that, anything can happen.’) This attracted an impressive list of clients, ranging from Louis Vuitton and Vogue to L’Oréal and Christian Dior Cosmetics. They both know branding backwards. Isabelle worked for a string of well-known agencies. Arnaud ran a call centre before running off to New York to play electronic music and set up an agency called Reflex. Then he came back to Paris to work for another agency, before meeting Isabelle at a dinner. They call Jak ‘a strategy, design, creation and curiosity agency’. The seed of Absolution lies in the word ‘creation’. Isabelle believes that an agency should create not just advertising, but products too. (This is by no means unheard of: the cult jeans brand Acne was launched by a communications agency.)

pages: 266 words: 87,411

The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed by Carl Honore

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Broken windows theory, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, clean water, clockwatching, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, drone strike, Enrique Peñalosa, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Exxon Valdez, fundamental attribution error, game design, income inequality, index card, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, lateral thinking, lone genius, medical malpractice, microcredit, Netflix Prize, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty

These days, so many companies trumpet “new and improved” products that the net effect is a whirlwind of white noise that leaves consumers cold. The very act of owning up to its mistakes allowed Domino’s to cut through the din and reboot its relationship with customers. PR experts agree that the best way for a company to handle a mistake is to apologize and explain what it will do to put things right. This accords with my own experience. The other day a payment into my bank account went astray. After 20 minutes of evasion from the call centre, my voice began to rise as my blood reached boiling point. And then a manager came on the line and said: “Mr Honoré, I’m very sorry. We made a mistake with this payment.” As she explained how the money would be retrieved, my fury drained away and we ended up bantering about the weather and our summer holidays. Public apologies can have a similarly soothing effect. When a customer filmed a FedEx driver tossing a package containing a computer monitor over a six-foot fence in the run-up to Christmas 2011, the video went viral and threatened to annihilate sales during the busiest time of year.

When asked on retirement what advice he would give to budding entrepreneurs, Conrad Hilton, founder of the eponymous hotel chain, told them to sweat the small stuff with a memorable one-liner: “Don’t forget to tuck the shower curtain in the bath.” When Sir Richard Branson visits any of the 300 businesses in his Virgin empire, he makes a note of every small failing that catches his eye, from a dirty carpet in an airplane cabin to an employee using the wrong tone of voice in a call centre. “[The] only difference between merely satisfactory delivery and great delivery is attention to detail,” he wrote recently. “Delivery is not just limited to the company’s first day: employees across the business should be focusing on getting it right all day, every day.” Even the hell-raising hard rockers of Van Halen understood that. Back in their heyday in the 1980s the band inserted in the contract sent to every concert venue a rider that became the butt of a million jokes.

pages: 252 words: 80,924

Sarah Millican--The Queen of Comedy by Tina Campanella

call centre, Desert Island Discs, Saturday Night Live, side project, Skype, upwardly mobile

So after her A levels, Sarah did a course in film and television production as a way of keeping up her creative interests – but with no thought of putting herself in front of the camera. She tried to get into television production in nearby Newcastle, but there were few jobs, so she was unsuccessful. Then followed a stream of unfulfilling roles in jobs that couldn’t even begin to challenge the clever comic-to-be. She worked in a call centre, and then as a producer for audio books. She is still amused by the title of one Mills and Boon book she recorded in the course of her work: Once Upon A Mattress. ‘It seemed to happen that we always read sex scenes on a Sunday morning,’ she has explained. ‘Which seemed so wrong in so many ways.’ When she turned 18, Sarah found work in a local cinema, with people she had never met before. It was a fresh start for the once shy girl, who suddenly found herself popular.

She embarked on her new comedy career with no room in her mind for failure. She worked day and night until she achieved critical acclaim, and she has approached each milestone since with the same work ethic. For Sarah, every award and every positive review was never enough. It simply spurred her on to do bigger and better things. And if it all ended – this magnificent, glittering career she has made for herself? ‘I’m very good in a call centre, so if this all goes to pot I’ll just try and get back into that,’ she says. ‘With this soft Geordie accent I could probably get a job in the complaints department. I’m pretty good at calming people down.’ Even then it was doubtful you’d ever hear Sarah’s voice on the line again, and things were only going to get better for her, personally and professionally, in 2013. CHAPTER 27 The Best Is Yet to Come… ‘I used to laugh really quietly, but I’ve grown in confidence.

pages: 223 words: 10,010

The Cost of Inequality: Why Economic Equality Is Essential for Recovery by Stewart Lansley

"Robert Solow", banking crisis, Basel III, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, business process, call centre, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mittelstand, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working-age population

The scale of what has been called the ‘hollowing out of the middle’ is shown in figure 3.4 which charts the change in employment by 1999 in jobs ranked by their position in the 1979 wage distribution. This shows a growth in the number of jobs at the top tail of the distribution—business executives, senior managers, consultants, data processors, software engineers; a smaller rise in the number of low paid jobs in the lower tail—cleaners, hairdressers, shop assistants and call centre workers; and sharp falls in the number of jobs paying middle wages in 1979—machine setters, foundry labourers, plant and rail signal operatives and a range of routine clerical jobs that have become automated.112 In the immediate post-war decades—across mature economies—there used to be more of a continuum in jobs, wages and opportunities with more intermediate, middleskill, middle-paying work that filled the gap between semi-and unskilled blue-collar and higher paying professional jobs.

Many of them seem to be a million miles away from the real business.’182 Chief Executives found themselves under increasing pressure to sign up to the new ‘slash and burn’ policies being encouraged by management consultants and investment bank advisers. Having tasted the towering rewards that followed from the introduction of stock options in the booming share market of the 1990s, most executives were only too happy to fall into line. Matthew Barratt, who became chief executive of Barclays Bank in early 2000, announced the wholesale closure of high street branches and the transfer of former face-to-face customer services to call centres. While this was deeply unpopular with staff and customers, its potential to cut costs and improve profit margins ‘went down a storm’ in the City.183 The other retail banks soon joined in the aggressive pursuit of shareholder value, shedding staff in an ongoing cost-cutting drive. The number of bank branches halved in the 20 years to 2009. The UK now has 197 bank and building society branches per million inhabitants compared with 500 in Germany and over 1000 in Spain.184 Rapid growth in the banking sector coincided with a shrinking of staff.

pages: 504 words: 143,303

Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, anti-globalists, asset-backed security, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich,, Etonian, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, income inequality, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, job automation, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, land value tax, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, predatory finance, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, working poor, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

As a youngster growing up at the time when some of the British Empire had yet to be dismantled, I remember a popular racist myth that people were poor in certain countries because they were lazy or unintelligent, while the British were enterprising and industrious, and hence richer. This of course is nonsense. If you think of virtually any occupation that is found in a wide range of countries – teacher, labourer, engineer, doctor, retailer, call centre operator – in most cases their pay is higher in rich countries than in middling or poor countries, though this has nothing to do with how hard they work or how intelligent they are. Again, rich countries have a higher level of technological development, and their workers tend to use more of this technology than do their counterparts in poorer countries, so things can be produced more easily, quickly and cheaply, even though wages and salaries are relatively high.

Inequalities between countries in the level of development of the commons, especially the forces of production, are the source of another mechanism favouring the strong over the weak: unequal exchange. When a rich country like the US trades with a poor one like Bangladesh, not just the rich, but everyone in the rich country benefits from getting cheap goods, provided by cheap labour. Most of Europe has benefitted from this unequal exchange for over two centuries, from cotton and cocoa to jeans, electronic goods and call centre services. For any given traded product, the workers in the poor country have to work much longer to be able to afford it than do their counterparts in rich countries. Even if they’re working in state-of-the-art factories producing tablet computers, as some Chinese suppliers of western firms are, their pay is still low. To be sure, this has a lot to do with the huge supply of labour and limited employment rights to protect workers, but it’s also because the overall level of development of productive forces in the economy as a whole is still relatively low.

When we think about how much money people should get, we are actually considering how big their claims on the labour of others should be, relative to those of others. In the modern global economy, though we rarely think of it, each of us relies on thousands of other workers to produce the goods and services we consume, be they garment workers in the Philippines, assemblers of electronic goods in China, banana growers in St Lucia or call centre workers in India – or, indeed, shop assistants, dentists, garage mechanics and bar staff in our local town. As we saw in Part Two, the inequalities at the international level derive mainly from inequalities in the level of development of ‘the forces of production’; workers in countries like India or Thailand get much less for supplying westerners with goods than western producers get from selling stuff to them, because they have had different economic histories, usually with colonial domination and unequal exchanges going back centuries.

pages: 524 words: 155,947

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

If the latter is excluded, manufacturing’s share of employment in the developing world is lower than it was in the 1980s.53 Manufacturing’s share of the economy peaked in South Korea in 1988 and in Indonesia in 2002.54 There is an inevitable trade-off between wage levels and employment in some of these sectors. As real wages rise, manufacturers either shift location to a country with lower costs, or automate the tasks done by workers. One day, those ladies in the heart of Malaysia will be replaced by a machine. The service sector too will be subject to automation, as call-centre workers are replaced by chatbots and analysts are replaced by artificial intelligence programmes that can conduct research both more quickly and more accurately. Over the next 30 years, we will have to invent a whole new set of tasks to keep us employed. But we have done it before: baristas, personal trainers and social media managers were all virtually unknown 30 years ago. — 8 — THE FIRST ERA OF GLOBALISATION: 1820–1914 In the 19th century, industrialisation spread well beyond Britain to many parts of Europe, North America and Japan.

Since then, German unemployment has been well below the European average, although that may be down to the country’s success in exporting capital goods to China and the emerging markets, rather than the reforms themselves.11 Attempts to make the labour market flexible led to a long argument about whether it was better to reduce unemployment, even if the only jobs available had lower wages and reduced rights. In the US, such jobs were found in the fast-food sector or in call centres. The problem was tied up with the general decline in manufacturing employment (see Chapter 7), which meant that most new jobs were created in the service sector. One significant component of economic growth in this period was the addition of women to the workforce. In 1948, just over 30% of American adult women worked, but by 2000, the proportion was 60%. (It has dropped back a little, along with male participation, since then.)

Over the following 20 years, growth averaged 7% a year, allowing the economy to increase almost fourfold in size. The roots of the Indian recovery had emerged in the 1980s when Infosys and Wipro, two technology companies, moved to Bangalore. The Bengal province proved attractive to international companies, thanks to a well-educated, English-speaking workforce. A swathe of operations were outsourced to Bangalore, including call centres, insurance processing, tax and audit preparation and IT maintenance.27 The Tata group was another symbol of India’s revival. It had been founded back in 1868 under British rule and opened a steel plant in Jamshedpur in 1912, becoming the largest steel plant in the empire by the Second World War. Since then it has become a very diversified conglomerate, turning the tables on the former colonial overlord by buying some of its biggest brands, including Tetley tea, Jaguar Land Rover, and, most symbolically, the largest part of the British steel industry (Corus).

pages: 369 words: 94,588

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

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, creative destruction, 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, Gunnar Myrdal, 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, Myron Scholes, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, 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

The uneven geographical development that results is as infinitely varied as it is volatile: a deindustrialised city in northern China; a shrinking city in what was once East Germany; the booming industrial cities in the Pearl River delta; an IT concentration in Bangalore; a Special Economic Zone in India where dispossessed peasants revolt; indigenous populations under pressure in Amazonia or New Guinea; the affluent neighbourhoods in Greenwich, Connecticut (until recently, at least, hedge fund capital of the world); the conflict-ridden oil fields in the Ogoni region of Nigeria; the autonomous zones carved out by a militant movement such as the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico; the vast soy bean production zones in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina; the rural regions of Darfur or the Congo where civil wars relentlessly rage; the staid middle-class suburbs of London, Los Angeles or Munich; the shanty towns of South Africa; the garment factories of Sri Lanka or the call centres of Barbados and Bangalore ‘manned’ entirely by women; the new megacities in the Gulf States with their star-architect-designed buildings – all of this (and of course much more) when taken together constitutes a world of geographical difference that has been made by human action. At first blush, this world would appear to be so geographically diverse as to escape principled understanding, let alone rationalised control.

That there are intertwinings and inter-relationships is obvious. The civil wars in Africa, in many ways sad legacies of European colonial practices, reflect the long history of corporate and state-led struggles to control Africa’s valued resources, with China these days an increasingly important player. The factory in northern China or Ohio closes down in part because the factories in the Pearl River delta open up. The call centre in Barbados or Bangalore services customers in Ohio and London and the shirts or skirts worn in Paris have labels from Sri Lanka or Bangladesh, just as the shoes that were once made in Italy now come from Vietnam. The Gulf States build spectacular buildings on the back of an oil trade that depends in part on the profligate use of energy to service a predominantly suburban lifestyle in the United States.

pages: 323 words: 95,492

The Rise of the Outsiders: How Mainstream Politics Lost Its Way by Steve Richards

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, call centre, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, David Brooks, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, full employment, housing crisis, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Neil Kinnock, obamacare, Occupy movement, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley

Once again a semi-consensus formed on the mainstream left and mainstream right around the need for less government, when the crash highlighted the need for more. Mainstream left-of-centre parties were caught in a different trap post-2008. If they tried to challenge the post-crash consensus that favoured deep spending cuts, they were deemed to be irresponsible and reckless, in proposing spending when borrowing was ‘out of control’. But whereas before 2008, and certainly in the early to mid-1990s, the consensus on the so-called centre ground had been a cosy and electorally fruitful terrain, this new consensus around support for spending cuts was as politically dangerous for the mainstream left as challenging it was. The new orthodoxy, known vaguely as ‘austerity’, appeared to victims of the crash in poorer areas as collusion – almost a conspiracy to continue supporting those who had been responsible for the crash, and punishing those who had not.

He became powerless. Mid-term elections of any sort tend to be authority-sapping for elected leaders. Merkel’s CDU party suffered severe setbacks in regional elections, triggering doubts about whether she would, or should, survive much longer. She continued to do so, but with less authority, forced to twist and turn even more than usual in an attempt to appease her right flank, as well as the so-called centre ground. At least Merkel had the fortune, or misfortune, to remain in power. In Australia recent prime ministers would ache for such longevity. Australia was recently served by five prime ministers in five years, a symptom and cause of instability in a tough political culture, where leaders were obliged to seem stronger than they were. All the ingredients appeared to be in place for an elected prime minister to rule mightily in Australia: twenty-three million people, a continent all to itself, with abundant natural resources, a constitutional monarchy, robust rule of law.

pages: 354 words: 93,882

How to Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson

Albert Einstein, Alexander Shulgin, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, call centre, David Attenborough, David Brooks, deskilling, financial independence, full employment, Gordon Gekko, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Lao Tzu, liberal capitalism, moral panic, New Urbanism, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, spinning jenny, Torches of Freedom, trade route, wage slave

They lack imagination, believe in hard work, exploitation and hypocrisy, and make perfect politicians, bureaucrats and fat cats. They want to make something happen, but they don ' t really care what it is. They impose their beliefs on others by force of law, coercion and newspapers, and justify their actions by saying that they have created jobs, or cut costs, or increased spending or made profits for their shareholders. ' Something must be done ! ' is their motto. And they do things, like building skyscrapers, call-centres, dams and motorways, but they also love to interfere with the plans of others - denying planning permission to increase the window size of an old barn by an inch, for example. What is worse is that the botherers, not content with doing things themselves, are constantly trying to force us poor idlers to do things as well. The baldest example of this can be seen in the recent history of the UK government ' s attempts to force the happily unemployed into meaningless and demeaning full-time employment

And, if you don ' t have grandparents around to help, blow as much money as you afford on childcare. We hired a nanny and the fun and help she brought to the household meant that we could easily put up with being skint. Q: You say you ' re an idler but you must have put a lot of work into this book. A: Well, I only worked for three or four hours a day on it. So it wasn ' t really like doing eight hours in a call centre. Also, I was working at home, so when you cut out the commuting hours, too, I calculate that I was doing six hours less work a day than the average job-worker. And as it was something I had chosen to do, a hobby, really, it did not feel like work. Of course, there were moments of despair, but by and large I felt lucky and privileged to be reading and writing about a subject I loved. Being a writer is a great job for an idler.

pages: 357 words: 95,986

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

3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, basic income, battle of ideas, blockchain, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, late capitalism, liberation theology, Live Aid, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, post scarcity, post-work, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, surplus humans, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

Some hold out the hope that an emerging service sector will absorb the surplus populations, yet this appears increasingly unlikely. Even in India, the centre of service and high-tech outsourcing, only a small portion of the labour force works in the information and communication technology sector.115 More importantly, the potential of service jobs is constrained by the newest wave of automation, which is likely to eliminate the low-skilled, low-wage service jobs that have traditionally been outsourced – clerical work, call-centre work or data entry, for example.116 As this non-routine cognitive labour is increasingly automated, what may occur is a premature shift away from a service-based economy – on top of premature deindustrialisation. What this means is that the maintenance of large portions of humanity within slums and informal, non-capitalist economies is likely to be consolidated by emerging technological trends.

The International Labour Organization currently estimates that 5.9 per cent of the working population (201 million people) are unemployed – but this relies on a very stringent definition of unemployment. ILO, World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2015 (Geneva: International Labour Organization, 2015), at, p. 16. If one works for an hour mowing a lawn, makes a few dollars selling homemade wares on a street, or has a doctorate and works in a call centre, the ILO counts this as employment. In other words, part-time workers, informal workers and underemployed workers all count as employed. The ILO definition of unemployment also improves when people drop out of the labour force: a smaller workforce means lower unemployment. A more meaningful measure is therefore the level of employment among the working-age population, according to which the ILO estimates that over 40 per cent of the world’s population is not employed.

Egypt by Matthew Firestone

call centre, clean water, credit crunch, friendly fire, haute cuisine, Khartoum Gordon, Right to Buy, spice trade, sustainable-tourism, Thales and the olive presses, trade route, urban sprawl, young professional

National Bank of Egypt Dahab City ( 9am-2.30pm & 6-8pm Sun-Thu); Swiss Inn Golden Beach Resort (resort strip; 9am-1pm) The Dahab City branch has an ATM. POST As well as the main post office, postboxes are also outside Ghazala Supermarket and next to Red Sea Relax Terrace Restaurant, both in Masbat. Main post office (Dahab City; 8.30am-2.30pm) TELEPHONE In addition to the Telephone centrale and cardphones, you will find numerous call centres along the beachfront in Assalah where you can dial internationally for a few pounds a minute. Phonecards are sold at the Ghazala Supermarket in Masbat and at most small shops. Call centre (Masbat; per min E£7; 10am-3pm & 6-9pm Sat-Thu, 3-9pm Fri) Telephone centrale (Dahab City; 24hr) Dangers & Annoyances Although Dahab is one of the most relaxed destinations in Egypt, be advised that there is the potential for a future terrorist attack. In April 2006, suicide bombers killed 23 people and injured dozens.

Post The main post office is just east of Midan Orabi, and several other branches are dotted around the city. DHL (Map; 485 1911; 9 Sharia Salah Salem; 9am-5pm Sat-Thu) Express Mail Service (EMS; 8.30am-3pm Sat-Thu) At all post offices. Main post office (Map; Sharia al-Bursa al-Qadima; 9am-9pm Sat-Thu) Telephone Menatel cardphones can be found all over the city, although the policy of placing them on street corners can make it hard to hear and be heard. Private call centres are everywhere, and are a much more convenient option. You can also buy an inexpensive cash line for your mobile; to work with a local SIM, your phone must be quad-band and unlocked. Telephone centrale (Map; Sharia Saad Zaghloul; 8.30am-10pm) Vodafone (Map; 68 Sharia Safiyya Zaghloul; 8.30am-10pm) Inside Radio Shack; sells cash (prepaid) SIM cards for E£20. Tourist Offices Mahattat Misr tourist office (Map; 392 5985; Platform 1, Misr Train Station; 8.30am-6pm) Main tourist office (Map; 485 1556; Midan Saad Zaghloul; 8.30am-6pm, reduced hours during Ramadan) Marginally useful.

Thomas Cook (Map; 360 1808; Gafy Mall, Sharm-Na’ama Bay rd, Na’ama Bay; 9am-2pm & 6-10pm) Just west of Sinai Star Hotel. Western Union (Map; 364 0466; Rosetta Hotel, Na’ama Bay; 8.30am-2pm & 6-10pm Sat-Thu, 3-10pm Fri) POST Main post office (Map; Bank St, Hadaba; 8.30am-2.30pm Sat-Thu) TELEPHONE There are several cardphones in Na’ama Bay and at least two on the beachfront promenade. Cards can be bought everywhere, but watch out for overcharging by shopkeepers. There are also several call centres where you can dial internationally for E£4 to E£7 per minute. Telephone centrale (Map; Bank St, Hadaba; 24hr). Dangers & Annoyances In July 2005, three terrorist bombs exploded in Sharm el-Sheikh, killing 88 people and injuring over 200. The worst damage was in the Sharm Old Market area and near Ghazala Gardens hotel in Na’ama Bay. In the wake of the bombings, the Egyptian government increased security at all Sharm el-Sheikh hotels and began building a fence around the town.

pages: 338 words: 100,477

Split-Second Persuasion: The Ancient Art and New Science of Changing Minds by Kevin Dutton

availability heuristic, Bernie Madoff, call centre, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, credit crunch, different worldview, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, equity premium, fundamental attribution error, haute couture, job satisfaction, loss aversion, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile

What image springs to mind when you hear the phrase ‘Operators are waiting, please call now’? Legions of bored telephonists staring into space? If so, then despite all the flashy, trashy merchandising your impression of the product is negative. It’s an impression of low demand and poor sales. Why the hell would you want to buy it if nobody else does? Now ask yourself this. What comes to mind when you hear the phrase ‘If operators are busy, please call again’? A buzzing call centre full of overstretched staff struggling to keep pace with demand? Now that’s more like it! If everyone else is getting in on the action – then you’re sure as hell not going to miss out! 18Exactly the same principle works on eBay. Analysis of online auctions reveals something primal, profound and fundamentally potty about consumer behaviour: if you want to flog that Rembrandt you found in the attic, start at $10!

In sales (as opposed to marriage), emotional blackmail needs to be subtle. Preaching, lecturing, pleading and bullying are about as useful in the showroom as a snooze button on a smoke alarm. Instead, just like Pat Reynolds, the successful salesperson treads carefully. Just look, for a moment, at the way Reynolds operates. For all his bravado and roguish streetwise charm, he’s a serious player. Not everyone who works in a call centre learns to fly on the proceeds. Nor do they roll off a gleaming garage forecourt in a top-of-the-range convertible. He makes an awful lot of money where an awful lot of people simply go under. And how? By reverting to first principles. To a time when persuasion had yet to hit on language. By releasing from the depths of human evolution one of the most powerful genies of influence known to man: the principle of reciprocity. 10Robert Cialdini, Regents’ Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, has shown precisely how powerful the pull of reciprocity is, how rightful its place in the arsenal of the elite persuader, in a study that (on the surface, at least) looked at individual differences in altruism.

Corbyn by Richard Seymour

anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, credit crunch, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, first-past-the-post, full employment, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, knowledge economy, land value tax, liberal world order, mass immigration, means of production, moral panic, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, pension reform, Philip Mirowski, precariat, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent control, Snapchat, stakhanovite, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, Wolfgang Streeck, working-age population, éminence grise

Second, what does it mean to be in the ‘middle’? According to this standard reading of the scheme of ‘social grades’, the middle includes everyone in ‘white-collar’ work, from clerical workers to professionals, supervisors, and senior managers. This, surely, is an illusory levelling, as if to say that everyone who works in a call centre, from the receptionist to the chief executive, is ‘middle class’. But the world evoked in this conception of class isn’t really the modern world, where there even are such things as call centres. It is a world in which workers use their hands and leave the brain-work to their social betters. Therefore, as long as you don’t use your hands, or if you have a degree, you can be patronisingly called ‘middle class’ even when you’re working precarious shifts for minimum wage. The nation tacitly evoked here isn’t even the Britain of fifty years ago; it is an imaginary past, an Upstairs Downstairs ideology of class relations.

Italy by Damien Simonis

active transport: walking or cycling, airport security, bike sharing scheme, Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, clean water, congestion charging, discovery of the americas, Frank Gehry, haute couture, illegal immigration, Kickstarter, large denomination, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Murano, Venice glass, pension reform, period drama, Peter Eisenman, Skype, spice trade, starchitect, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce

The Comune di Roma (city council) runs a free multilingual tourist information line ( 06 06 08;; 9am-9pm), providing information on culture, shows, hotels, transport etc; you can also book theatre, concert, exhibition and museum tickets on this number. If you need practical information, the city’s free 06 06 06 number is incredibly useful. By calling it you reach a Comune di Roma call centre that’s been set up to answer practical questions about anything to do with Comune-related services. The centre is staffed 24 hours and there are English-, French-, Arabic-, German-, Spanish-, Italian- and Chinese-speaking staff available from 4pm to 7pm. They can answer any question along the lines of :Where’s the nearest hospital? Where am I allowed to park? When are the underground trains running?

It covers admission to most of Turin’s monuments and museums, a ride up the Mole Antonelliana panoramic lift, a return trip on the Sassi-Superga cable car, and all public transport costs including GTT boats on the Po river and the Turismo Bus Torino (Click here). It also offers discounts for some guided tours and theatres. You can buy the card at the tourist office. * * * POST Post office (Via Alfieri 10; 8.30am-7pm Mon-Fri, to 1pm Sat) TOURIST INFORMATION The tourist board’s call centre ( 011 53 51 81;; 9.30am-9.30pm) can provide updated information and assistance for visitors. Circolo Culturale Maurice ( 011 521 11 16;, in Italian; Via della Basilica 3-5) Gay and lesbian information. Tourist office ( 011 53 51 81; 9.30am-7pm) At Stazione Porta Nuova; offers a free accommodation and restaurant booking service. Tourist office ( 011 53 51 81; 8am-11pm) At the airport.

To get here take tram 15 from Piazza Vittorio Veneto to the Sassi-Superga stop on Corso Casale, then walk 20m to Stazione Sassi ( 011 576 47 33; Strada Comunale di Superga 4), from where an original 1934 tram (one-way/return Mon-Fri Sat & Sun €2/4 €3.50/5.50; from Sassi 9am-noon & 2-8pm Mon, Wed, Thu & Fri, 9.30am-12.30pm & 2.30-8.30pm Sat & Sun, 30min later from Superga, closed Tue) rattles the 3.1km up the hillside in 18 minutes. Tours Guided walking tours (€6.50-8) following changing themes, such as Literary Turin, Tasty Turin and so on, depart on Saturday at 6pm. General city tours leave at 10am on Saturdays. Tours generally last around 1½ hours. Contact the tourist board call centre Click here to confirm departure points, and to ask about various factory tours that are also available. Turismo Bus Torino (1-day ticket adult/child €5/3; 10am-6pm Sat & Sun Jan-Jun & mid-Sep—mid-Dec, 10am-6pm daily Jul—mid-Sep & holiday-festival periods) is a hop-on, hop-off bus service with an on-board staff member providing information, and serves over a dozen different points around central Turin.

pages: 312 words: 35,664

The Mathematics of Banking and Finance by Dennis W. Cox, Michael A. A. Cox

barriers to entry, Brownian motion, call centre, correlation coefficient, fixed income, G4S, inventory management, iterative process, linear programming, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, random walk, traveling salesman, value at risk

Histograms are considered in Chapter 3. 2.2 DISCRETE DATA Discrete data refers to a series of events, results, measurements or readings that may occur over a period of time. It may then be classified into categories or groups. Each individual event is normally referred to as an observation. In this context observations may be grouped into multiples of a single unit, for example: r The number of transactions in a queue r The number of orders received r The number of calls taken in a call centre. Since discrete data can only take integer values, this is the simplest type of data that a firm may want to present pictorially. Consider the following example: A company has obtained the following data on the number of repairs required annually on the 550 personal computers (PCs) registered on their fixed asset ledger. In each case, when there is to be a repair to a PC, the registered holder of the PC is required to complete a repair record and submit this to the IT department for approval and action.

If we take x to be the actual number of errors found in the sample, then using the above transform to φ(0, 1), the required probability is: 6−8 12 − 8 Prob(6 < x < 12) = Prob <z< 2 2 This then becomes: Prob(−1 < z < 2) = Prob(−∞ < z < 2) − Prob(−∞ < z < −1) (since we need to refer to the tabulated values, Table 8.4) = (1 − Prob(2 < z < ∞)) − 0.159 (since the total area under the curve is 1) = (1 − Prob(−∞ < z < −2)) − 0.159 (by symmetry, since the positive and negative curves are the same) = 1 − 0.023 − 0.159 = 0.818 The figures are again taken from Table 8.4. What this means is that in at least 81.8% of the samples there would be between six and 12 errors, on the assumption that the distribution is normal (8, 4) so has a mean of eight and a variance of four. 8.2.2 A second example of normal probabilities A company assumes that the quality criteria for a call centre is normally distributed with a failure mean of 10 and a standard deviation of 0.03. In this context failure represents not achieving the required quality standard. (a) What is the proportion of samples that will have a failure rate exceeding 10.075? x −μ Using z = , the required probability is: σ 10.075 − 10 Prob(x > 10.075) = Prob z > 0.03 = Prob(z > 2.5) = Prob(z < −2.5) (by symmetry) = 0.006 This therefore gives 0.6% as the proportion.

pages: 208 words: 37,561

Manage Your Home Build & Renovation Project: How to Create Your Dream Home on Time, in Budget and Without Stress by David Cambridge

business process, call centre

FURTHER RESOURCES The Planning Portal – The Government site providing advice and information relating to the planning process. Department for Communities and Local Government – Federation of Master Builders – Gas Safe Register – Health & Safety Executive – National House Building Council (NHBC) – National Self Build & Renovation Centre – Royal institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – Royal institute of British Architects (RIBA) – About the Author David has been in the construction industry since he left school some 30 years ago. Originally he trained as an engineer but moved into project and building management. He has been involved in a large range of construction projects including museums, galleries, hospitals, data centres, offices and call centres as well as residential works. Now the owner of The Residential Project Manager Limited, David spends most of his time helping home owners and property developers to deliver a mixture of loft conversions, extensions, refurbishments and new builds. Having been in the commercial industry for a long time he now enjoys helping local people deliver their dreams. David was raised and still lives in Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire and is married to his wife Sue and has two teenage boys George & Harry.

pages: 464 words: 116,945

Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey

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, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, drone strike, end world poverty, 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, Gunnar Myrdal, 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

There continue to be, however, some spatially circumscribed markets that facilitate monopoly pricing for certain activities: a hip operation in Belgium costs $13,360 (including the round-trip airfare from the USA) while an identical procedure in the USA costs over $78,000! There is, obviously, a lot of monopoly pricing going on in the US case relative to that of Belgium (almost certainly due to different state regulatory policies). Personal services of this sort have remained partially immune from spatial competition in spite of the rise of medical tourism and the outsourcing of many services to call centres like those in India. These protected markets may crumble, however, in the face of the application of artificial intelligence. Capital is, we can conclude, in love with monopoly. It prefers the certainties, the quiet life and the possibility of leisurely and cautious changes that go with a monopolistic style of working and living outside of the rough and tumble of competition. For this reason also, capital loves commodities that are unique, so particular that they can command a monopoly price.

., Disposable Women and Other Myths of Global Capitalism, New York, Routledge, 2006 Index Numbers in italics indicate Figures. 2001: A Space Odyssey (film) 271 A Abu Ghraib, Iraq 202 acid deposition 255, 256 advertising 50, 121, 140, 141, 187, 197, 236, 237, 275, 276 Aeschylus 291 Afghanistan 202, 290 Africa and global financial crisis 170 growth 232 indigenous population and property rights 39 labour 107, 108, 174 ‘land grabs’ 39, 58, 77, 252 population growth 230 Agamben, Giorgio 283–4 agglomeration 149, 150 economies 149 aggregate demand 20, 80, 81, 104, 173 aggregate effective demand 235 agribusiness 95, 133, 136, 206, 247, 258 agriculture ix, 39, 61, 104, 113, 117, 148, 229, 239, 257–8, 261 Alabama 148 Algerian War (1954–62) 288, 290 alienation 57, 69, 125, 126, 128, 129, 130, 198, 213, 214, 215, 263, 266–70, 272, 275–6, 279–80, 281, 286, 287 Allende, Salvador 201 Althusser, Louis 286 Amazon 131, 132 Americas colonisation of 229 indigenous populations 283 Amnesty International 202 anti-capitalist movements 11, 14, 65, 110, 111, 162 anti-capitalist struggle 14, 110, 145, 193, 269, 294 anti-globalisation 125 anti-terrorism xiii apartheid 169, 202, 203 Apple 84, 123, 131 apprenticeships 117 Arab Spring movement 280 Arbenz, Jacobo 201 Argentina 59, 107, 152, 160, 232 Aristotelianism 283, 289 Aristotle 1, 4, 200, 215 arms races 93 arms traffickers 54 Arrighi, Giovanni 136 Adam Smith in Beijing 142 Arthur, Brian: The Nature of Technology 89, 95–9, 101–4, 110 artificial intelligence xii, 104, 108, 120, 139, 188, 208, 295 Asia ‘land grabs’ 58 urbanisation 254 assembly lines 119 asset values and the credit system 83 defined 240 devalued 257 housing market 19, 20, 21, 58, 133 and predatory lending 133 property 76 recovery of 234 speculation 83, 101, 179 associationism 281 AT&T 131 austerity xi, 84, 177, 191, 223 Australia 152 autodidacts 183 automation xii, 103, 105, 106, 108, 138, 208, 215, 295 B Babbage, Charles 119 Bangkok riots, Thailand (1968) x Bangladesh dismantlement of old ships 250 factories 129, 174, 292 industrialisation 123 labour 108, 123, 129 protests against unsafe labour conditions 280 textile mill tragedies 249 Bank of England 45, 46 banking bonuses 164 electronic 92, 100, 277 excessive charges 84 interbank lending 233 and monopoly power 143 national banks supplant local banking in Britain and France 158 net transfers between banks 28 power of bankers 75 private banks 233 profits 54 regional banks 158 shell games 54–5 systematic banking malfeasance 54, 61 Baran, Paul and Sweezy, Paul: Monopoly Capitalism 136 Barcelona 141, 160 barrios pobres ix barter 24, 25, 29 Battersea Power Station, London 255 Battle of Algiers, The (film) 288 Bavaria, Germany 143, 150 Becker, Gary 186 Bernanke, Ben 47 Bhutan 171 billionaires xi, 165, 169, 170 biodiversity 246, 254, 255, 260 biofuels 3 biomedical engineering xii Birmingham 149 Bitcoin 36, 109 Black Panthers 291 Blade Runner (film) 271 Blankfein, Lloyd 239–40 Bohr, Niels 70 Bolivia 257, 260, 284 bondholders xii, 32, 51, 152, 158, 223, 240, 244, 245 bonuses 54, 77, 164, 178 Bourdieu, Pierre 186, 187 bourgeois morality 195 bourgeois reformism 167, 211 ‘Brady Bonds’ 240 Braudel, Fernand 193 Braverman, Harry: Labor and Monopoly Capital 119 Brazil a BRIC country 170, 228 coffee growers 257 poverty grants 107 unrest in (2013) 171, 243, 293 Brecht, Bertolt 265, 293 Bretton Woods (1944) 46 brewing trade 138 BRIC countries 10, 170, 174, 228 Britain alliance between state and London merchant capitalists 44–5 banking 158 enclosure movement 58 lends to United States (nineteenth century) 153 suppression of Mau Mau 291 surpluses of capital and labour sent to colonies 152–3 welfare state 165 see also United Kingdom British Empire 115, 174 British Museum Library, London 4 British Petroleum (BP) 61, 128 Buffett, Peter 211–12, 245, 283, 285 Buffett, Warren 211 bureaucracy 121–2, 165, 203, 251 Bush, George, Jr 201, 202 C Cabet, Étienne 183 Cabral, Amilcar 291 cadastral mapping 41 Cadbury 18 Cairo uprising (2011) 99 Calhoun, Craig 178 California 29, 196, 254 Canada 152 Cape Canaveral, Florida 196 capital abolition of monopolisable skills 119–20 aim of 92, 96–7, 232 alternatives to 36, 69, 89, 162 annihilation of space through time 138, 147, 178 capital-labour contradiction 65, 66, 68–9 and capitalism 7, 57, 68, 115, 166, 218 centralisation of 135, 142 circulation of 5, 7, 8, 53, 63, 67, 73, 74, 75, 79, 88, 99, 147, 168, 172, 177, 234, 247, 251, 276 commodity 74, 81 control over labour 102–3, 116–17, 166, 171–2, 274, 291–2 creation of 57 cultural 186 destruction of 154, 196, 233–4 and division of labour 112 economic engine of 8, 10, 97, 168, 172, 200, 253, 265, 268 evolution of 54, 151, 171, 270 exploitation by 156, 195 fictitious 32–3, 34, 76, 101, 110–11, 239–42 fixed 75–8, 155, 234 importance of uneven geographical development to 161 inequality foundational for 171–2 investment in fixed capital 75 innovations 4 legal-illegal duality 72 limitless growth of 37 new form of 4, 14 parasitic forms of 245 power of xii, 36, 47 private capital accumulation 23 privatisation of 61 process-thing duality 70–78 profitability of 184, 191–2 purpose of 92 realisation of 88, 173, 192, 212, 231, 235, 242, 268, 273 relation to nature 246–63 reproduction of 4, 47, 55, 63, 64, 88, 97, 108, 130, 146, 161, 168, 171, 172, 180, 181, 182, 189, 194, 219, 233, 252 spatiality of 99 and surplus value 63 surpluses of 151, 152, 153 temporality of 99 tension between fixed and circulating capital 75–8, 88, 89 turnover time of 73, 99, 147 and wage rates 173 capital accumulation, exponential growth of 229 capital gains 85, 179 capital accumulation 7, 8, 75, 76, 78, 102, 149, 151–5, 159, 172, 173, 179, 192, 209, 223, 228–32, 238, 241, 243, 244, 247, 273, 274, 276 basic architecture for 88 and capital’s aim 92, 96 collapse of 106 compound rate of 228–9 and the credit system 83 and democratisation 43 and demographic growth 231 and household consumerism 192 and lack of aggregate effective demand in the market 81 and the land market 59 and Marx 5 maximising 98 models of 53 in a new territories 152–3 perpetual 92, 110, 146, 162, 233, 265 private 23 promotion of 34 and the property market 50 recent problems of 10 and the state 48 capitalism ailing 58 an alternative to 36 and capital 7, 57, 68, 115, 166, 218 city landscape of 160 consumerist 197 contagious predatory lawlessness within 109 crises essential to its reproduction ix; defined 7 and demand-side management 85 and democracy 43 disaster 254–5, 255 economic engine of xiii, 7–8, 11, 110, 220, 221, 252, 279 evolution of 218 geographical landscape of 146, 159 global xi–xii, 108, 124 history of 7 ‘knowledge-based’ xii, 238 and money power 33 and a moneyless economy 36 neoliberal 266 political economy of xiv; and private property rights 41 and racialisation 8 reproduction of ix; revivified xi; vulture 162 capitalist markets 33, 53 capitalo-centric studies 10 car industry 121, 138, 148, 158, 188 carbon trading 235, 250 Caribbean migrants 115 Cartesian thinking 247 Cato Institute 143 Central America 136 central banks/bankers xi–xii, 37, 45, 46, 48, 51, 109, 142, 156, 161, 173, 233, 245 centralisation 135, 142, 144, 145, 146, 149, 150, 219 Césaire, Aimé 291 CFCs (chloro-fluorocarbons) 248, 254, 256, 259 chambers of commerce 168 Chandler, Alfred 141 Chaplin, Charlie 103 Charles I, King 199 Chartism 184 Chávez, Hugo 123, 201 cheating 57, 61, 63 Cheney, Dick 289 Chicago riots (1968) x chicanery 60, 72 children 174 exploitation of 195 raising 188, 190 trading of 26 violence and abuse of 193 Chile 136, 194, 280 coup of 1973 165, 201 China air quality 250, 258 becomes dynamic centre of a global capitalism 124 a BRIC country 170, 228 capital in (after 2000) 154 class struggles 233 and competition 150, 161 consumerism 194–5, 236 decentralisation 49 dirigiste governmentality 48 dismantlement of old ships 250 dispossessions in 58 education 184, 187 factories 123, 129, 174, 182 famine in 124–5 ‘great leap forward’ 125 growth of 170, 227, 232 income inequalities 169 industrialisation 232 Keynesian demand-side and debt-financed expansion xi; labour 80, 82, 107, 108, 123, 174, 230 life expectancy 259 personal debt 194 remittances 175 special economic zones 41, 144 speculative booms and bubbles in housing markets 21 suburbanisation 253 and technology 101 toxic batteries 249–50 unstable lurches forward 10 urban and infrastructural projects 151 urbanisation 232 Chinese Communist Party 108, 142 Church, the 185, 189, 199 circular cumulative causation 150 CitiBank 61 citizenship rights 168 civil rights 202, 205 class affluent classes 205 alliances 143, 149 class analysis xiii; conflict 85, 159 domination 91, 110 plutocratic capitalist xiii; power 55, 61, 88, 89, 92, 97, 99, 110, 134, 135, 221, 279 and race 166, 291 rule 91 structure 91 class struggle 34, 54, 67, 68, 85, 99, 103, 110, 116, 120, 135, 159, 172, 175, 183, 214, 233 climate change 4, 253–6, 259 Clinton, President Bill 176 Cloud Atlas (film) 271 CNN 285 coal 3, 255 coercion x, 41–4, 53, 60–63, 79, 95, 201, 286 Cold War 153, 165 collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) 78 Collins, Suzanne: The Hunger Games 264 Colombia 280 colonialism 257 the colonised 289–90 indigenous populations 39, 40 liberation from colonial rule 202 philanthropic 208, 285 colonisation 229, 262 ‘combinatorial evolution’ 96, 102, 104, 146, 147, 248 commercialisation 262, 263, 266 commodification 24, 55, 57, 59–63, 88, 115, 140, 141, 192, 193, 235, 243, 251, 253, 260, 262, 263, 273 commodities advertising 275 asking price 31 and barter 24 commodity exchange 39, 64 compared with products 25–6 defective or dangerous 72 definition 39 devaluation of 234 exchange value 15, 25 falling costs of 117 importance of workers as buyers 80–81 international trade in 256 labour power as a commodity 62 low-value 29 mobility of 147–8 obsolescence 236 single metric of value 24 unique 140–41 use value 15, 26, 35 commodity markets 49 ‘common capital of the class’ 142, 143 common wealth created by social labour 53 private appropriation of 53, 54, 55, 61, 88, 89 reproduction of 61 use values 53 commons collective management of 50 crucial 295 enclosure of 41, 235 natural 250 privatised 250 communications 99, 147, 148, 177 communism 196 collapse of (1989) xii, 165 communist parties 136 during Cold War 165 scientific 269 socialism/communism 91, 269 comparative advantage 122 competition and alienated workers 125 avoiding 31 between capitals 172 between energy and food production 3 decentralised 145 and deflationary crisis (1930s) 136 foreign 148, 155 geopolitical 219 inter-capitalist 110 international 154, 175 interstate 110 interterritorial 219 in labour market 116 and monopoly 131–45, 146, 218 and technology 92–3 and turnover time of capital 73, 99 and wages 135 competitive advantage 73, 93, 96, 112, 161 competitive market 131, 132 competitiveness 184 complementarity principle of 70 compounding growth 37, 49, 222, 227, 228, 233, 234, 235, 243, 244 perpetual 222–45, 296 computerisation 100, 120, 222 computers 92, 100, 105, 119 hardware 92, 101 organisational forms 92, 93, 99, 101 programming 120 software 92, 99, 101, 115, 116 conscience laundering 211, 245, 284, 286 Conscious Capitalism 284 constitutional rights 58 constitutionality 60, 61 constitutions progressive 284 and social bond between human rights and private property 40 US Constitution 284 and usurpation of power 45 consumerism 89, 106, 160, 192–5, 197, 198, 236, 274–7 containerisation 138, 148, 158 contracts 71, 72, 93, 207 contradictions Aristotelian conception of 4 between money and the social labour money represents 83 between reality and appearance 4–6 between use and exchange value 83 of capital and capitalism 68 contagious intensification of 14 creative use of 3 dialectical conception of 4 differing reactions to 2–3 and general crises 14 and innovation 3 moved around rather than resolved 3–4 multiple 33, 42 resolution of 3, 4 two modes of usage 1–2 unstable 89 Controller of the Currency 120 corporations and common wealth 54 corporate management 98–9 power of 57–8, 136 and private property 39–40 ‘visible hand’ 141–2 corruption 53, 197, 266 cosmopolitanism 285 cost of living 164, 175 credit cards 67, 133, 277 credit card companies 54, 84, 278 credit financing 152 credit system 83, 92, 101, 111, 239 crises changes in mental conceptions of the world ix-x; crisis of capital 4 defined 4 essential to the reproduction of capitalism ix; general crisis ensuing from contagions 14 housing markets crisis (2007–9) 18, 20, 22 reconfiguration of physical landscapes ix; slow resolution of x; sovereign debt crisis (after 2012) 37 currency markets, turbulence of (late 1960s) x customary rights 41, 59, 198 D Davos conferences 169 DDT 259 Debord, Guy: The Society of the Spectacle 236 debt creation 236 debt encumbrancy 212 debt peonage 62, 212 decentralisation 49, 142, 143, 144, 146, 148, 219, 281, 295 Declaration of Independence (US) 284 decolonisation 282, 288, 290 decommodification 85 deindustrialisation xii, 77–8, 98, 110, 148, 153, 159, 234 DeLong, Bradford 228 demand management 81, 82, 106, 176 demand-side management 85 democracy 47, 215 bourgeois 43, 49 governance within capitalism 43 social 190 totalitarian 220, 292 democratic governance 220, 266 democratisation 43 Deng Xiaoping x depressions 49, 227 1930s x, 108, 136, 169, 227, 232, 234 Descartes, René 247 Detroit 77, 136, 138, 148, 150, 152, 155, 159, 160 devaluation 153, 155, 162 of capital 233 of commodities 234 crises 150–51, 152, 154 localised 154 regional 154 developing countries 16, 240 Dhaka, Bangladesh 77 dialectics 70 Dickens, Charles 126, 169 Bleak House 226 Dombey and Son 184 digital revolution 144 disabled, the 202 see also handicapped discrimination 7, 8, 68, 116, 297 diseases 10, 211, 246, 254, 260 disempowerment 81, 103, 116, 119, 198, 270 disinvestment 78 Disneyfication 276 dispossession accumulation by 60, 67, 68, 84, 101, 111, 133, 141, 212 and capital 54, 55, 57 economies of 162 of indigenous populations 40, 59, 207 ‘land grabs’ 58 of land rights of the Irish 40 of the marginalised 198 political economy of 58 distributional equality 172 distributional shares 164–5, 166 division of labour 24, 71, 112–30, 154, 184, 268, 270 and Adam Smith 98, 118 defined 112 ‘the detail division of labour’ 118, 121 distinctions and oppositions 113–14 evolution of 112, 120, 121, 126 and gender 114–15 increasing complexity of 124, 125, 126 industrial proletariat 114 and innovation 96 ‘new international division of labour’ 122–3 organisation of 98 proliferating 121 relation between the parts and the whole 112 social 113, 118, 121, 125 technical 113, 295 uneven geographical developments in 130 dot-com bubble (1990s) 222–3, 241 ‘double coincidence of wants and needs’ 24 drugs 32, 193, 248 cartels 54 Durkheim, Emile 122, 125 Dust Bowl (United States, 1930s) 257 dynamism 92, 104, 146, 219 dystopia 229, 232, 264 E Eagleton , Terry: Why Marx Was Right 1, 21, 200, 214–15 East Asia crisis of 1997–98 154 dirigiste governmentality 48 education 184 rise of 170 Eastern Europe 115, 230 ecological offsets 250 economic rationality 211, 250, 252, 273, 274, 275, 277, 278, 279 economies 48 advanced capitalist 228, 236 agglomeration 149 of dispossession 162 domination of industrial cartels and finance capital 135 household 192 informal 175 knowledge-based 188 mature 227–8 regional 149 reoriented to demand-side management 85 of scale 75 solidarity 66, 180 stagnant xii ecosystems 207, 247, 248, 251–6, 258, 261, 263, 296 Ecuador 46, 152, 284 education 23, 58, 60, 67–8, 84, 110, 127–8, 129, 134, 150, 156, 168, 183, 184, 185, 187, 188, 189, 223, 235, 296 efficiency 71, 92, 93, 98, 103, 117, 118, 119, 122, 126, 272, 273, 284 efficient market hypothesis 118 Egypt 107, 280, 293 Ehrlich, Paul 246 electronics 120, 121, 129, 236, 292 emerging markets 170–71, 242 employment 37 capital in command of job creation 172, 174 conditions of 128 full-time 274 opportunities for xii, 108, 168 regional crises of 151 of women 108, 114, 115, 127 see also labour enclosure movement 58 Engels, Friedrich 70 The Condition of the English Working Class in England 292 English Civil War (1642–9) 199 Enlightenment 247 Enron 133, 241 environmental damage 49, 61, 110, 111, 113, 232, 249–50, 255, 257, 258, 259, 265, 286, 293 environmental movement 249, 252 environmentalism 249, 252–3 Epicurus 283 equal rights 64 Erasmus, Desiderius 283 ethnic hatreds and discriminations 8, 165 ethnic minorities 168 ethnicisation 62 ethnicity 7, 68, 116 euro, the 15, 37, 46 Europe deindustrialisation in 234 economic development in 10 fascist parties 280 low population growth rate 230 social democratic era 18 unemployment 108 women in labour force 230 European Central Bank 37, 46, 51 European Commission 51 European Union (EU) 95, 159 exchange values commodities 15, 25, 64 dominance of 266 and housing 14–23, 43 and money 28, 35, 38 uniform and qualitatively identical 15 and use values 15, 35, 42, 44, 50, 60, 65, 88 exclusionary permanent ownership rights 39 experts 122 exploitation 49, 54, 57, 62, 68, 75, 83, 107, 108, 124, 126, 128, 129, 150, 156, 159, 166, 175, 176, 182, 185, 193, 195, 208, 246, 257 exponential growth 224, 240, 254 capacity for 230 of capital 246 of capital accumulation 223, 229 of capitalist activity 253 and capital’s ecosystem 255 in computer power 105 and environmental resources 260 in human affairs 229 and innovations in finance and banking 100 potential dangers of 222, 223 of sophisticated technologies 100 expropriation 207 externality effects 43–4 Exxon 128 F Facebook 236, 278, 279 factories ix, 123, 129, 160, 174, 182, 247, 292 Factory Act (1864) 127, 183 famine 124–5, 229, 246 Fannie Mae 50 Fanon, Frantz 287 The Wretched of the Earth 288–90, 293 fascist parties 280 favelas ix, 16, 84, 175 feminisation 115 feminists 189, 192, 283 fertilisers 255 fetishes, fetishism 4–7, 31, 36–7, 61, 103, 111, 179, 198, 243, 245, 269, 278 feudalism 41 financial markets 60, 133 financialisation 238 FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) sections 113 fishing 59, 113, 148, 249, 250 fixity and motion 75–8, 88, 89, 146, 155 Food and Drug Administration 120 food production/supply 3, 229, 246, 248, 252 security 253, 294, 296 stamp aid 206, 292 Ford, Martin 104–8, 111, 273 foreclosure 21, 22, 24, 54, 58, 241, 268 forestry 113, 148, 257 fossil fuels 3–4 Foucault, Michel xiii, 204, 209, 280–81 Fourier, François Marie Charles 183 Fourierists 18 Fourteen Points 201 France banking 158 dirigiste governmentality under de Gaulle 48 and European Central Bank 46 fascist parties 280 Francis, Pope 293 Apostolic Exhortation 275–6 Frankfurt School 261 Freddie Mac 50 free trade 138, 157 freedom 47, 48, 142, 143, 218, 219, 220, 265, 267–270, 276, 279–82, 285, 288, 296 and centralised power 142 cultural 168 freedom and domination 199–215, 219, 268, 285 and the good life 215 and money creation 51 popular desire for 43 religious 168 and state finances 48 under the rule of capital 64 see also liberty and freedom freedom of movement 47, 296 freedom of thought 200 freedom of the press 213 French Revolution 203, 213, 284 G G7 159 G20 159 Gallup survey of work 271–2 Gandhi, Mahatma 284, 291 Gaulle, Charles de 48 gay rights 166 GDP 194, 195, 223 Gehry, Frank 141 gender discriminations 7, 8, 68, 165 gene sequences 60 General Motors xii genetic engineering xii, 101, 247 genetic materials 235, 241, 251, 261 genetically modified foods 101 genocide 8 gentrification 19, 84, 141, 276 geocentric model 5 geographical landscape building a new 151, 155 of capitalism 159 evolution of 146–7 instability of 146 soulless, rationalised 157 geopolitical struggles 8, 154 Germany and austerity 223 autobahns built 151 and European Central Bank 46 inflation during 1920s 30 wage repression 158–9 Gesell, Silvio 35 Ghana 291 global economic crisis (2007–9) 22, 23, 47, 118, 124, 132, 151, 170, 228, 232, 234, 235, 241 global financialisation x, 177–8 global warming 260 globalisation 136, 174, 176, 179, 223, 293 gold 27–31, 33, 37, 57, 227, 233, 238, 240 Golden Dawn 280 Goldman Sachs 75, 239 Google 131, 136, 195, 279 Gordon, Robert 222, 223, 230, 239, 304n2 Gore, Al 249 Gorz, André 104–5, 107, 242, 270–77, 279 government 60 democratic 48 planning 48 and social bond between human rights and private property 40 spending power 48 governmentality 43, 48, 157, 209, 280–81, 285 Gramsci, Antonio 286, 293 Greco, Thomas 48–9 Greece 160, 161, 162, 171, 235 austerity 223 degradation of the well-being of the masses xi; fascist parties 280 the power of the bondholders 51, 152 greenwashing 249 Guantanamo Bay, Cuba 202, 284 Guatemala 201 Guevara, Che 291 Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao 141 guild system 117 Guinea-Bissau 291 Gulf Oil Spill (2010) 61 H Habermas, Jürgen 192 habitat 246, 249, 252, 253, 255 handicapped, the 218 see also disabled Harvey, David The Enigma of Capital 265 Rebel Cities 282 Hayek, Friedrich 42 Road to Serfdom 206 health care 23, 58, 60, 67–8, 84, 110, 134, 156, 167, 189, 190, 235, 296 hedge funds 101, 162, 239, 241, 249 managers 164, 178 Heidegger, Martin 59, 250 Heritage Foundation 143 heterotopic spaces 219 Hill, Christopher 199 Ho Chi Minh 291 holocausts 8 homelessness 58 Hong Kong 150, 160 housing 156, 296 asset values 19, 20, 21, 58 ‘built to order’ 17 construction 67 controlling externalities 19–20 exchange values 14–23, 43 gated communities ix, 160, 208, 264 high costs 84 home ownership 49–50 investing in improvements 20, 43 mortgages 19, 21, 28, 50, 67, 82 predatory practices 67, 133 production costs 17 rental markets 22 renting or leasing 18–19, 67 self-built 84 self-help 16, 160 slum ix, 16, 175 social 18, 235 speculating in exchange value 20–22 speculative builds 17, 28, 78, 82 tenement 17, 160 terraced 17 tract ix, 17, 82 use values 14–19, 21–2, 23, 67 housing markets 18, 19, 21, 22, 28, 32, 49, 58, 60, 67, 68, 77, 83, 133, 192 crisis (2007–9) 18, 20, 22, 82–3 HSBC 61 Hudson, Michael 222 human capital theory 185, 186 human evolution 229–30 human nature 97, 198, 213, 261, 262, 263 revolt of 263, 264–81 human rights 40, 200, 202 humanism 269 capitalist 212 defined 283 education 128 excesses and dark side 283 and freedom 200, 208, 210 liberal 210, 287, 289 Marxist 284, 286 religious 283 Renaissance 283 revolutionary 212, 221, 282–93 secular 283, 285–6 types of 284 Hungary: fascist parties 280 Husserl, Edmund 192 Huygens, Christiaan 70 I IBM 128 Iceland: banking 55 identity politics xiii illegal aliens (‘sans-papiers’) 156 illegality 61, 72 immigrants, housing 160 imperialism 135, 136, 143, 201, 257, 258 income bourgeois disposable 235 disparities of 164–81 levelling up of 171 redistribution to the lower classes xi; see also wages indebtedness 152, 194, 222 India billionaires in 170 a BRIC country 170, 228 call centres 139 consumerism 236 dismantlement of old ships 250 labour 107, 230 ‘land grabs’ 77 moneylenders 210 social reproduction in 194 software engineers 196 special economic zones 144 unstable lurches forward 10 indigenous populations 193, 202, 257, 283 dispossession of 40, 59, 207 and exclusionary ownership rights 39 individualism 42, 197, 214, 281 Indonesia 129, 160 industrial cartels 135 Industrial Revolution 127 industrialisation 123, 189, 229, 232 inflation 30, 36, 37, 40, 49, 136, 228, 233 inheritance 40 Inner Asia, labour in 108 innovation 132 centres of 96 and the class struggle 103 competitive 219 as a double-edged sword xii; improving the qualities of daily life 4 labour-saving 104, 106, 107, 108 logistical 147 organisational 147 political 219 product 93 technological 94–5, 105, 147, 219 as a way out of a contradiction 3 insurance companies 278 intellectual property rights xii, 41, 123, 133, 139, 187, 207, 235, 241–2, 251 interest compound 5, 222, 224, 225, 226–7 interest-rate manipulations 54 interest rates 54, 186 living off 179, 186 on loans 17 money capital 28, 32 and mortgages 19, 67 on repayment of loans to the state 32 simple 225, 227 usury 49 Internal Revenue Service income tax returns 164 International Monetary Fund (IMF) 49, 51, 100, 143, 161, 169, 186, 234, 240 internet 158, 220, 278 investment: in fixed capital 75 investment pension funds 35–6 IOUs 30 Iran 232, 289 Iranian Revolution 289 Iraq war 201, 290 Ireland dispossession of land rights 40 housing market crash (2007–9) 82–3 Istanbul 141 uprising (2013) 99, 129, 171, 243 Italy 51,161, 223, 235 ITT 136 J Jacobs, Jane 96 James, C.L.R. 291 Japan 1980s economic boom 18 capital in (1980s) 154 economic development in 10 factories 123 growth rate 227 land market crash (1990) 18 low population growth rate 230 and Marshall Plan 153 post-war recovery 161 Jewish Question 213 JPMorgan 61 Judaeo-Christian tradition 283 K Kant, Immanuel 285 Katz, Cindi 189, 195, 197 Kenya 291 Kerala, India 171 Keynes, John Maynard xi, 46, 76, 244, 266 ‘Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren’ 33–4 General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money 35 Keynesianism demand management 82, 105, 176 demand-side and debt-financed expansion xi King, Martin Luther 284, 291 knowledge xii, 26, 41, 95, 96, 100, 105, 113, 122, 123, 127, 144, 184, 188, 196, 238, 242, 295 Koch brothers 292 Kohl, Helmut x L labour agitating and fighting for more 64 alienated workers 125, 126, 128, 129, 130 artisan 117, 182–3 and automation 105 capital/labour contradiction 65, 66, 68–9, 146 collective 117 commodification of 57 contracts 71, 72 control over 74, 102–11, 119, 166, 171–2, 274, 291–2 deskilling 111, 119 discipline 65, 79 disempowering workers 81, 103, 116, 119, 270 division of see division of labour; domestic 196 education 127–8, 129, 183, 187 exploitation of 54, 57, 62, 68, 75, 83, 107, 108, 126, 128, 129, 150, 156, 166, 175, 176, 182, 185, 195 factory 122, 123, 237 fair market value 63, 64 Gallup survey 271–2 house building 17 housework 114–15, 192 huge increase in the global wage labour force 107–8 importance of workers as buyers of commodities 80–81 ‘industrial reserve army’ 79–80, 173–4 migrations of 118 non-unionised xii; power of 61–4, 71, 73, 74, 79, 81, 88, 99, 108, 118–19, 127, 173, 175, 183, 189, 207, 233, 267 privatisation of 61 in service 117 skills 116, 118–19, 123, 149, 182–3, 185, 231 social see social labour; surplus 151, 152, 173–4, 175, 195, 233 symbolic 123 and trade unions 116 trading in labour services 62–3 unalienated 66, 89 unionised xii; unpaid 189 unskilled 114, 185 women in workforce see under women; worked to exhaustion or death 61, 182 see also employment labour markets 47, 62, 64, 66–9, 71, 102, 114, 116, 118, 166 labour-saving devices 104, 106, 107, 173, 174, 277 labour power commodification of 61, 88 exploitation of 62, 175 generation of surplus value 63 mobility of 99 monetisation of 61 private property character of 64 privatisation of 61 reserves of 108 Lagos, Nigeria, social reproduction in 195 laissez-faire 118, 205, 207, 281 land commodification 260–61 concept of 76–7 division of 59 and enclosure movement 58 establishing as private property 41 exhausting its fertility 61 privatisation 59, 61 scarcity 77 urban 251 ‘land grabs’ 39, 58, 77, 252 land market 18, 59 land price 17 land registry 41 land rents 78, 85 land rights 40, 93 land-use zoning 43 landlords 54, 67, 83, 140, 179, 251, 261 Latin America ’1and grabs’ 58, 77 labour 107 reductions in social inequality 171 two ‘lost decades’ of development 234 lawyers 22, 26, 67, 82, 245 leasing 16, 17, 18 Lebed, Jonathan 195 Lee Kuan-Yew 48 Leeds 149 Lefebvre, Henri 157, 192 Critique of Everyday Life 197–8 left, the defence of jobs and skills under threat 110 and the factory worker 68 incapable of mounting opposition to the power of capital xii; remains of the radical left xii–xiii Lehman Brothers investment bank, fall of (2008) x–xi, 47, 241 ‘leisure’ industries 115 Lenin, Vladimir 135 Leninism 91 Lewis, Michael: The Big Short 20–21 LGBT groups 168, 202, 218 liberation struggle 288, 290 liberty, liberties 44, 48–51, 142, 143, 212, 276, 284, 289 and bourgeois democracy 49 and centralised power 142 and money creation 51 non-coercive individual liberty 42 popular desire for 43 and state finances 48 liberty and freedom 199–215 coercion and violence in pursuit of 201 government surveillance and cracking of encrypted codes 201–2 human rights abuses 202 popular desire for 203 rhetoric on 200–201, 202 life expectancy 250, 258, 259 light, corpuscular theory of 70 living standards xii, 63, 64, 84, 89, 134, 175, 230 loans fictitious capital 32 housing 19 interest on 17 Locke, John 40, 201, 204 logos 31 London smog of 1952 255 unrest in (2011) 243 Los Angeles 150, 292 Louis XIV, King of France 245 Lovelace, Richard 199, 200, 203 Luddites 101 M McCarthyite scourge 56 MacKinnon, Catherine: Are Women Human?

pages: 387 words: 119,244

Making It Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew Up the British Economy by Iain Martin

asset-backed security, bank run, Basel III, beat the dealer, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, call centre, central bank independence, computer age, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, deindustrialization, deskilling, Edward Thorp, Etonian, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, G4S, high net worth, interest rate swap, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, moral hazard, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, old-boy network,, Red Clydeside, shareholder value, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, value at risk

If they had taken shares in the rights issue, at the offer price of 200p, after October 2008 they had lost 90 per cent of their investment. As recently as April 2007, on the eve of the ABN Amro bid, the bank’s shares had been worth more than 600p. The collapse represented a terrible, calamitous destruction of wealth. Hundreds of thousands of retirement nest eggs had vanished. In the weeks after the collapse Alan Dickinson and several of his colleagues toured the branches and call centres, offering bewildered and mutinous staff a chance to take it out on someone from the management. One RBS cashier, close to retirement, explained quietly to Dickinson that year after year over the decades she had invested in RBS stock every time it was offered to her. Not long ago her carefully husbanded investment had been worth almost £250,000, and now a mere fraction of that was left. She had trusted those at the top and believed unfailingly in the reputation of the bank for which she worked.

Big financial failures can have massive collateral damage, which is why we need a strong banking system and effective regulation.’ A total of 41,000 of the bank’s employees, in the UK and abroad, have been laid off since 2008. It has not been easy for many of those who kept their jobs either. The vast majority of the bank’s staff are not traders, or leverage finance merchants, they are people working hard in branches, call centres and back offices for modest remuneration. Perhaps it will come as some consolation to former staff that Goodwin lost at least £7m. That includes his losses on the shares which he held on to until the crash and the loss of the pay-off he was legally entitled to demand but gave up. George Mathewson was also hit, to the tune of more than £5m it is suggested. His losses from buying millions of pounds worth of shares in the rights issue were big enough to make his financial position so precarious that after 2008 he almost went under, say friends.

Nepal Travel Guide by Lonely Planet

call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, Kickstarter, land reform, load shedding, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Skype, sustainable-tourism, trade route, traffic fines

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade ( Canadian Consular Affairs ( New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade ( UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office ( US Department of State ( Telephone The phone system in Nepal works pretty well (as long as the electricity is working) and making local, STD and international calls is easy. Reverse-charge (collect) calls can only be made to the UK, USA, Canada and Japan. Private call centres offer the cheapest and most convenient way to make a call. Look for signs advertising STD/ISD services. Many hotels offer international direct-dial facilities but always check their charges before making a call. Private call centres charge around Rs 10 to 40 per minute to most countries. Internet phone calls are cheaper, costing around Rs 10 per minute (calls to mobile phones are often more expensive), but these are only available in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Most internet cafes offer internet phone calls through Skype ( for a couple of rupees per minute on top of their normal internet rates.

Most internet cafes offer internet phone calls through Skype ( for a couple of rupees per minute on top of their normal internet rates. Local phone calls cost around Rs 5 per minute, with long-distance domestic calls costing around Rs 10 per minute. Out in rural areas you may find yourself using someone’s mobile phone at a public call centre. Mobile Phones Ncell ( 9809005000; is the most popular and convenient provider. To get a SIM card take a copy of your passport and one photo to an Ncell office. A SIM card costs Rs 99, with local calls around Rs 2 per minute and incoming calls free. International calls cost from Rs 2 (the US) to Rs 15 (UK) per minute. It’s easy to buy a scratch card to top up your balance, in denominations from Rs 50 to 1000. You can normally get a SIM card on arrival at Tribhuvan Airport.

pages: 277 words: 41,815

Lonely Planet Pocket Berlin by Lonely Planet, Andrea Schulte-Peevers

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, call centre, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, G4S, haute cuisine, indoor plumbing, Peter Eisenman, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal

Dos & Don’ts › Do say ‘Guten Tag’ when entering a business. › Do state your last name at the start of a phone call. › Do bring a small gift or flowers when invited to a meal. › Do bag your own groceries in supermarkets. And quickly! › Don’t be late for meetings and dinner invitations. › Don’t talk about WWII with a victor’s mentality. › Don’t assume you can pay by credit card, especially when eating out. Tourist Information The local tourist board, Visit Berlin (, operates three walk-in offices (listed following) and a call centre ( 250 025; 9am-7pm Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm Sat, 10am-2pm Sun) whose multilingual staff field general questions and make hotel and ticket bookings. From April to October extended hours may apply. Brandenburg Gate ( 10am-7pm; U-/S-Bahn Brandenburger Tor) In the south wing. Hauptbahnhof ( 8am-10pm; U-/S-Bahn Hauptbahnhof) Near the Europaplatz north exit. Neues Kranzler Eck (Kurfürstendamm 22; 10am-8pm Mon-Sat, 9.30am-6pm Sun; U-Bahn Kurfürstendamm) Travellers with Disabilities › There are ramps and/or lifts in many public buildings, including train stations, museums, concert halls and cinemas. › Most buses and trams are wheelchair-accessible and many U- and S-Bahn stations are equipped with ramps or lifts.

pages: 174 words: 42,316

Look Evelyn, Duck Dynasty Wiper Blades. We Should Get Them.: A Collection of New Essays by David Thorne

call centre

Around her neck, she wore a black choker with a star pendant in the center. Her dark hair, parted in the middle, hung straight down. She looked like a gothic Teletubbie. “Is your girlfriend a Goth?” I’d asked Simon the first time I saw the photo. “No dickhead, she’s a wicken.” “A what?” “She practices Wicca. It’s a modern religion based on pagan rituals.” “Right, so she’s an unemployed Art’s graduate then.” “No, she works in a call centre.” “Did you stop for a photo opportunity on the way to a forest-clearing candle dance?” “No, it was my Grandpa’s funeral.” Apparently Cathy had written and read a poem for the service. Simon showed me the folded A4 program they gave out to those attending. Below a photo of an old man holding a shovel, the poem read; Cry not. I reach to the universe and she embraces me. I welcome her arms.

pages: 179 words: 43,441

The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, collaborative consumption, commoditize, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, digital twin, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, global value chain, Google Glasses, income inequality, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, life extension, Lyft, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Narrative Science, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, personalized medicine, precariat, precision agriculture, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, reshoring, RFID, rising living standards, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, software as a service, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator, Zipcar

The Forum’s Future of Jobs report indicates that significant job losses are likely to span both types. While there has tended to be more unemployment due to automation in sectors in which men dominate such as manufacturing, construction and installation, the increasing capabilities of artificial intelligence and the ability to digitize tasks in service industries indicate that a wide range of jobs are at risk, from positions at call centres in emerging markets (the source of livelihoods for large numbers of young female workers who are the first in their families to work) to retail and administrative roles in developed economies (a key employer for lower-middle class women). Losing a job has negative effects in many circumstances, but the cumulative effect of significant losses across whole job categories that have traditionally given women access to the labour market is a critical concern.

pages: 118 words: 42,837

Coal Black Mornings by Brett Anderson

British Empire, call centre

The line about the ‘ashtray eyes and boot-lace ties’ was a reference to Ian Dury’s ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’, a song we used to play until the grooves wore out, and the picture it paints of two young people fumbling around the beginnings of feeling set against the back-drop of an unfamiliar city’s coal-black winter still manages to stir something in me and takes me back to a sweet forgotten corner of my youth. Looking for work one day in the local job centre, I saw advertised amongst the sea of vacancies at call centres and thinly disguised positions as sex workers a job as a DJ in a local nightspot. It was a place called the Cyprus Tavern, a sticky-floored, subterranean cellar bar on Princess Street, which was at the time home to frightening packs of football fans and herds of belligerent single young men pointedly looking for trouble. It smelled of stale smoke and bleach and spilled beer, and was the sort of place where no one planned to end the evening.

pages: 388 words: 125,472

The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones

anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, bank run, battle of ideas, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, citizen journalism, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, G4S, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, housing crisis, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, James Dyson, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, Monroe Doctrine, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Neil Kinnock, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, open borders, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, stakhanovite, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transfer pricing, union organizing, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent

Despite their populist message, they represented the mentalities of the Establishment in their purest form. While ensuring that people’s anger was directed at immigrants – rather than, say, the City, poverty-paying employers or tax-avoiders – UKIP supported policies that could only benefit the wealthy. Until 2014, the party proposed a flat income tax, which would not only slash the amount of tax that the wealthy pay, but would leave call-centre workers in the same tax bracket as billionaires. Although they eventually U-turned over the policy, UKIP still advocated cutting the top rate of tax. The party wants the abolition of employers’ National Insurance contributions, which would hand bosses a breathtaking £50 billion. They advocate the cutting of 2 million public-sector jobs, which would decimate entire communities. They go further than even the Tories in their support for the dismantling and privatization of the NHS.

Defeating the Establishment’s anti-union mantra would benefit all of us. Democracy in the workplace would also shift the balance of power away from bosses. In Germany, workers elect representatives who promote their interests on company boards, or ‘co-determination’ as it is called. If it is good enough for German workers, it is surely good enough for British workers, and would give them a voice in their supermarkets, call centres, offices and other places of work, instead of treating them as chattels to be exploited. It would need to be complemented by other policies to stop workers being reduced to hire-and-fire fodder to be disposed of at will by employers, such as scrapping zero-hour contracts. An official policy of building full employment is also critical, which has the advantage of best guaranteeing the negotiating power of labour.

When Computers Can Think: The Artificial Intelligence Singularity by Anthony Berglas, William Black, Samantha Thalind, Max Scratchmann, Michelle Estes

3D printing, AI winter, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, blue-collar work, brain emulation, call centre, cognitive bias, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, create, read, update, delete, cuban missile crisis, David Attenborough, Elon Musk,, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, factory automation, feminist movement, finite state, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, natural language processing, Parkinson's law, patent troll, patient HM, pattern recognition, phenotype, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, zero day

The first intelligences will do relatively unskilled jobs like driving and cleaning, followed by bricklaying and machinery operation. Cognitive intelligence has already produced adequate natural language translators. Intelligent agents, such as Apple’s Siri, will understand more and more about what people say, and might even become capable of producing useful replies. It would not be that difficult to produce responses that are no worse than the average third world telephone call centre. Medical expert systems will check diagnoses and medications, and a taxation expert might even be able to gain a basic understanding of the otherwise impenetrable tax laws. One of the last jobs that an AI will probably be able to do effectively is write complex computer programs. That is because that is one of the most cognitively difficult things that we do as humans. An AI would have no difficulty with the logic elements that sometimes confuse human programmers, but developing complex systems requires an understanding of abstract architectures and principles that goes to the core of our cognitive abilities.

Today the results are mixed, but this is also a huge, ongoing area of research, so it will not be long before automated systems can perform the basic functions provided by telephone consultants. And just as with Siri, people will learn how to phrase their questions so that a semi-intelligent automated system can understand them. They will never be as good as talking to an expert, but they could easily become as ineffective as talking to someone in a third world call centre. In combination, these technologies will change the world. Vast amounts of data will be available that describe every aspect of our lives. That may or may not be advantageous to ordinary citizens. That said, it is very unlikely that semi-intelligent computers will be able to perform the high-level thinking that is performed by professionals such as engineers, lawyers or senior bureaucrats. Expert systems that have attempted to do so tend to fail due to their lack of common sense understanding about the world.

pages: 468 words: 124,573

How to Build a Billion Dollar App: Discover the Secrets of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs of Our Time by George Berkowski

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business intelligence, call centre, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation,, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, Paul Graham, QR code, Ruby on Rails, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Travis Kalanick, ubercab, Y Combinator

Once again, that is integrated into the OS, and took significant effort on Apple’s part to make it a reality (think negotiations with every individual mobile network operator). The last serious attempt at a voicemail startup was Spinvox. Despite blowing through $100 million of venture capital,11 everything ended in tears when it was discovered that its speech-to-text technology was little more than overworked call-centre employees transcribing the audio messages themselves.12,13 Voicemail as we know it is probably not a great opportunity, but the broader messaging arena is where the action is proving to be. OTHER MISCELLANEOUS USES, 10 TIMES PER DAY: This catch-all category represents a good 6 per cent of all interactions with mobile phones. So, while the above opportunities are clear and have attracted lots of competitors, there is still big opportunities around not-yet-invented apps, which have the chance to capture our attention in new and novel ways.

In the world of fast-moving technology your advantage is not the hardware (that’s owned by Apple or Samsung or someone else): rather it is the software you create, the experience and emotion that the software delivers, and the supporting experiences, such as customer service. All of this is created and delivered by people. Not just engineers, designers and product people, but also people in call centres, the support teams answering emails and the people within the marketing, operational and administrative roles. Making sure that each and every one of these people is excited to get up and come to work every day is what great CEOs of great companies do. And they accomplish that with culture. Culture at Scale You need to be deliberate in creating – and then preserving – your culture, even in the early days.

Canary Islands Travel Guide by Lonely Planet

AltaVista, call centre, carbon footprint, G4S, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, Kickstarter, low cost airline, low cost carrier, urban sprawl

Most are in Spanish but there are a few shelves of English guides, including Lonely Planet and similar. Boxes & Cigars CIGARS (Calle Tomás Miller 80) If it’s cigars you’re after, this place has a dazzling range on offer, with the boxes just about as attractive as the smokes. Information Internet Access Due to the large number of immigrants in Las Palmas, the city is awash with internet cafes, generally located within locutorios (telephone call centres), which also offer cheap international calls. Wi-fi is increasingly available at midrange and top-end hotels, and occasionally at public spaces and in town centres. Money For the highest concentration of banks with 24-hour ATM machines head for Calle José Franchy Roca, just south of Parque Santa Catalina. Tourist Information The regional tourist authority website is

Check with your mobile provider for more information. Phone Codes »Mobile phone numbers start with 6 »International access code 00 »Canary Islands country code 34 (same as Spain) »Island area codes Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura 928; »Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro 922 »National toll-free number 900 Phonecards You can buy phonecards at tobacco stands, newsstands and at the locutorios (private call centres). In any case, there is an endless variety of phonecards, each with its own pricing scheme. The best card for you will depend on where you plan to call. Time The Canary Islands are on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/UTC), plus an hour in summer for daylight-saving time. The islands keep the same time as the UK, Ireland and Portugal and are always an hour behind mainland Spain and most of Europe.

pages: 140 words: 91,067

Money, Real Quick: The Story of M-PESA by Tonny K. Omwansa, Nicholas P. Sullivan, The Guardian

BRICs, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, cashless society, cloud computing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, financial exclusion, financial innovation, financial intermediation, income per capita, Kibera, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, microcredit, mobile money, Network effects, new economy, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, software as a service, transaction costs

The only risk to the customer is that the merchant could take their money and run, or otherwise defraud them of it, but that is a low-level risk in any buyer-seller transaction. Further, there is no incentive for a merchant to defraud his or her customers, because the merchant would almost instantly be out of business. Customers can call Safaricom’s customer service number (234), where Safaricom has a record of all transactions (of the roughly 300 Safaricom employees dedicated to M-PESA, the vast majority work at the call centre, according to Betty Mwangi). There is, recent events indicate, more danger that scam artists will defraud merchants (who have more money on their phones than customers) by posing as authorities than merchants will defraud customers. Building a nation-wide network of trusted agents who are all independent operators requires a complex balancing act that never quite reaches a steadystate equilibrium.

Lonely Planet Eastern Europe by Lonely Planet, Mark Baker, Tamara Sheward, Anita Isalska, Hugh McNaughtan, Lorna Parkes, Greg Bloom, Marc Di Duca, Peter Dragicevich, Tom Masters, Leonid Ragozin, Tim Richards, Simon Richmond

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, Defenestration of Prague, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, low cost airline, mass immigration, pre–internet, Steve Jobs, the High Line, Transnistria, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl

Pirogov Hospital ( GOOGLE MAP ; %emergency 02-915 4411;; bul General Totleben 21; j4, 5) Sofia’s main public hospital for emergencies. 8Getting There & Away Air Sofia Airport ( GOOGLE MAP ; %info 24hr 02-937 2211;; off bul Brussels; W; g84, mSofia Airport) is 10km east of the city centre. The only domestic flights within Bulgaria are between Sofia and the Black Sea coast. Bulgaria Air ( GOOGLE MAP ; %call centre 02-402 0400;; ul Ivan Vazov 2; h9.30am-noon & 12.30pm-5.30pm Mon-Fri; mSerdika) flies daily to Varna, with two or three daily flights between July and September; the airline also flies to Burgas. Bus Sofia's central bus station (Tsentralna Avtogara; GOOGLE MAP ; %info 0900 63 099;; bul Maria Luisa 100; h24hr; W; mCentral Railway Station) is beside the train station and accessed by the same metro stop.

Seneca Anticafe ( GOOGLE MAP ; %0720-331 100;; Str Arhitect Ion Mincu 1; per hr 8 lei; h9am-10pm; W; j24, 42, 45) Coffee and internet access. 8Getting There & Away Air All international and domestic flights use Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP, Otopeni; GOOGLE MAP ; %arrivals 021-204 1220, departures 021-204 1210;; Şos Bucureşti-Ploieşti; g783), often referred to by its previous name, Otopeni. Henri Coandă is 17km north of Bucharest on the road to Braşov. The airport is a modern facility, with restaurants, newsagents, currency exchange offices and ATMs. It's also the hub for national carrier Tarom ( GOOGLE MAP ; %call centre 021-204 6464, office 021-316 0220;; Spl Independenţei 17, City Centre; h9am-5pm Mon-Fri; mPiaţa Unirii). Tarom has a comprehensive network of internal flights to major Romanian cities as well as to capitals and big cities around Europe and the Middle East. Bus It’s possible to get just about anywhere in the country by bus from Bucharest, but figuring out where your bus or maxitaxi departs from can be tricky.

Romania is not a member of the EU’s common customs and border area, the Schengen area, so even if you’re entering from an EU member state (Bulgaria or Hungary), you’ll still have to show a passport or valid EU identity card. Bus Long-haul bus services remain a popular way of travelling from Romania to Western Europe as well as to parts of southeastern Europe and Turkey. Bus travel is comparable in price to train travel, but can be faster and require fewer connections. Bus services to and from Western Europe are dominated by two companies: Eurolines ( and Atlassib ( GOOGLE MAP ; %021-222 8971, call centre 080-10 100 100;; Str Gheorghe Duca 4; mGara de Nord). Both maintain vast networks from cities throughout Europe to destinations all around Romania. Check the companies' websites for the latest schedules, prices and departure points. For sample prices, a one-way ticket from Vienna to Bucharest costs roughly €70. From Paris, the trip is about €100. Car & Motorcycle Romania has decent road and car-ferry connections to neighbouring countries, and entering the country by car or motorcycle will present no unexpected difficulties.

pages: 174 words: 56,405

Machine Translation by Thierry Poibeau

AltaVista, augmented reality, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, crowdsourcing, easy for humans, difficult for computers,, Google Glasses, information retrieval, Internet of things, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, natural language processing, Necker cube, Norbert Wiener, RAND corporation, Robert Mercer, Skype, speech recognition, statistical model, technological singularity, Turing test, wikimedia commons

In France, the interest was clear from the late 1950s on, and two centers were then created by the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), in Paris and Grenoble. The interest in machine translation was simultaneous with the first computers intended for university centers in France, and was, therefore, the real beginning of computer science in the country. The two centers were called Centre d’Études sur la Traduction Automatique, or CETA: CETAP was located in Paris, and CETAG in Grenoble. The Parisian center encountered financial problems from very early on and had to bear the consequences of the criticism of machine translation that was emerging in the United States. In fact, the center closed a few years later and some researchers, such as Maurice Gross, turned to computational linguistics, stressing the need to first develop rich linguistic resources that offer a broad and systematic description of language.

pages: 717 words: 150,288

Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism by Stephen Graham

addicted to oil, airport security, anti-communist, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, creative destruction, credit crunch, DARPA: Urban Challenge, defense in depth, deindustrialization, digital map, edge city, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, Food sovereignty, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Google Earth, illegal immigration, income inequality, knowledge economy, late capitalism, loose coupling, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, McMansion, megacity, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, one-state solution, pattern recognition, peak oil, planetary scale, private military company, Project for a New American Century, RAND corporation, RFID, Richard Florida, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, smart transportation, surplus humans, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, white flight, white picket fence

Databases captured in the past are continuously processed by computer algorithms to classify, profile, prioritize, exclude and anticipate the future. This is done for any number of reasons: to maximize profitability (withdrawing services from ‘failed’ or unprofitable consumers; profiling neighbourhoods as geo-demographic groups); to customize or personalize services (tailored Web pages); to allow premium users to by-pass congestion (road-priced highways; differential call-centre queueing based on records of customers’ profitability; the ‘prioritized’ switching of Internet packages); to support new means of individualized risk management.26 Because these new trends of digitized consumption and tracking straddle the inside and the outside of the nation-state, they interlock with and facilitate broader shifts towards securocratic war. AUTHORITARIAN RENEWAL ‘Homeland security’ is becoming the point of view through which the urban condition is framed, judged, analysed and consequently designed.27 As securocratic transformation proceeds, welfare states are simultaneously being re-engineered as risk-management systems, geared not towards the social welfare of communities but towards controlling the location, behaviour and future of seemingly risky ‘anti-citizens’.28 Phil Scraton terms this ‘authoritarian renewal’.29 A priori incarcerations, bans, and a creeping mass criminalization begin to puncture already precarious legal norms of due process, habeas corpus, the right to protest, international humanitarian law and the human rights of citizenship.

The bombing of Moscow metro cars by Chechen terrorists in February 2004 and the gassing of Tokyo’s underground railways by the Aum Shinrikyo group in March 1995 also exploited everyday mobility systems to murderous effect. In India, meanwhile, as part of a recent spate of urban atrocities, terrorists have sometimes deliberately targeted the electricity systems that supply the high-tech enclaves which house the city’s well-known global software and call-centre industries.15 Such attacks have raised widespread anxiety about the vulnerabilities of all manner of basic infrastructures that, by definition, pervade the everyday life of every modern urbanite (Figure 8.1). The mailings of anthrax spores, for example, were acts perpetrated through the US postal system in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and killed five people. Or consider the case of the Washington snipers who turned ordinary highways and gas stations in and around the Beltway suburbs into killing fields in October 2002, murdering ten people.

pages: 874 words: 154,810

Lonely Planet Florence & Tuscany by Lonely Planet, Virginia Maxwell, Nicola Williams

Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Costa Concordia, G4S, haute couture, Kickstarter, period drama, post-work, Skype, trade route

Some six-digit national rate numbers are also in use (such as those for Alitalia, and rail and postal information). As elsewhere in Europe, Italians choose from a host of providers of phone plans and rates, making it difficult to make generalisations about costs. International Calls The cheapest options for calling internationally are free or low-cost computer programs such as Skype, cut-rate call centres or international calling cards, which are sold at newsstands and tabacchi. Cut-price call centres can be found in all of the main cities, and rates can be considerably lower than from Telecom Italia payphones for international calls. You simply place your call from a private booth inside the centre and pay for it when you’ve finished. Direct international calls can also easily be made from public telephones with a phonecard. Dial 00 to get out of Italy, then the relevant country and area codes, followed by the telephone number.

pages: 525 words: 153,356

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

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

During the 1990s and 2000s, the richest 10 per cent – a group of business leaders, corporate professionals, financiers, press barons and aristocrats – enjoyed far bigger rises in their income than any other group. In 1998 they possessed more than a quarter of Britain’s income. By 2008 they owned one-third of it. Meanwhile, the least wealthy half of society – millions of pensioners, manual workers, call centre and care home staff, nurses, teaching assistants, cleaners and office workers, as well as those who couldn’t find work or were sick – lived on less than one-quarter of the national income.2 Rising inequality made people unhealthy and unhappy. In their meticulously researched The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett reveal that as economic inequality increased, so too did anxiety disorders and depression.

Superficially my classmates epitomized Britain’s transformation into a middle-class, if not a classless, society. All were in salaried, non-manual positions with impressive titles: they were consultants, administrators and sales executives. Thirty years earlier, 55 per cent of workers had been employed in manual jobs; by the millennium, more than 70 per cent of workers were employed in non-manual work, commonly in sales positions in cafés and call centres, or as data inputters in offices.28 They dressed in smart suits, sported sharp haircuts and most owned at least one car. None was a senior professional (defined by the Census as doctors, academics, politicians, financiers and barristers), but none was unemployed either. Half of them had grown up in council or privately rented houses or flats, but only one of them now lived in rented accommodation.

pages: 928 words: 159,837

Florence & Tuscany by Lonely Planet

Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, European colonialism, haute couture, Kickstarter, period drama, post-work, sensible shoes, Skype, trade route, urban planning

Some six-digit national rate numbers are also in use (such as those for Alitalia, rail and postal information). As elsewhere in Europe, Italians choose from a host of providers of phone plans and rates, making it difficult to make generalisations about costs. International Calls The cheapest options for calling internationally are free or low-cost computer programs such as Skype, cut-rate call centres or international calling cards, which are sold at news-stands and tobacconists. Cut-price call centres can be found in all of the main cities, and rates can be considerably lower than from Telecom payphones for international calls. You simply place your call from a private booth inside the centre and pay for it when you’ve finished. Direct international calls can also easily be made from public telephones with a phonecard. Dial 00 to get out of Italy, then the relevant country and area codes, followed by the telephone number.

pages: 162 words: 56,627

Top 10 Venice by Gillian Price

call centre, centre right, G4S, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Murano, Venice glass

Venice ( Pocket Another useful free three-monthly bilingual magazine that lists exhibitions, not to mention bars and eateries all around town. ) Websites As well as the Tourist Board sites (see directory), www.meeting For entertainment in Venice See pp66–7 and www.a in Italian and English are excellent sources of information and have an incredible number and array of useful links for in-depth exploration. Tourist Offices Venice • 041 529 8711 (call centre) Ferrovia S Lucia (railway station) • 041 529 8727 Piazza S Marco 71/f • 041 529 8740 Venice Pavilion • Giardinetti Reali, S Marco 2 • 041 522 5150 Piazzale Roma, Garage Comunale • 041 529 8746 Airport • 041 541 5887 Gran Viale 6, Lido • 041 526 5721 (summer only) Padua Piazzale della Stazione • 049 875 2077 • www. Vicenza Piazza Matteotti 12 • 044 432 0854 • Verona Via degli Alpini 9 • 045 806 8680 • www. Getting Around Venice Directions Boat Fares City !

Affluenza: When Too Much Is Never Enough by Clive Hamilton, Richard Denniss

call centre, delayed gratification, experimental subject, full employment, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, mega-rich, Naomi Klein, Own Your Own Home, post-materialism, post-work, purchasing power parity, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, wage slave

CHAPTER 5 1 Reserve Bank of Australia, ‘Household debt: what the data show’, Reserve Bank of Australia Bulletin, RBA, Sydney, March 2003, Table 1. 2 National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, ‘Household debt in Australia—walking the tightrope’, AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report, issue 9, NATSEM, Canberra, November 2004, Table 8. 3 Inspector-General in Bankruptcy, Annual Report, 2003–2004, Insolvency and Trustee Service of Australia, Canberra, 2004. 4 Dun and Bradstreet, ‘D&B expands call centre capacity with Datacom to meet growth in debt business’, 9 July 2002, <> [11 January 2005]. 5 Insolvency and Trustee Service of Australia, Annual reports, various issues, ITSA, Canberra. 6 Paul Brennan (Citigroup), cited in Matt Wade, ‘Exports a chink in Howard’s economic armour’, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 September 2004. 201 AFFLUENZA 7 Don Harding, Matt Hammill, Anne Leahy and Peter Summers, ING – Melbourne Institute Household Saving Report, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, June quarter 2001, pp. 6–7. 8 National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, op. cit., Figure 12.

Player One by Douglas Coupland

Albert Einstein, call centre, double helix, Marshall McLuhan, neurotypical, oil shock, peak oil, post-oil, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), uranium enrichment, Y2K

I think the division point between where life begins and ends is far murkier than we might think. The only other sounds I can hear around me down inside Daffy Duck’s hole, other than nature sounds, are prayers and curses; they’re the only sounds with the power to cross over to wherever it is I am. Do prayers create electrical fields? Is that how they cross the universe? Who’s to say? I have no idea how cellphones connected me to call centres in Mumbai, but they still did it. Poor humanity, praying and cursing and praying and cursing. What is to become of us as a species? A part of me doesn’t worry about us. If we can breed wolves into wiener dogs in ten generations, what might we do with a billion years? Never mind what God might do with a billion years. Human existence has been so short. For every person currently alive, there are nineteen dead people who lived before us.

pages: 614 words: 176,458

Meat: A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Boris Johnson, call centre, carbon footprint, Community Supported Agriculture, deindustrialization,, food miles, Food sovereignty, Haber-Bosch Process, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Just-in-time delivery, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, megacity, Northern Rock, Panamax, peak oil, refrigerator car, scientific mainstream, sexual politics, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

And that is indeed what has happened. Urban populations have swelled to previously unimaginable proportions as a result of India’s failure to control its population, which has doubled since Harris was writing in 1973, and its green revolution, which benefits commercial farmers able to afford fertilizers and tractors at the expense of small farmers. Meanwhile the foreign exchange pouring into the computer and call centre industries has led to the rise of an Americanized middle class whose allegiance to cow worship, even from those who remain nominally Hindu, is slim. ‘Junk food is fashionable. Eating meat is regarded as progressive. Modernization is equated with changing from being vegetarian to non-vegetarian, even while the rest of the world attempts to reverse this trend.’41 Abattoirs meeting modern standards of hygiene are constructed on the edge of the new conurbations.

A non-vegetarian Muslim Bangladeshi eats less meat per capita than a partly vegetarian Indian because Bangladeshis are poorer.57 In other words, members of India’s Hindu elite are rejecting its 2,000 year old dietary obligations, and choosing a western diet, just as they are choosing to wear western clothes, listen to western music, speak a western language, and adopt a western name when they work in the call centre. The worry is that the beef that was once reserved for India’s poor is being replaced by goat meat for its wealthy. Although Marvin Harris is observing from a western meat-eating perspective, and Maneka Gandhi, 25 years later, from an Indian vegetarian perspective, their views and conclusions are similar. Gandhi, towards the end of her essay, states: I do not think that India can be seen in terms of capitalists or communists, it is instead a cowdung economy.

Croatia by Anja Mutic, Vesna Maric

call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, friendly fire, G4S, haute cuisine, low cost airline, low cost carrier, starchitect

Marinero CAFE-BAR (Rudina 46) A cult gathering spot for Bol locals, up the stairs from the seafront (follow the sign), with a leafy terrace on a square, live music on some nights and a diverse merry-making crowd. Information There are several ATMs in town, and many money changers in the port area. Bol Tours ( 635 693;; Vladimira Nazora 18) Books excursions, rents cars and finds private accommodation. Interactiv ( 091 57 25 855; Rudina 6; per hr 30KN; May-Oct) A dozen fast computers and a call centre. Most cafes have wi-fi and there are several hotspots around town (for a fee). More ( 642 050;; Vladimira Nazora 28) Private accommodation, scooter rental, island tours and excursions. Tourist Office ( 635 638;; Porat Bolskih Pomoraca bb; 8.30am-10pm Jul & Aug, 8.30am-2pm & 4-9pm May, Jun & Sep) Inside a Gothic 15th-century townhouse; a good source of information on town events and distributes plenty of brochures.

Del Primi ( 091 58 37 864;; Burak 23) Travel agency specialising in private accommodation. Also rents jet skis. Fontana Tours ( 742 133;; Riva 18) Finds private accommodation, runs excursions, books boat taxis around the island and handles rentals. It has a romantic and isolated two-person apartment on Palmižana (600KN per night). Francesco (Burak bb; per hr 30KN; 8.30am-midnight) Internet cafe and call centre right behind the post office. Left luggage (35KN per day) and laundry service (50KN per load). Pelegrini Tours ( 742 743;; Riva bb) Private accommodation, boat tickets to Italy with Blue Line, excursions (its daily trips to the Pakleni Islands are popular) and bike, scooter and boat rental. Post Office (Riva 19; 7am-9pm Mon-Sat) Make phone calls here. Tourist Office ( 741 059;; 8am-2pm & 3-9pm Jul & Aug, 8am-2pm & 4-6pm Mon-Sat May, Jun, Sep & Oct, 8am-2pm Mon-Fri, 8am-noon Sat Nov-Apr) Right on Trg Svetog Stjepana.

pages: 206 words: 69,645

Confessions of a GP by Benjamin Daniels

call centre, placebo effect

The majority of our patients were dying of AIDS-related illnesses or malaria. There were no anti-AIDS drugs (antiretrovirals, ARVs) and even our malaria medication supply was low because of a robbery at the hospital pharmacy (an inside job). Meanwhile, 30 miles outside of town, Rachel, a 22-year-old from Glasgow with no letters after her name, really was saving lives. Rachel had dropped out of her sociology degree and had been working in a call centre before deciding to come and do some voluntary work in Mozambique. She had raised some sponsorship from back home and was touring the rural villages with a troop of local women. All she had at her disposal was a basketful of free condoms and a few hundred subsidised mosquito nets. Accompanied by information and education in the form of songs and posters, her campaign was a raging success. She later e-mailed me to say that malaria deaths had reduced and that she was hoping to have an equally good result with HIV transmission rates.

pages: 317 words: 71,776

Inequality and the 1% by Danny Dorling

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, buy and hold, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, David Attenborough, David Graeber, delayed gratification, Dominic Cummings, double helix, Downton Abbey,, Etonian, family office, financial deregulation, full employment, Gini coefficient, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, land value tax, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, lump of labour, mega-rich, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, TaskRabbit, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, very high income, We are the 99%, wealth creators, working poor

All of these factors have negative effects on our overall health and happiness. A government that wanted to improve public health would promote the employment of more conductors on buses and trains – not least in order to encourage people to use them instead of cars. It would promote more face-to-face interactions at post offices, rather than more impersonal, labour-saving and apparently efficient work through demoralising call centres. We would see more teachers, smaller class sizes in schools, and fewer executives paid millions of pounds a year. All this in the past created the dual benefits of increased and sustainable employment and increased social capital. In the words of John Kay, writing in the Financial Times, ‘policy to give the low-paid more money rather than benefits is worthy of debate and only a rabid ideologue could fail to appreciate that pay is not purely a question of productivity; it is also a question of bargaining.’78 Left in the control of the 1 per cent, the not-so-free market can destroy jobs and livelihoods faster than it creates them.

pages: 246 words: 71,594

Talk to the Tail: Adventures in Cat Ownership and Beyond by Tom Cox

call centre, Google Earth, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Living with several cats, in a British market town, in a house built into a hill, by the main route to and from the local dispensers of alcoholic beverages – a B road that’s one of the busiest in East Mendleham, and which souped-up Peugeots and Subarus speed down on a Friday night – I am doomed never to be so certain. I can’t think of any obvious reason my cats have decided to make their weekly Party Night coincide with that of the human population of East Mendleham. Each one of the furry schemers in my house has his or her clandestine double life, but I find it hard to believe that any of these would extend to a nine-to-five job working in a call centre, and its concomitant end-of-week stress-relief session. It’s not as if it gets to Friday afternoon and the six of them think, ‘You know what? I’m really pooped from five days of sleeping on the sofa, repeatedly cleaning my bottom and having my every whim catered for. What I really need to do is unwind.’ Nonetheless, the end of their working week is the time they choose to slaughter more voles, the night when they meow the loudest, the night when their need to wander and fight and carouse seems most unquenchable.

pages: 217 words: 73,289

Tails I Lose: The Compulsive Gambler Who Lost His Shirt for Good by Justyn Rees

call centre, payday loans, South China Sea

I cursed myself for not grabbing my coat and contemplated going back inside for it. A quick glance at my watch told me there was no time left and, in any case, I would run the risk of waking Emma. I pulled at my collar and huddled closer to the wall as I dialled the number of my bank. A quick automated check of my balance told me my salary had just been deposited. Good. Then I entered the number sequence that would take me through to the bank’s call centre. It seemed to take forever. They probably didn’t get many calls at this time of night. “Good morning,” I said when I finally got through. “I’d like to make a transfer between my accounts, please.” I was paid by automated transfer on the same day of each month and the money always hit my account at 2 a.m. The payday lenders knew this as well and they had my debit card details. They would always try and reclaim the full amount, but if they couldn’t take it all, they took all they could.

pages: 232 words: 77,956

Private Island: Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else by James Meek

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, business continuity plan, call centre, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, Etonian, HESCO bastion, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Martin Wolf, medical bankruptcy, Mikhail Gorbachev, post-industrial society, pre–internet, price mechanism, Right to Buy, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Washington Consensus, working poor

Greg Thomson, Unison’s head of strategic organisation, told me that since it crossed the Channel, EDF had gone against prevailing management orthodoxy by reinstating a final salary pension scheme for workers. Unison was given seats with the CGT in an EDF/union body, a ‘European Works Council’, and enough leverage over EDF management to get union recognition for previously non-union workers at a call centre in Sunderland. ‘When London Electricity was privatised, we adopted a policy of returning it to public ownership, and I’m pleased to think I delivered on that,’ Thomson said. ‘Obviously to the wrong nation, but you can’t be too picky.’ Yet EDF’s foreign adventures make Unison’s French counterparts suspicious. They don’t understand why Britain gave away its native electricity industry so easily.

pages: 253 words: 79,214

The Money Machine: How the City Works by Philip Coggan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, algorithmic trading, asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital controls, carried interest, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, endowment effect, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, Hyman Minsky, index fund, intangible asset, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, labour market flexibility, large denomination, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, merger arbitrage, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, pattern recognition, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, technology bubble, time value of money, too big to fail, tulip mania, Washington Consensus, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

In part, this was because some of the banks had invested in the complex CDOs that proved so difficult to value when the housing market turned down. But it was also because British banks had moved to the originate and distribute model. When the credit crunch hit, some of those banks were particularly vulnerable. The Northern Rock Collapse Building up a base of retail deposits takes time and resources. Either you need a big base of branches (with lots of costly property and staff), a call centre to handle consumer enquiries or you need to offer a high return to attract the rate tarts who surf the internet. The originate and distribute model seemed to offer a quicker and easier route to gain market share. Instead of waiting for deposits to build up, a bank could go out and make the mortgage loans it desired and then sell those loans in the financial markets. Provided it received a higher rate from homeowners than it paid in the market, such a strategy would be profitable.

pages: 286 words: 79,305

99%: Mass Impoverishment and How We Can End It by Mark Thomas

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, autonomous vehicles, bank run, banks create money, bitcoin, business cycle, call centre, central bank independence, complexity theory, conceptual framework, creative destruction, credit crunch, declining real wages, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of work, Gini coefficient, gravity well, income inequality, inflation targeting, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Nelson Mandela, North Sea oil, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Own Your Own Home, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, wealth creators, working-age population

Even recreation will be changed out of all recognition: sports clothing and equipment will improve dramatically; musical instruments will be 3-D printed at low cost and high quality; and virtual reality will transform the experience of playing computer games. These new technologies also enable a wide range of services to be automated – from care of the elderly16 to manning the telephones in call-centres.17 In Japan, there is already a hotel staffed almost entirely by robots.18 Perhaps even more importantly, new business models become possible. Smart cities, for example, which aim, in the words of the Smart Cities Council, to improve: 1. Liveability: Cities that provide clean, healthy living conditions without pollution and congestion. With a digital infrastructure that makes city services instantly and conveniently available anytime, anywhere. 2.

pages: 240 words: 74,182

This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality by Peter Pomerantsev

"side hustle", 4chan, active measures, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, call centre, citizen journalism, desegregation, Donald Trump, Etonian, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, illegal immigration, mass immigration, mega-rich, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Skype, South China Sea

‘The disinformation architect’, concludes Ong, ‘denies responsibility or commitment to the broader public by narrating a personal project of self-empowerment instead.’ Below the architects came the ‘influencers’, online comedians who, in between posting the latest jokes, made fun of opposing politicians for a fee. Down in the slums of the disinformation architecture were what Ong called the ‘community-level fake account operators’: call centres full of people working twenty-four-hour shifts, paid by the hour, with one person manning dozens of social media personas. They could be either someone who needed a little extra cash (students or nurses, for example) or campaign staff. Ong interviewed one operator, Rina, who had been forced into the work when she joined a mayoral campaign. She had signed on out of idealism and had been at the top of her class at university.

pages: 491 words: 77,650

Humans as a Service: The Promise and Perils of Work in the Gig Economy by Jeremias Prassl

3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, call centre, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market friction, means of production, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, pattern recognition, platform as a service, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, remote working, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Singh, software as a service, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, transaction costs, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, two tier labour market, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, working-age population

The promise of freedom, finally, rings equally hollow, with platforms’ busi- ness models making it difficult for workers to assert their fundamental rights, including the freedom to form a union and bargain collectively. Most operators are unsurprisingly hostile to any efforts at organizing genuinely independent worker representation. When unionization was on the cards in Seattle, Uber’s call-centre representatives were instructed to ring up drivers and ‘share some thoughts’ about how ‘collective bargaining and unioniza- tion do not fit the characteristics of how most partners use the Uber platform’.69 * * * 66 Lost in the Crowd As former New York Times correspondent Steven Greenhouse notes: In many ways, digital on-demand workers face far more obstacles to organiz- ing and being heard than workers in the traditional economy.

pages: 273 words: 76,786

Explore Everything by Bradley Garrett

airport security, Burning Man, call centre, creative destruction, deindustrialization, double helix, dumpster diving, failed state, Google Earth, Hacker Ethic, Jane Jacobs, Julian Assange, late capitalism, megacity, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, place-making, shareholder value, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, urban planning, white flight, WikiLeaks

The organisation of urban explorer groups, again, mirrors that of computer hackers, which in turn, as journalists Arthur and Halliday wrote about the now-defunct hacker group Lulzsec, ‘mirror those of street gangs, where the talk is of respect, attacks, who can be trusted, who the enemies are (usually law enforcement and rival gangs), whose ground belongs to who, and who has accomplished what’.52 Explorers I met from the UK, United States, Sweden, France, Australia, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands include a number of people with various jobs – a social housing worker, a manager at Asda, a bus driver, a church leader, an exotic dancer, a cleaner, film and music students, an owner of a construction company, a few professional freelance photographers, a joiner, a banker, a call centre worker, a lighting engineer, a special constable, a dentist, a geography teacher and, unsurprisingly, a number of people working in software, IT and web design, who might also be considered hackers in the virtual sense. Obviously, in order to have the opportunity for these sorts of engagements with the city, one must be secure enough financially and have enough free time that investing the hours necessary to research and explore sites can be accomplished.

Culture Shock! Costa Rica 30th Anniversary Edition by Claire Wallerstein

anti-communist, bilateral investment treaty, call centre, card file, fixed income, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, out of africa, Silicon Valley, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban sprawl

Costa Rica WHAT KIND OF BUSINESS? The Costa Rican economy is changing rapidly, with agriculture being downgraded and clothing factories declining in the face of cheaper competition from Asia. The country is now trying to re-model itself as a suitable location for high technology industries, foreign In 1988, Intel opened a huge companies’ operation centres for microprocessor plant in the human resources, call centres, country (the country’s GDP figures are now given both conferences and conventions. ‘with’ and ‘without’ Intel), while As an investor, it’s important Procter and Gamble has set up to think extremely carefully about its services and payroll division here to cover all its operations the sort of business you want to from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. set up, especially if your scope Lucent Technologies, Panasonic, is small.

pages: 313 words: 84,312

We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater

1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics,, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Whole Earth Catalog, Zipcar

An organisation that wants to match Google’s capacity for innovation needs to match its work culture. Google is the most striking example of a company that has taken elements of We-Think-style work into the corporate world and created an extremely potent mutant: a money-making machine that espouses open-source values. Of course it is ridiculous to imagine that most work could be like this in future. Call centres and retail outlets will be experience and service factories: highly regimented, delivering a high-quality, low-cost service. Trading floors in banks are financial-services factories. Even young scientists complain that lab work is highly repetitive and boring. Yet large organisations will increasingly feel the gravitational pull of open and participative ways of working. Traditional firms will have to become more democratic, open and egalitarian if they are to match the appeal of We-Think work.

pages: 212 words: 80,393

Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain by Lisa McKenzie

British Empire, call centre, credit crunch, delayed gratification, falling living standards, financial exclusion, full employment, income inequality, low skilled workers, moral panic, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, unpaid internship, urban renewal, working poor

The men talked about the hopelessness of ever getting a job that offered economic stability and respect among their friends and family; they knew that getting a low-skilled, low-paid job would not give them a valued identity they needed to live on this estate, or even the means to live as ‘a proper family’, which was usually more of an aspiration for the future than a reality in the present. When I spoke to Dread about working and getting a job, his reaction was typical of many of the men on the estate: “There’s no jobs here for anyone, what can I do now, I used to work for the council as a gardener, I liked that but that’s gone now, I’m not doing no gay job in a call centre.” Robert MacDonald et al (2005) have used the term ‘displaced masculinities’ to describe the disengagement and difficulties young working-class men encounter in the transition from youth to adulthood, with the absence of ‘masculine employment’ offering status and respect. In this neighbourhood, status and respect are important resources, and to look for employment that may diminish local respect and status carries far too much risk and too much loss.

CultureShock! Egypt: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (4th Edition) by Susan L. Wilson

air freight, anti-communist, call centre, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, land reform, RAND corporation, telemarketer, trade route

MANAGING YOUR MONEY: BANKS For a listing of Egyptian banks, addresses and phone numbers go to: Some Egyptian banks have Internet sites, for example: „ Banque Misr Website: „ Alwatany Bank of Egypt Website: „ Banque du Caire Website: Emergency Numbers (Cairo) „ „ „ American Express (24 hour customer service) Tel: (02) 2480-1530 Visa Card (Lost Cards) Tel: (toll free in Cairo) 510-0200-866-654-0128 (outside Cairo) 02-510-0200-866-654-0128 Western Union Money Transfer Tel: (02) 2755-5165 (Heliopolis); (02) 2796-2151 (Garden City) Website: (Click “Find A Location”) Resource Guide 311 TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS Train information/reservations Tel: (02) 2575-3555 Country and City Codes The country code for Egypt is 20 Selected City Codes Cairo Alexandria Aswan Luxor Hurghada 2 3 97 95 65 Telephone Service „ „ „ Mobinil (Their mobile numbers always start with ‘012’) Nile City Bldg. 2005C, Cornishe El-Nil, Ramlet-Boulaq Customer Service: 16110 (from any line); 110 (from a Mobinil line) Website: Vodafone Egypt (formerly Click GSM. Their mobile numbers always start with ‘010’) Vodafone C2 Bldg., Cairo Telemarketing: (02) 2529-4444 (Sun to Thurs 9am to 5pm) Customer Service: 16888 (from any line) Telecom Egypt (Landline service) Call centre: 111 (24 hours daily) Important Telephone Numbers „ International Operator 120 For Telephone Complaints „ HQ (Troubleshooting) 188 312 CultureShock! Egypt INTERNET CAFÉS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS „ „ „ „ Internet Egypt 2 Midan Simon Bolivar, Ground Floor, Garden City, Cairo Tel: 19665; fax: (02) 2794-9611 Email: Website: At Internet Egypt, you can get free through DSL service (at a reasonable rate) and it has four cybercafés throughout Cairo.

pages: 259 words: 85,514

The Knife's Edge by Stephen Westaby

Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Boris Johnson, call centre, Kickstarter, presumed consent, stem cell, Stephen Hawking

When it rang, my mother stirred, coughed, then dribbled blood-stained fluid from her nose. The same ridiculous process began once again, with the same inane questions. I made it clear that I did not want an ambulance to bring my mother to hospital. The conversation was going nowhere. Our situation was deteriorating and I sensed that there was no help to be had. ‘I will get our medical officer [the one sitting in the call centre directing traffic] to call you on this number,’ the frustrated woman eventually told me. After further delay the doctor called, and I left him in no doubt about the nature of the situation and what I believed should happen. Even he took some persuading, but he agreed to send the single GP covering the whole region. I just wanted my poor mother to have some morphine. In the meantime, Sarah the nurse made her as comfortable as possible, moistening her lips and cooling her brow with a cold flannel.

pages: 472 words: 80,835

Life as a Passenger: How Driverless Cars Will Change the World by David Kerrigan

3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, butterfly effect, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chris Urmson, commoditize, computer vision, congestion charging, connected car, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, edge city, Elon Musk,, future of work, invention of the wheel, Just-in-time delivery, loss aversion, Lyft, Marchetti’s constant, Mars Rover, megacity, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nash equilibrium, New Urbanism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, Snapchat, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, traffic fines, transit-oriented development, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

To help deliver the benefits that driverless cars can bring in the majority of everyday driving scenarios, we need a solution to help the driverless cars make decisions in unfamiliar conditions. Just as we insist that learner drivers are accompanied by an experienced driver, companies are working to create similar backup advisors for driverless cars. In the event that a driverless car encounters a situation it cannot safely navigate, it will be able to call on the services of a remote contact centre for support. The operator in the call centre can temporarily access all the car’s sensor data and make a decision about how best to proceed. New instructions can then be sent to the car - and the driverless car’s software can learn from its experience, and then share that experience with all other driverless cars. For example, if the car was confused by an unmapped construction zone temporarily requiring cars to “illegally” cross solid lines to navigate an obstacle, the remote operator could “reassure” the driverless car that it was ok to do so.

pages: 310 words: 85,995

The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties by Paul Collier

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, assortative mating, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Bob Geldof, bonus culture, business cycle, call centre, central bank independence, centre right, Commodity Super-Cycle, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, full employment, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, greed is good, income inequality, industrial cluster, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, late capitalism, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, negative equity, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, rent control, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, too big to fail, trade liberalization, urban planning, web of trust, zero-sum game

Home owners become trapped by negative equity, and struggle to move to the booming cities where homes are much more expensive. The fall in the price of commercial property indeed attracts some activities, but they are the stuff that forms the underbelly of the national economy: warehouses that serve the local region; low-productivity manufacturers that can only survive if their premises are very cheap; call centres that rely upon cheap premises and low-waged, casual labour. As the city fills up with such activities, property prices and wages partially recover, but the city has stumbled into a cul-de-sac. These activities are low skilled, and so the workforce is no longer participating in the ever-rising productivity of complex specialization.1 The superstar firms in the metropolis remain at the technology frontier and so the metropolitan population benefits from rising incomes, but neither the technology nor the incomes trickle down to the broken cities.

pages: 274 words: 85,557

DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops and You by Misha Glenny

Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, Brian Krebs, BRICs, call centre, Chelsea Manning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, illegal immigration, James Watt: steam engine, Julian Assange, MITM: man-in-the-middle, pirate software, Potemkin village, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stuxnet, urban sprawl, white flight, WikiLeaks, zero day

A researcher for McAfee in Hamburg, Dirk Kolberg, began to monitor this operation. He followed the scareware back to its source in East Asia and found that the administrator of IM’s servers had left some ports wide open, so Kolberg was at liberty to wander into the server and peruse it at will. What he uncovered was quite breathtaking. Innovative Marketing was making so much money that it had established three call centres – one for English speakers, one for German and one for French – to assist baffled customers who were trying to install their non-functioning products. Kolberg worked out from trawling through the receipts he also found on the server that the scareware scam had generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the management, in one of the most theatrical examples of Internet crime. Beyond scareware, there are pump-and-dump schemes, which involve hackers moving into financial sites and digitally inflating share prices, before selling their holdings and then allowing the stock to collapse.

pages: 273 words: 83,802

Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats by Maya Goodfellow

Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, collective bargaining, colonial rule, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, European colonialism, falling living standards, G4S, housing crisis, illegal immigration, low skilled workers, mass immigration, megacity, moral panic, open borders, race to the bottom, Right to Buy, Scientific racism, Winter of Discontent, working poor

In the February after her comments, public opinion polls suggested the number of people who thought immigration was an urgent issue went from 9 per cent to 21 per cent.64 The far right is dangerous and toxic – to peremptorily dismiss it would be to underestimate it. It is not the same as ‘the centre’. But aggressive, fascistic groups aren’t a peculiarity entirely disconnected from the normal state of affairs and they don’t just begin to be a threat when they do well electorally.65 Moreover, it’s not just the far right that produces anti-immigration politics. People in the so-called centre believe that if they take on some of the far right’s arguments, they can control them and make them reasonable. They embrace cheap, jingoistic or unthinking nationalism, which already decorates tabloid front pages, with the claim it will somehow help to address social anxieties. By assuming that they don’t reproduce racist politics – by believing that it is only the far right who do this – they would rather issue condemnations than reflect on how their own politics might reinforce or contain within it xenophobic and racist attitudes.

pages: 302 words: 84,881

The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy by Paolo Gerbaudo

Airbnb, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, call centre, centre right, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, gig economy, industrial robot, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Mark Zuckerberg, Network effects, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, post-industrial society, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, Ruby on Rails, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, software studies, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas L Friedman, universal basic income, Vilfredo Pareto, WikiLeaks

For example, as of 2017, Google counted a total of 61,814 employees worldwide, far smaller than the number of General Motors employees, which stood at 180,000 as of December 2017, down from 600,000 in 1979, despite being a fraction of Google in terms of annual turnover. The bulk of new jobs that have been created by the digital revolution and its transformation of the world of work tend instead to be lowly qualified and lowly paid jobs. This trend is epitomised by the rapid growth of causalised workers such as call centre workers, riders for delivery companies such as Deliveroo, Uber drivers or warehouse workers as those of Amazon104 among many other typical profiles of the so-called ‘gig economy’.105 These figures can be considered as part of the ‘precariat’, an emerging class which, in his General Theory of the Precariat, Italian activist and theorist Alex Foti describes as ‘the underpaid, underemployed, underprotected, overeducated, and overexploited’.106 What is more, many fear the job-destroying avalanche of the incoming second automation revolution, with robots predicted to eliminate many manual jobs such as drivers substituted by self-driving cars, and artificial intelligence threatening to destroy clerical jobs, such as those in the legal and accounting sectors.

pages: 291 words: 90,771

Upscale: What It Takes to Scale a Startup. By the People Who've Done It. by James Silver

Airbnb, augmented reality, Ben Horowitz, blockchain, business process, call centre, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, DevOps, family office, future of work, Google Hangouts, high net worth, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

On the consumer side it was literally phone calls to our “customer care” line that used to come through to my personal mobile in the early years because we didn’t have any customer care, and it was things like “My food’s late” or “They forgot my popadoms” or “I thought it came with fries”. So we’d then have to call the restaurants ourselves to sort it out. ‘It was painful and difficult in those early years as a bootstrapped business, and as soon as we had the capital we started employing a call centre, thank the Lord. But operations for us, particularly in the early days, was gritty at a very local level, dealing with real issues from real customers in real time, and the same for restaurant owners. We used to have restaurants’ money, because obviously often it’d be paid by credit card over the web. We used to reconcile their accounts with us every two weeks, but of course some restaurants, which are small businesses, would be calling us up to ask when the money was coming because they needed to pay their staff.

pages: 263 words: 80,594

Stolen: How to Save the World From Financialisation by Grace Blakeley

"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, asset-backed security, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, David Graeber, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, G4S, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land value tax, light touch regulation, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, payday loans, pensions crisis, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Right to Buy, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, road to serfdom, savings glut, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transfer pricing, universal basic income, Winter of Discontent, working-age population, yield curve, zero-sum game

But as this debt has dried up, the stagnation created by a system premised upon rising inequality has been revealed. Economics increasingly resembles a zero-sum game, in which more for one group means less for another. And those with the political power are using it to monopolise the shrinking gains from growth for themselves. As long as the foundations of our finance-led growth model remain the same, then these contradictions will continue to escalate. In this febrile political climate, the so-called centre — committed to propping up the status quo — cannot hold. When the liberal establishment decries the rise of “populism”, they are demonstrating once again that they lack any understanding of the current political moment. The disdain directed at those who attempt to create political change outside of the “civilised” institutions of liberal democracy involves a total failure to understand that those institutions no longer work — something that is quite easy to forget when you are situated comfortably inside them.

pages: 362 words: 95,782

Stephen Fry in America by Stephen Fry

Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Columbine, Donald Trump, illegal immigration, intermodal, jimmy wales, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra

I wouldn’t know an ‘intermodal facility’ from a lettuce leaf. The important fact for our purposes is that there is a whole separate network within the main Highway System, the Eisenhower Interstate System–the equivalent of our motorway network but more, so much more. The Eisenhower Interstate System You might blanch at the prospect of me enlarging any further on this subject, but–as they say in call centres–bear with me, it really is jolly interesting. It concerns, after all, the greatest public-works project in the history of our species. In the 1950s, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his administration released the budget and set in motion the creation of an enormous network of major roads, connecting all the great metropolitan areas of America. Those who fought in Europe had been mightily impressed by the German autobahn system and the American automobile industry, amongst other pressure groups, was desperate for the United States to have something similar.

Fearsome Particles by Trevor Cole

call centre, clean water, Khartoum Gordon, late fees, MITM: man-in-the-middle

We have to figure out, vis-à-vis our regular window screens, do we charge more for a window filter because it filters out stuff, or do we charge less because it won’t let you see outside?” Across from him, Sandy emitted a long, loud sigh. “Well, you know, hey, it’s an issue. So, okay …” He drew his pen down the list on his pad. “… acceptance … pricing … Next one, customer service. I think we should plan on establishing a toll-free customer service number, and staffing up with call-centre people, to take the calls from customers who’ve had the filters installed and want to know how the hell they’re supposed to see outside.” Sandy had begun to agitate in her swivelling chair like the vanes of a washing machine. “Thank you, Mr. Negativity!” “Once we solve those issues” – Trick made his face and voice sunshine bright – “I think we got a winner!” Sandy stopped hard and faced Gerald with a hand pointing at Trick.

pages: 317 words: 98,745

Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace by Ronald J. Deibert

4chan, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Brian Krebs, call centre, citizen journalism, cloud computing, connected car, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, failed state, Firefox, global supply chain, global village, Google Hangouts, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, invention of writing, Iridium satellite, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, planetary scale, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, South China Sea, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, Turing test, undersea cable, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, zero day

The purpose was to find the dissident needle in the haystack. As the London Review of Books reported: Of the 50 million subscribers ThorpeGlen processed, 48 million effectively belonged to ‘one large group’: they called one another, or their friends called friends of their friends; this set of people was dismissed. A further 400,000 subscriptions could be attributed to a few large ‘nodes’, with numbers belonging to call centres, shops and information services. The remaining groups ranged in size from two to 142 subscribers. Members of these groups only ever called each other – clear evidence of antisocial behaviour – and, in one extreme case, a group was identified in which all the subscribers only ever called a single number at the centre of the web. This section of the ThorpeGlen presentation ended with one word: ‘WHY??’

pages: 309 words: 96,434

Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty First Century City by Anna Minton

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Broken windows theory, call centre, crack epidemic, credit crunch, deindustrialization, East Village, energy security, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, ghettoisation, hiring and firing, housing crisis, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kickstarter, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, race to the bottom, rent control, Richard Florida, Right to Buy, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Spirit Level, trickle-down economics, University of East Anglia, urban decay, urban renewal, white flight, white picket fence, World Values Survey, young professional

While extreme problem families are a very small minority, on the basis of anecdotal evidence there are more of them than there were, with the cocktail of third-generation unemployment and drugs propelling a small number of families, particularly in old industrial areas with little employment, off the rails and into a chaotic existence. Changing trends in behaviour across the social and economic spectrum are also witnessing changes, with a report from the Mental Health Foundation finding that 64 per cent believe people are getting angrier, as the idea of ‘rage’ is linked to more everyday occurrences.76 Shopping rage, trolley rage, call-centre rage, PC rage, pavement rage and, of course, road rage all reflect a mix of increasing individualism and a growing sense of entitlement and frustration in a busy world where time is at a premium, bringing with it a reduced tolerance when things go wrong. When it comes to young people, their sense of entitlement and sensitivity to status and issues of ‘respect’ create a combustible mix. On the one hand a teenager playing loud music from their mobile phone on the bus happens more often than it used to, while on the other, the ‘respect’ culture among young people themselves means teenagers are more likely to respond aggressively when challenged.

pages: 467 words: 92,081

Fragile Lives: A Heart Surgeon’s Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table by Stephen Westaby

call centre, lateral thinking, stem cell

Then someone asked the inevitable. Who was going to pay for ECMO? Who was going to look after it at night? What if? I was tired and irritable so I let rip. Who on earth were they to question our efforts to save a twenty-year-old? So bloody what if we weren’t a transplant centre. She didn’t need a transplant. Her own heart just needed a rest from the battering it had received over the last twenty-four hours. Why was this so-called ‘centre of excellence’ unable to save a kid who’d collapsed within a mile of the hospital? It certainly wasn’t through lack of effort by the medical staff. Just as I was about to lose it altogether I heard that the equipment had arrived. Our patient was already on her way round to theatre, so I went to meet the company representative who’d made an enormous effort to come and help us. He’d already been in Oxford for more than an hour, stuck in traffic while trying to get into the hospital, then driving round in circles to find a parking space – all with mounting levels of frustration and anxiety.

pages: 297 words: 89,206

Social Class in the 21st Century by Mike Savage

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, liberal capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, moral panic, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, old-boy network, precariat, psychological pricing, Sloane Ranger, The Spirit Level, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, very high income, winner-take-all economy, young professional

The percentage of people who know a chief executive also increases steadily across the income spectrum, starting at about 20 per cent for those earning the least, and rising to over 80 per cent of those earning the most: high-income people know chief executives at four times the rate of low-income GBCS respondents. The percentages of people who say they know a sales/shop assistant or factory worker, conversely, decline across the income spectrum: the richest people are as unlikely to know a factory worker (or a catering assistant or call-centre worker or people in a few other positions not mentioned above) as the poorest are to know an aristocrat, despite the fact that there are far more low-income workers than aristocrats in the UK. What we are seeing here is a kind of ‘outlier’ effect. Rather than the key differences lying in the middle of the social structure, between middle and working class, the most arresting differences are at the extremes.

pages: 400 words: 88,647

Frugal Innovation: How to Do Better With Less by Jaideep Prabhu Navi Radjou

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Computer Numeric Control, connected car, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, global supply chain, IKEA effect, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, megacity, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, reshoring, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, software as a service, standardized shipping container, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, women in the workforce, X Prize, yield management, Zipcar

Fixers Expert customers can act as companies’ outsourced service units and help fix the problems of other customers, or address the needs of entire communities of users. For example, Yatango Mobile, an Australian telecoms company, offers phone credit to customers who provide technical support. Launched in February 2013 as a “social telco”, the company is only open to Facebook users and offers up to $5 phone credit for customers who recruit friends on the social network. Furthermore, it has no call centres; all technical support is handed over to members in exchange for call credit. Yatango customers earn 10 cents in phone credit for every technical support question they answer on Yotango’s online self-service forum. CASE STUDY 5 giffgaff: the mobile network run by you In 2008, Gav Thompson, head of brand strategy at O2, a UK mobile telecoms provider, attended a conference on social media in San Francisco.

pages: 382 words: 92,138

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

"Robert Solow", Apple II, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, California gold rush, call centre, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, computer age, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demand response, deskilling, endogenous growth, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, G4S, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, incomplete markets, information retrieval, intangible asset, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, natural language processing, new economy, offshore financial centre, Philip Mirowski, 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

While predictions (and often rumours) about the future of Apple and its products tend to dominate the public (media) discussions on the company, during one of these media frenzies, journalist David Segal, in his New York Times article of 23 June 2012, discussed the company’s great expansion in the retail segment of its business and the prospect of those new jobs. Apple’s demand in the labour market has shown a greater increase in the retail and other services segments of its business as Apple set up more stores, data and call centres around the country. Even with online retailers such as Amazon threatening to disrupt the retail industry, forcing companies to close stores or to focus on online sales, Apple has been eager to increase its stores and focus on complete consumer satisfaction via person-to-person sales in order to boost sales. Segal (2012) documents the wage disparity between the broad employment base in the retail arm of the business and Apple’s top executives.

pages: 282 words: 89,266

Content Provider: Selected Short Prose Pieces, 2011–2016 by Stewart Lee

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Boris Johnson, call centre, centre right, David Attenborough, Etonian, James Dyson, Livingstone, I presume, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Saturday Night Live, sensible shoes, Socratic dialogue, trickle-down economics, wage slave, young professional

Dame Colette Bowe sits alongside her, chief press officer to the late Leon Brittan in the 1970s, and currently chairwoman of the Banking Standards Board. She must be brilliant, as bringing standards to banking is a tough job. Apparently, there’s a Conservative MPs’ Scruples Committee as well. Darren Henley is a former managing director of Classic FM, which is like Radio 3 with all the problematic programmes filleted out, the perfect playlist to keep people calm while they wait on hold for hours for someone in a call centre to answer their phone. “Just one Cornetto! Give it to me! Delicious ice cream. From Italy.” Andrew Fisher is the executive chairman of Shazam, a smartphone app which identifies unknown songs, and with which he has made the world a much duller place, bereft of mystery; crushing the richness of human experience for economic gain, giving you what you want, right here, right now. Perhaps Andrew can now develop an app that can identify what someone has had for dinner from the smell of their farts?

pages: 323 words: 90,868

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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disruptive innovation, 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, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, 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, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, performance metric,, post-work, 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 Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, very high income, working-age population

Either society will find ways to shore up work or develop substitutes for it, or workers will use the political system to undermine the forces disrupting their world. THE POLITICAL CHALLENGE OF PROSPERITY This should be a good problem for mankind to have. An abundance of labour is arguably the point, to the extent that there is one, of technological progress. It is the beginning of the end of the need to work hard to stay alive. A system in which people actively seek out labour they would strongly prefer not to do – manning call centres to handle the complaints of unhappy customers, or carrying packages around a boiling warehouse, for example – is not one society ought to aim to preserve any longer than technologically necessary. If society can find ways to automate such unpleasant tasks, or to share the work more broadly so that individual workers devote fewer of their waking hours to hard, unpleasant labour, that surely represents human progress.

I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan by Steve Coogan

call centre, Celtic Tiger, citation needed, cuban missile crisis, late fees, means of production, negative equity, University of East Anglia, young professional

Me, I took it in my stride, literally shaking at how right, how ruddy correct, it had felt. Throughout that show, I said it a few more times. And I opened all subsequent shows with the same shout. And you know what, it became something of a calling card, voted years later 84th in Channel 4’s 100 Best Catchphrases. And if people to this day shout it out at me, in the street, or when I’m trying to pay for my shopping, or if I ring up a call centre to renew car insurance, or in a doctor’s waiting room if I’m having trouble digesting food, it doesn’t bother me. I’m fine with it. I like it. It makes me feel good and glad. Why wouldn’t it? So if people think it does bother me or that they’re getting one over on me, or that it might be a good way of riling me, they could literally not be further from the truth. I do not give a fucking shit either way.

pages: 279 words: 90,888

The Lost Decade: 2010–2020, and What Lies Ahead for Britain by Polly Toynbee, David Walker

banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, call centre, car-free, centre right, collective bargaining, congestion charging, corporate governance, crony capitalism, David Attenborough, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy transition, Etonian, first-past-the-post, G4S, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global village, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Dyson, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, moral panic, mortgage debt, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, payday loans, pension reform, quantitative easing, Right to Buy, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, smart meter, Uber for X, urban renewal, working-age population

People were left to represent themselves in cases of debt, unfair dismissal, clinical negligence, immigration and schooling. Among the victims were parents left to struggle alone in the family courts. Coram, the children’s charity, was grant-aided to offer parents advice – but only in the form of a single telephone conversation, not face-to-face and certainly not in court. We listened in at its Colchester call centre. Staff were under intense pressure, the phones ringing non-stop. A thousand calls a day went unanswered. One mother was panicking. The court had given her Iranian ex-husband visiting rights, and she feared he would steal their children because he had possession of their passports. Here was an emergency where previously legal aid would have paid for a solicitor to take urgent action; now, she risked losing her children for ever.

pages: 287 words: 92,194

Sex Power Money by Sara Pascoe

Albert Einstein, call centre, Donald Trump, Firefox, gender pay gap, invention of movable type, Louis Daguerre, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Neil Kinnock, phenotype, telemarketer, twin studies, zero-sum game

And in fact, Brighton University made a statement to clarify that ‘the University does not promote sex work as an option to students’. But here is the tricky nature of stigma. When I first heard about the SWOP stall, I absolutely understood why they were there: so that students selling sex to support themselves would know of a qualified resource that could help them. And just as importantly, as a symbol of acceptance, that what they’re doing is not shameful or wrong, that it is a profession alongside working in a call centre or a shop. But I guess why people worry is because if you take the stigma away, if you say, ‘Selling sex is a job just like hairdressing,’ then more people might be encouraged to do it. Is that why we are not averse to whorephobia? Do we think it’s doing a useful job, keeping too many people from selling their bodies to make ends meet? Do we think that being judged and maligned works to put people off?

The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A Twentieth-Century History by David Edgerton

active measures, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, blue-collar work, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, centre right, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Corn Laws, corporate governance, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, deskilling, Donald Davies, double helix, endogenous growth, Etonian, European colonialism, feminist movement, first-past-the-post, full employment, imperial preference, James Dyson, knowledge economy, labour mobility, land reform, land value tax, manufacturing employment, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, packet switching, Philip Mirowski, Piper Alpha, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, trade liberalization, union organizing, very high income, wages for housework, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor

Catering businesses (canteens, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.) were now employing more than food and drink retailers, each more than 1 million.12 The United Kingdom had become a land of servers, waiters and cooks, not of shopkeepers but of shop-workers. Then there were the service industries as they are more usually thought of – the retail banks, the estate agencies, the call centres. By 2000 armies of proletarianized office workers and call-centre operatives were making a mockery of the earlier notion that white-collar work was superior in status to a manual manufacturing job. Finally, there were the public sector and publicly financed service jobs. They were far more important than a politically driven picture of the recent past would suggest. The welfare state continued to grow, and the United Kingdom was far more of a welfare state in 2000 than in 1990 or 1980.13 In both absolute and relative terms such spending was higher at the end of the twentieth century (and higher still in 2018), than it had ever been.

pages: 241 words: 90,538

Unequal Britain: Equalities in Britain Since 1945 by Pat Thane

Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, call centre, collective bargaining, equal pay for equal work, full employment, gender pay gap, longitudinal study, mass immigration, moral panic, Neil Kinnock, old-boy network, pensions crisis, sexual politics, Stephen Hawking, unpaid internship, women in the workforce

The chapters that follow should be read in the context of key aspects of change in Britain since 1945: 4 ● ● ● ● ● U N E Q UA L B R I TA I N Population — 1945 to early 1970s: high birth rate compared with the periods immediately before and after; falling death rate; high marriage rate and low divorce and ‘illegitimacy’ rates; rising immigration, first from Europe then from the Commonwealth — early 1970s to the present: falling birth rate; falling marriage rate; rising divorce and ‘illegitimacy’ rates; increasing life and health expectancy; substantial immigration from the Commonwealth, then increasingly from other European countries and from crisishit countries worldwide. Work — 1945 to 1970s: full employment (for men); high but falling levels of industrial employment; increasing female employment, a large proportion of it part-time — mid-1970s to present: decline of heavy industry; increased service employment, on a spectrum ranging from low-paid (such as fast-food and call-centre industries) to high-paid work (such as financial services) — early 1980s to mid-1990s: high unemployment, particularly among men, older workers and some minority ethnic groups — 1980s to present: increased hours of work and of reported stress at work, but not the extreme shift away from the ‘job for life’ towards short-term contracts often assumed, except in a few sectors;1 steadily expanding range of employment open to women (although much of it still part-time) and members of some minority ethnic groups, but still with inadequate pay, promotion and training opportunities; unemployment rising again in 2008–9.

pages: 334 words: 98,950

Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Brownian motion, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round,, falling living standards, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, liberal world order, liberation theology, low skilled workers, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, mega-rich, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, oil shock, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transfer pricing, urban sprawl, World Values Survey

There are certainly some services that have high productivity and considerable scope for further productivity growth – banking and other financial services, management consulting, technical consulting and IT support come to mind. But most other services have low productivity and, more importantly, have little scope for productivity growth due to their very nature (how much more ‘efficient’ can a hairdresser, a nurse or a call centre telephonist become without diluting the quality of their services?). Moreover, the most important sources of demand for those high-productivity services are manufacturing firms. So, without a strong manufacturing sector, it is impossible to develop high-productivity services. This is why no country has become rich solely on the basis of its service sector. If I say this, some of you may wonder: what about a country like Switzerland, which has become rich thanks to service industries like banking and tourism?

pages: 292 words: 97,911

Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies by Nick Frost

Alexander Shulgin, call centre, David Attenborough, hive mind, impulse control, job-hopping, Norman Mailer, Rubik’s Cube

. *** I did not want to go back to working in restaurants. I looked around for other things first before I was forced back on the floor. A cabbie maybe? I liked driving but couldn’t afford a car, I didn’t have a pot to piss in. What could I do? Me and Dion thought about starting a garden-clearing business called Busy Bees. It never came to fruition. I needed to do something so I took the first job that I saw. I spent a week working in a call centre off Great Portland Street. Telesales. It was not for me at all. It was full of Wolf of Wall Street wannabees. Guys with headsets on selling, selling, selling. At points they’d stop yabbering to use the telesales professional’s greatest tool . . . Silence. Let the other fucker speak first. Take away every opportunity the guy on the other end of the phone has to say no until the only thing he can say is, yes.

pages: 315 words: 99,065

The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership by Richard Branson

barriers to entry, call centre, carbon footprint, Celtic Tiger, clean water, collective bargaining, Costa Concordia, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, friendly fire, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, index card, inflight wifi, Lao Tzu, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, trade route, zero-sum game

One of the earlier adopters of work at home was the US airline jetBlue which, when it started service in 2000, set up all of its telephone reservations agents as home-based employees in the Salt Lake City Utah region. At the time I remember founder David Neeleman proudly telling me that this initiative created several hundred new job openings for stay-at-home mothers who would be unable to work from a call centre but could do a great job while the kids were at school or the baby was sleeping. Apparently the turnover with this group has been negligible. I know a lot of ‘I’d go crazy if I had to stay around the house all week’ types who find the very idea of working from home to be quite abhorrent. In my own case I have always found working from home – as I have done all my life – reduces the stress levels I know I’d suffer if I were working from an office and bringing work home in the evenings and weekends.

pages: 321 words: 97,661

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

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

MacLure [30] has written an excellent philosophical article claiming that with its overemphasis on protocols and procedures, a conventional systematic review degrades the status of interpretive scholarly activities such as reading, writing and talking, and replaces them with a series of auditable technical tasks. This change, she claims, is partly driven by the new managerialism in research and results in ‘the call-centre version of research synthesis’. I once wrote a short commentary called Why are Cochrane Reviews so boring?, arguing that an overly technocratic approach to data extraction and synthesis strips the meaning from a review [20]. But whilst this may be true and MacLure may have a point, we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water. Systematic review, in its place, saves lives. References 1 Caveman A.

pages: 347 words: 99,317

Bad Samaritans: The Guilty Secrets of Rich Nations and the Threat to Global Prosperity by Ha-Joon Chang

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Brownian motion, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round,, falling living standards, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, liberal world order, liberation theology, low skilled workers, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, mega-rich, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, oil shock, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transfer pricing, urban sprawl, World Values Survey

There are certainly some services that have high productivity and considerable scope for further productivity growth – banking and other financial services, management consulting, technical consulting and IT support come to mind. But most other services have low productivity and, more importantly, have little scope for productivity growth due to their very nature (how much more ‘efficient’ can a hairdresser, a nurse or a call centre telephonist become without diluting the quality of their services?). Moreover, the most important sources of demand for those high-productivity services are manufacturing firms. So, without a strong manufacturing sector, it is impossible to develop high-productivity services. This is why no country has become rich solely on the basis of its service sector. If I say this, some of you may wonder: what about a country like Switzerland, which has become rich thanks to service industries like banking and tourism?

pages: 382 words: 100,127

The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics by David Goodhart

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, assortative mating, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, borderless world, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, central bank independence, centre right, coherent worldview, corporate governance, credit crunch, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser,, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, gender pay gap, gig economy, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global village, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, market friction, mass immigration, mittelstand, Neil Kinnock, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, obamacare, old-boy network, open borders, Peter Singer: altruism, post-industrial society, post-materialism, postnationalism / post nation state, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, shareholder value, Skype, Sloane Ranger, stem cell, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, wages for housework, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, World Values Survey

The demand for low-skilled, and mainly low paid, jobs has in fact been increasing in recent decades, stimulated by a host of factors: Britain’s flexible labour market, privatisation, the contracting out of so many jobs by big companies, the disappearance of a high wage floor in some sectors once sustained by unions and wages councils, the introduction of a more comprehensive tax credit income supplement system in 1999, the high demand for part-time work from working mothers, and, since 2004, the inflow of large numbers of eastern Europeans with a generally high work ethic and low wage expectations. Estimates of the number of low-skill jobs, depending on the definition of low skill, range from 8 million to 13 million (25 per cent to 40 per cent of all jobs)—including, among others, retail, cleaning, hospitality, care, driving/delivery jobs, assembly line work and routine clerical and call centre work. (Some of these will be subject to automation and the onward march of the robots, even in areas like social care, but many of them will not be. And someone still has to clean the robots.) This miscalculation was part of a bigger story of the casual way in which Britain, the first industrial nation, drifted into becoming a post-industrial one. The Thatcher revolution was focused on market structure, regulation and incentives, and just took for granted that new industries and decent jobs would spring up to replace the corporate dinosaurs of the past.

Spain by Lonely Planet Publications, Damien Simonis

Atahualpa, business process, call centre, centre right, Colonization of Mars, discovery of the americas, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, G4S, glass ceiling, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, intermodal, Islamic Golden Age, land reform, large denomination, low cost airline, place-making, Skype, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Winter of Discontent, young professional

While some cases of racial tension have made the headlines, so far the Spanish experiment in receiving immigrants has been largely trouble free. The streets of Spain’s cities have taken on new hues. Madrid in the 1980s had a largely uniform feel but today it hums to the sounds of many languages, whose speakers have brought new tastes to the dining table. Kebab stands and Peruvian restaurants abound. You’ll find, for example, Argentines staffing call centres, Filipinos waiting in restaurants or Eastern Europeans working in bars. Hordes of retired and wealthy EU citizens are catered for by co-nationals on the holiday coasts. The image of illegal immigrants crossing the Straits of Gibraltar, and the more dangerous Atlantic route (to the Canary Islands) from Mauritania and even Senegal, in barely seaworthy boats has been a daily reminder of a litany of suffering.

POST Main post office (944 22 05 48; Alameda de Urquijo 19) TOURIST INFORMATION Tourist office (944 79 57 60; Main Office (Plaza del Ensanche 11; 9am-2pm & 4-7.30pm Mon-Fri); Airport (944 71 03 01; 7.30am-11pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-11pm Sat & Sun); Guggenheim (Avenida Abandoibarra 2; 10am-7pm Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm Sun Jul-Sep, 11am-6pm Tue-Fri, 11am-7pm Sat, 11am-3pm Sun Oct-May); Teatro Arriaga (Plaza Arriaga; 9.30am-2pm & 4-7.30pm daily Jun-Sep, 11am-2pm & 5-7.30pm Mon-Fri, 9.30am-2pm & 5-7.30pm Sat, 9.30am-2pm Sun Oct-May) Bilbao’s friendly tourist-office staffers are extremely helpful, well informed and above all enthusiastic about their city. At all offices ask for the free bimonthly Bilbao Guía, with its entertainment listings plus tips on restaurants, bars and nightlife. There is also a call centre (944 71 03 01; 8.30am-11pm), which is on duty everyday and is equally helpful. Sights MUSEO GUGGENHEIM Opened in September 1997, Bilbao’s Museo Guggenheim (944 35 90 80;; Avenida Abandoibarra 2; adult/under 12yr/student €12.50/free/7.50; 10am-8pm daily Jul & Aug, 10am-8pm Tue-Sun Sep-Jun) lifted modern architecture and Bilbao into the 21st century – with sensation.

The second-largest and northernmost of the Balearics, Menorca also has a wetter climate and is usually a few degrees cooler than the other islands. Particularly in the low season, the ‘windy island’ is relentlessly buffeted by tramuntana winds from the north. Check out the tourist information website and the island’s official accommodation website, Within Spain, you can also try the call centre (902 92 90 15; 10am-6pm). For activities, have a look at Menorca Activa ( Orientation The capital, Maó (Castilian: Mahón), is at the eastern end of the island. Ferries from the mainland and Palma de Mallorca arrive at Maó’s busy port, and Menorca’s airport is 7km southwest of the city. The main road (ME1) runs along the middle of the island to Ciutadella, Menorca’s second town, with secondary roads leading north and south to the resorts and beaches.

pages: 471 words: 109,267

The Verdict: Did Labour Change Britain? by Polly Toynbee, David Walker

banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, call centre, central bank independence, congestion charging, Corn Laws, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Etonian, failed state, first-past-the-post, Frank Gehry, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, high net worth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, market bubble, mass immigration, millennium bug, moral panic, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, Right to Buy, shareholder value, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, working-age population, Y2K

Husband Brian Hatt was a self-employed roofer whose income fluctuated. Though it sank in the recession he was doing well enough to push the joint Hatt household income above the median. He worked with his father and his 24-year-old son Christopher in a business founded in 1954, three generations of Hatts working together. Christopher still lived at home, as did their youngest, twenty-year-old Catherine. She worked locally, at a financial services call centre handling requests for loans. Another daughter, Emma, worked as an assistant at a private nursing home in Rye, and was expecting a baby. During the decade Barbara had moved up from the shop floor, having started as a checkout assistant. ‘I said to myself, I’m better than this, I need something else. I was going to leave but they put me on the customer service desk, and I really liked that, so I stayed.’

pages: 376 words: 109,092

Paper Promises by Philip Coggan

accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, debt deflation, delayed gratification, diversified portfolio, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, German hyperinflation, global reserve currency, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, negative equity, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, paradox of thrift, peak oil, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Chicago School, 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 Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, time value of money, too big to fail, trade route, tulip mania, value at risk, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

In both cases, the core issue was hot or short-term money, which causes damage as it flows into an economy and then again when it cascades out. Free-market economists have argued that there should be no restrictions on capital movements as they allow money to be invested in the most profitable projects worldwide, and thus help the economy operate more efficiently. But it seems clear that countries are much better off if they attract what is known as foreign direct investment (factories, call centres and the like) rather than bank deposits. By its nature, such direct investment is far more likely to be long-lasting; having made all the effort of setting up a factory, a company is likely to think carefully before closing it down. EXCHANGE-RATE CHOICES Earlier chapters have recounted the long struggle by countries to maintain fixed exchange rates and the crises that occurred when they failed to do so.

pages: 350 words: 110,764

The Problem With Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries by Kathi Weeks

basic income, call centre, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, deskilling, feminist movement, financial independence, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, late capitalism, low-wage service sector, means of production, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, occupational segregation, pink-collar, post-work, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, Shoshana Zuboff, social intelligence, two tier labour market, union organizing, universal basic income, wages for housework, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bunting, Madeleine. 2004. Willing Slaves: How the Overwork Culture Is Ruling Our Lives. London: Harper Collins. Burawoy, Michael. 1979. Manufacturing Consent: Changes in the Labor Process under Monopoly Capitalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Callaghan, George, and Paul Thompson. 2002. “ ‘We Recruit Attitude’: The Selection and Shaping of Routine Call Centre Labour.” Journal of Management Studies 39 (2): 233–54. Campaign for Wages for Housework. 2000. “Wages for Housework.” In Dear Sisters: Dispatches from the Women’s Liberation Movement, edited by Rosalyn Baxandall and Linda Gordon, 258. New York: Basic. Carver, Terrell. 1998. The Postmodern Marx. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. Casarino, Cesare, and Antonio Negri. 2008.

pages: 363 words: 107,817

Modernising Money: Why Our Monetary System Is Broken and How It Can Be Fixed by Andrew Jackson (economist), Ben Dyson (economist)

bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, credit crunch, David Graeber, debt deflation, double entry bookkeeping, eurozone crisis, financial exclusion, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, land reform, London Interbank Offered Rate, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Northern Rock, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, Real Time Gross Settlement, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, seigniorage, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, unorthodox policies

However, they will still incur the costs of administering these accounts (staff wages etc.) and providing services associated with them (cheque books, ATM cards, payment system infrastructure, cash handling etc.). Consequently the banks providing these accounts will need to charge fees to customers to cover their costs and make a profit. Table 6.1: Yearly costs of providing a current account Cheque Book £10 (per book) Debit Card £2 Branch £5 Call Centre £8 Staff £15 Banking IT systems £4 Customer Due Diligence (on account opening) £8 MasterCard/Visa £2 Link (cash machine network) £2 BACS and other payment systems £5 Other IT infrastructure £2 Total £63 Source: Tusmor, a consultancy firm that has been involved in setting up new banks in the UK ( How much would the account fees actually be?

pages: 385 words: 111,807

A Pelican Introduction Economics: A User's Guide by Ha-Joon Chang

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, discovery of the americas, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global value chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberation theology, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, post-industrial society, precariat, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, working-age population, World Values Survey

Investment Banks and the Rise of the New Financial System Banks that we do not see: investment banks So far I have talked about the banks we see: the ones with branches on every high street. These are banks like HSBC or NatWest that actively advertise themselves on TV, on billboards and on websites. They remind us how nice they are to their depositors (a free railcard for students! Only UK call centres!). They tell us how willing they are to give us a loan, should we wish to, say, take an impulsive foreign holiday or fulfil our life-long dream of opening a muffin shop. These banks are known as commercial banks or deposit banks.* But then there are banks we do not see. These are known as investment banks. Some of them share brands with their commercial bank siblings. Barclays has a commercial bank, but also has an investment bank named Barclays Capital.

pages: 357 words: 110,017

Money: The Unauthorized Biography by Felix Martin

bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Graeber,, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, fixed income, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, invention of writing, invisible hand, Irish bank strikes, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, mobile money, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Scientific racism, scientific worldview, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart transportation, South Sea Bubble, supply-chain management, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail

THE COUP D’ÉTAT IN THE CREDIT MARKETS The great wave of economic deregulation and globalisation that began in the late 1970s, accelerated in the 1980s and ’90s, and reached its zenith in the pre-crisis years of the early 2000s brought with it revolutions in the organisation of industries from car manufacturing to the supply of electricity, and from supermarkets to film-making. The watchword was decentralisation: the hundreds of activities once housed in a single corporation could be hived off to smaller and more specialised companies, and co-ordinated by the market using supply chains and networks of astonishing complexity and length.22 Of course, some complained that it went too far—that the costs saved by moving customer care to a call centre in Bangalore or Manila were really just offloaded on to the enraged customers on the other end of the line. But overall, few could deny that in industry after industry the result for the consumer was a phenomenal reduction in costs and improvement in choice. Finance was no stranger to these tectonic shifts in industrial organisation. Until the late 1960s, lending to companies and individuals remained for the most part a simple and familiar business undertaken almost exclusively by banks.

pages: 335 words: 111,405

B Is for Bauhaus, Y Is for YouTube: Designing the Modern World From a to Z by Deyan Sudjic

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, dematerialisation, deskilling, edge city, Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, illegal immigration, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Kitchen Debate, light touch regulation, market design, megastructure, moral panic, New Urbanism, place-making, QWERTY keyboard, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, University of East Anglia, urban renewal, urban sprawl, young professional

They made modern bureaucracy possible, but they also provided a generation of radical students with the means to put across their political message, which is why the dictatorships in Latin America and the Warsaw Pact were so anxious to keep them under lock and key. When the Xerox 914 turned into a runaway success the Haloid Company renamed itself after its new product, just as Eastman had done. After the copier, Xerox targeted the duplicating process: not quite as fast as printing, but cheaper and simpler. Now it is promoting itself as a publisher of technical manuals, and as a manager of call centres, rather than simply a supplier of photocopying machines. One day paper may no longer be involved, but Xerox plans to continue finding ways of doing the things that photocopying once did for its customers, whatever the media or the means. Kodak did have products aimed at business, but most of its effort concentrated on the domestic consumer; Xerox dominated the workplace. One looked disaster in the eye and then blinked, the other moved its headquarters to a rather more welcoming environment and survived.

pages: 2,020 words: 267,411

Lonely Planet Morocco (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet, Paul Clammer, Paula Hardy

air freight, Airbnb, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, illegal immigration, low cost airline, Nelson Mandela, Norman Mailer, place-making, Skype, spice trade, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional

Getting There & Away Air Menara Airport (RAK; 0524 44 79 10;; information desk 8am-6pm) is located 6km southwest of town and continues to expand due to the growing number of international and charter flights serving Marrakesh. In the arrivals hall you’ll find currency exchange, an information desk and phone providers where you can equip yourself with a Moroccan SIM card. Royal Air Maroc (RAM; 0524 43 62 05, call centre 0890 00 08 00;; 197 Ave Mohammed V; 8.30am-12.20pm & 2.30-7pm) has several flights daily to and from Casablanca (round trip from Dh525, 40 minutes), where you can pick up domestic and international connections. Reconfirm your flight with its 24-hour call centre, and leave extra time for connections in Casablanca. Flights from New York connect to Marrakesh via Casablanca. Bus CTM bus station ( 0524 43 44 02;; Rue Abou Bakr Seddiq; 6am-10pm) , southwest of the train station (about 15 minutes on foot), is CTM’s main bus station, from where most services arrive and depart.

pages: 403 words: 111,119

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart,, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, global supply chain, global village, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

Still, they acknowledged that there was no proof of a direct link between economic growth and environmental clean-up, so they put forward three possible explanations for it. First, as countries grow, they argued, their citizens can afford to start caring about the environment and so begin to demand higher standards; second, the nation’s industries can afford to start using cleaner technologies; and third, those industries will shift from manufacturing to services, swapping smoke stacks for call centres. They might sound credible at first but these explanations for the curve’s rise then fall don’t stand up to scrutiny. First, citizens do not have to wait for GDP growth to deliver them the desire and power to demand clean air and water. That’s what Mariano Torras and James K. Boyce concluded when they matched up the very same cross-country data used to create the Environmental Kuznets Curve with measures of citizen power.

pages: 385 words: 118,314

Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis by Leo Hollis

Airbnb, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, East Village, Edward Glaeser, Enrique Peñalosa, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, negative equity, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, place-making, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, the High Line, The Spirit Level, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, trade route, traveling salesman, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

As I walked around Dharavi, I encountered the different faces of the slum as defined by UN-Habitat, but I also found other things that I was not expecting. Within the area given over to heavy trades I came across ingenuity and a recycling industry that, statistically at least, makes Mumbai the greenest mega-city in the world; in a community centre I found a group of young Muslim women learning English, hoping to gain good jobs in local call centres; every time I looked to the skyline I could spy a mobile-phone mast, while on the central 90Ft Road I found shops and stalls all along the thoroughfare selling the latest smartphones. This reminded me that the slum was part of the city, not apart. The literature of the slums often treats the squatter camps and temporary shelters as a separate place, detached from the rest. However, throughout history the slum and the city have shared the same story.

pages: 453 words: 114,250

The Great Firewall of China by James Griffiths;

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, bitcoin, borderless world, call centre, Chelsea Manning, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, gig economy, jimmy wales, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, mobile money, Occupy movement,, profit motive, QR code, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, undersea cable, WikiLeaks, zero day

Bald and heavily built, with a gingery blond goatee and thin-rimmed glasses, Jones was fond of vaping and hip-hop.1 He made $14 an hour answering questions from Marriott customers via the hotel chain’s Twitter accounts, sitting at his computer for eight-hour stints while most of the city around him was asleep.2 Customer service can be a soul-destroying job, answering the same inane queries again and again from frustrated, impatient people, who often fail to recognise or care that they’re speaking to another human being, especially if it’s through an app like Twitter. But Jones liked the work: he had had some run-ins with the law as a younger man, and issues with both drugs and alcohol that made holding down a job difficult. In the year and a half he had been working for Marriott, however, he had been promoted and given a raise, and he was valued by his superiors. One day in early January, as Jones arrived at the Marriott call centre, a storm was brewing for the company on the other side of the world. An email sent to customers of Marriott’s customer loyalty programme in China included the seemingly innocuous question “What is your country of residence?” Respondents could select from a dropdown menu that included China, Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong as separate potential answers, appearing, in the eyes of Chinese nationalist trolls seeking to take offence, to endorse those territories’ independence from China.3 As outrage built on Chinese social media platforms, egged on by state media, the Shanghai Cyberspace Administration ordered the hotel chain to shut down its Chinese-language website and app for a week in order to “thoroughly clear all erroneous information”, and executives were dragged in for a meeting with tourism officials.

pages: 356 words: 112,271

Brexit and Ireland: The Dangers, the Opportunities, and the Inside Story of the Irish Response by Tony Connelly

air freight, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, call centre, centre right, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, knowledge economy, LNG terminal, low skilled workers, non-tariff barriers, open borders, personalized medicine, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, éminence grise

So, you might have goods on a truck and you have green status, but someone else is red. So the whole truck gets held up.’ That may mean couriers are less attractive. Lifes2Good has a significant presence online. Individual packages are sent direct to the homes of British consumers. ‘It’s going to be messy where we ship stuff direct to people’s homes – individual parcels, where people log on to a website or ring through a call centre. We fulfil those orders from Ireland. We have a warehouse on site. We’ll ship them overnight to homes in the UK. The cost of that will go up because each shipment will be subject to import duty in the UK. It’s no longer going to another EU member state, which is very clear and very clean. It’s going to a non-EU state. You’re running up the costs of that. Would it make more sense to bulk ship those into the UK and have a local hub ship the parcels through UK parcel post, rather than shipping them out from Ireland to British consumers’ homes?

pages: 427 words: 124,692

Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British by Jeremy Paxman

British Empire, call centre, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Etonian, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, imperial preference, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Kibera, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, mass immigration, offshore financial centre, polynesian navigation, Scramble for Africa, transatlantic slave trade

He took a lot of drugs, had elephant-drawn carriages inside which he could give comfortable dinner parties for a dozen guests at a time, and maintained a harem of 500 women. He was just the sort of pet ruler the British liked. Colonel Mordaunt commanded his bodyguard. * Without the Anglo-Indian community, it is fair to say, the railways, telephone exchanges and customs service of British India could not have functioned. Since independence they have found life harder, although their excellent command of colloquial English has ensured jobs in places like call centres. They have all sorts of unexpected talents. At an Anglo-Indian tea party in Chennai, one of the prominent members of the local community turned to me proudly and pointed out how well everyone danced. ‘It’s part of our heritage,’ he said, ‘natural rhythm. We got it from the British.’ * Like the great orientalist Sir William Jones, Stuart is buried among dozens of less culturally sympathetic colonists in South Park Street Cemetery in Calcutta.

pages: 467 words: 116,094

I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That by Ben Goldacre

call centre, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Desert Island Discs,, experimental subject, Firefox, Flynn Effect, jimmy wales, John Snow's cholera map, Loebner Prize, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, placebo effect, publication bias, selection bias, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Simon Singh, statistical model, stem cell, the scientific method, Turing test, WikiLeaks

When you forget about numerical constraints, all kinds of things can start to look spooky: in a group of twenty-three people, there is a 50 per cent chance that two of them will share a birthday, because any pair of birthdays on any date is acceptable. When you forget about numerical context, things can look weird too: if Uri Geller gets a nation in front of the telly to tap their broken watches against the screen, and ring the call centre if the watch starts ticking again, then with viewing figures of a few million there will be more excited calls than the switchboard can handle. If you turned to your friend and said, ‘You know, a lot of funny things have happened to me, quite unexpectedly, over the course of a lifetime, but let me take a moment to specify right now the one thing that would seriously freak me out, over the next twelve hours, which would be if my dog trod on the trigger of my gun, and accidentally shot me in the face,’ and then your dog shot you in the calf, that would be weird.

pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, NetJets, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

This is 3.7 per cent of the labour force, less than in the USA (4.7 per cent) but more than in France (3.1 per cent) and Germany (2.8 per cent). These figures are derived from the international comparisons made by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).18 The International Labour Organization (ILO) provides slightly higher estimates, but the international pattern is the same.19 However, most people who work in financial services undertake mundane clerical tasks in bank branches, call centres and insurance offices. Four hundred thousand people work in ‘the City’, the geographical area round the Bank of England that is headquarters to most British financial institutions.20 Of these, 150,000 work for financial institutions. Cleaners, security guards and chefs in financial institutions may or may not be included depending on whether the institutions in which they work have outsourced these functions (mostly they have).

Multicultural Cities: Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles by Mohammed Abdul Qadeer

affirmative action, business cycle, call centre, David Brooks, deindustrialization, desegregation, edge city,, Frank Gehry, game design, ghettoisation, global village, immigration reform, industrial cluster, Jane Jacobs, knowledge economy, market bubble, McMansion, new economy, New Urbanism, place-making, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, telemarketer, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, urban planning, urban renewal, working-age population, young professional

But information technology is realigning the production of not only materials and goods but also professional and personal services. The click of a key can send a letter, blueprints, manufacturing instructions, or money across the ocean in a second. Even professional services are being decentralized to distant sites; for instance, in some US hospitals, interpreting X-rays is now electronically outsourced to radiologists in India and Thailand.79 Call centres in India are pitching rug-cleaning services to households in Toronto or New York. Such are the realignments of consumer markets. The rapid circulation of information and capital is stimulating the movement of workers across national borders. Tasks that engaged numerous workers previously are increasingly being done by a few with the help of computers. The privatization of public services is further breaking up stable jobs into contractual work.

pages: 578 words: 131,346

Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman

Airbnb, Anton Chekhov, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Broken windows theory, call centre, David Graeber, Donald Trump, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Hans Rosling, invention of writing, invisible hand, knowledge economy, late fees, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, placebo effect, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Stanford prison experiment, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, universal basic income, World Values Survey

He dreamed of an oasis in this vast bureaucratic wasteland, a place fuelled not by market forces and growth, but by small teams and trust. Buurtzorg started out with one team of four nurses in Enschede, a Dutch city of 150,000 on the country’s eastern fringes. Today, it numbers more than eight hundred teams active nationwide. However, it’s not what the organisation is, but what it is not, that sets Buurtzorg apart. It has no managers, no call centre and no planners. There are no targets or bonuses. Overheads are negligible and so is time spent in meetings. Buurtzorg doesn’t have a flashy HQ in the capital, but occupies an uninspiring block in an ugly business park in outlying Almelo. Each team of twelve has maximum autonomy. Teams plan their own schedules and employ their own co-workers. And, unlike the rest of the country’s infinitely scripted care industry, the teams don’t supply code H126 (‘Personal Care’), code H127 (‘Additional Personal Care’), code H120 (‘Special Personal Care’), or code H136 (‘Supplemental Remote Personal Care’).

pages: 441 words: 135,176

The Edifice Complex: How the Rich and Powerful--And Their Architects--Shape the World by Deyan Sudjic

Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, colonial rule, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, megastructure, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, Peter Eisenman, Ronald Reagan, Socratic dialogue, urban planning, urban renewal, V2 rocket, Victor Gruen

There is the debating chamber itself, as well as the backstairs aspects – the briefing rooms, the lobbies, the corridors and the committee rooms – that all play their part in creating a political theatre that can make real the ambitions of those who use it. Such chambers are not necessarily the embodiment of elevated ideals. Politics in the raw mostly looks about as interesting as a reading from the telephone directory. There are endless procedural discussions, nit-picking points of order and for most of the day people sit in rooms, shuffle paper, talk on the phone and check their e-mails as if they were in a call centre. The struggle to make something out of this deeply unpromising material is the real story of the design of Miralles’s parliament. This is also the story, although one with a very different outcome, of London’s new City Hall. The London Assembly’s 500 staff and 26 members could easily have been accommodated in an anonymous office building with no public recognition or iconographic significance.

pages: 349 words: 134,041

Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives by Satyajit Das

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Brownian motion, business process, buy and hold, buy low sell high, call centre, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, financial innovation, fixed income, Haight Ashbury, high net worth, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, John Meriwether, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass affluent, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, new economy, New Journalism, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Parkinson's law, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, technology bubble, the medium is the message, the new new thing, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility smile, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

Clo notes Principal and interest Corporate loans Senior notes Investment Loan principal and interest Principal and interest Special Purpose Vehicle Sponsor bank Sales proceeds Assignment/ subparticipation of principal and interest Mezzanine notes Investment Return Equity Investment Servicing agreement Figure 9.2 Collateralized loan obligation (CLO) DAS_C10.QXD 5/3/07 284 7:59 PM Page 284 Tr a d e r s , G u n s & M o n e y Transferring the loans from the bank to the SPV proved hideously complicated. To do it properly, you had to get the borrower to agree; some banks were too scared even to try. Most did ‘participations’, which created huge legal and customer relations problems. One bank tried to do a securitization of its corporate loan book using participations: it had to set up a call centre to respond to queries from agitated clients who wanted to know if their loan was being sold. Many corporate loans are ‘revolvers’. The borrower can repay the loan and then later re-borrow the money – it’s the corporate equivalent of the credit card. The problem was that if the borrower repaid the money it flowed out to investors. If the borrower wanted to redraw the money then where was it coming from?

Ukraine by Lonely Planet

Anton Chekhov, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, centre right, Honoré de Balzac, low cost airline, megacity, Skype, stakhanovite, trade route

Locals prefer booking taxis by phone – they arrive fast and you know the price in advance. Your hotel reception can help you with that. But to do it yourself, you need to speak some Ukrainian/Russian and know the exact addresses of your departure point and destination – saying something like ‘drop me off at Maydan’ won’t get you anywhere. If you dial a taxi service number, they usually hang up and call you back immediately. Troyka ( 233 7733, 237 0047) is a reliable call centre working with several taxi companies. If you flag a car in the street – as many people still do – always agree on the price before getting inside, unless it is an official metered taxi. Taking standing taxis from outside hotels, as well as train and bus stations, inevitably incurs a much higher price. AROUND KYIV Kyiv lies in the heart of the woodsy Polissya region. Outdoor types can have a field day camping, canoeing, fishing and shashlyking (picnicking) in the forests that roll northwest and northeast of Kyiv along the Desna and Teteriv Rivers.

pages: 457 words: 143,967

The Bank That Lived a Little: Barclays in the Age of the Very Free Market by Philip Augar

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, high net worth, hiring and firing, index card, index fund, interest rate derivative, light touch regulation, loadsamoney, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, out of africa, prediction markets, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Sloane Ranger, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, wikimedia commons, yield curve

A few weeks later, though, Barrett sprung a surprise by making him finance director, a role for which Varley’s skills and experience were well suited. His successor as head of retail, Stewart, was undoubtedly a very good banker. He had joined Woolwich as a branch manager, had worked his way up the organization and front-line staff loved him. He would talk to customers in branches and pick up the phone in call centres. He had turned Woolwich round and was expected to do the same at Barclays. But the Barclays retail bankers were ready for him. He was a practical man rather than a political operator and the Barclays machine wrapped him in red tape. Meetings were mysteriously difficult to arrange, were cancelled at the last minute or flooded with officials. The Barclays bureaucrats raised obstacles to integration and many senior Woolwich managers left in frustration.

pages: 501 words: 134,867

A Line in the Tar Sands: Struggles for Environmental Justice by Tony Weis, Joshua Kahn Russell

addicted to oil, Bakken shale, bilateral investment treaty, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial exploitation, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, decarbonisation, Deep Water Horizon,, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, global village, guest worker program, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, immigration reform, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, liberal capitalism, LNG terminal, market fundamentalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, profit maximization, race to the bottom, smart grid, special economic zone, WikiLeaks, working poor

For example, 75 per cent of global exploration and mining projects are headquartered in Canada.1 As manufacturing jobs were outsourced to the Global South to find cheaper pools of labour, resource-extractive industries required an “in-sourcing” of cheap labour to work in the dangerous production of dirty energy and the economy around it. This led to a drastic surge in Canada’s temporary foreign worker program, bringing in hundreds of thousands of migrant workers. Migrant workers are the flipside of outsourcing; they are essentially the same labour pool as those who are working in sweatshops, call centres, and factories across the Global South to fill the consumption needs of the Global North and the global elite. They work without health and safety protections, their pay is less than minimum wage, they are often forced to live in dangerous and isolated work camps, they are legally tied down and indentured to a single employer, and their legal immigration status is temporary and precarious. They are perpetually displaceable and deportable, living in the shadows and invisible to most Canadians.

pages: 476 words: 134,735

The Unpersuadables: Adventures With the Enemies of Science by Will Storr

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, battle of ideas, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, call centre, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, David Attenborough, David Brooks, death of newspapers, full employment, George Santayana, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Simon Singh, Stanford prison experiment, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, twin studies

We walked through the night, past vast Communist-built blocks that have been crowned with the neon hoardings of the conquering capitalists. My fellow holidaymakers are all men. As well as Alex and Mark there is a wealthy businessman who flew himself here in his own light aeroplane; a shorts-wearing university employee from America’s wheat-belt with a huge rectangular bottom; a tall Australian call-centre operative with a German name; a genuine German who flew MiGs for the East German airforce; a lorry driver from Maidstone; and a man in his sixties with a sharp public school accent who was born in colonial Kenya. All of them are immaculately ironed and tucked in. Three of them have moustaches. We drifted into pairs as we walked, and I fell into conversation with Alex, the Australian who enjoyed the purity of Dresden.

pages: 489 words: 132,734

A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook

Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, carbon footprint, Celtic Tiger, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, joint-stock company, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pearl River Delta, Potemkin village, profit motive, rent control, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, starchitect, trade route, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

In Slumdog Millionaire, the 2008 blockbuster film that reintroduced Mumbai to the world, the protagonist, Jamal, and his brother, Salim, gasp at the prowess of neocapitalist India while looking out across a development of neoclassical high-rise towers. To a Western audience, the development looks like Caesars Palace in Las Vegas—only much, much bigger. “Can you believe it?” Salim asks. “This was our slum. We lived just there, huh? Now it is business, apartments, call centres. . . . Fuck USA, fuck China. India is at the centre of the world now.” The fantastical cluster of thirty-story columned high-rises, looking like ancient Greek temples stretched into modern skyscrapers, is no computer-generated image. It is an actual real estate development set on parkland abutting a British-built reservoir several miles north of the historic heart of the city. Called Hiranandani Gardens, it is named for the real estate developers who built it, the billionaire Hiranandani brothers.

Southeast Asia on a Shoestring Travel Guide by Lonely Planet

active transport: walking or cycling, airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwatching, colonial rule, Google Earth, haute cuisine, indoor plumbing, Kickstarter, large denomination, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Mason jar, megacity, period drama, Skype, South China Sea, spice trade, superstar cities, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban sprawl, white picket fence, women in the workforce

To dial long distance within Myanmar, dial the area code (including the ‘0’) and the number. International Calls Official telephone (call) centres are sometimes the only way to call overseas, though sometimes this can be done on the street too, through vendors offering use of their mobile phones. Generally, it costs about US$5 per minute to call Australia or Europe and US$6 per minute to phone North America. You’ll usually be asked to pay in US dollars. In March 2011 the authorities banned Skype and other internet-based call services at internet cafes, as the lower rates charged for such calls was impacting the revenue made at government call centres. To call Myanmar from abroad, dial your country’s international access code, then 95 (Myanmar’s country code), the area code (minus the ‘0’) and the five- or six-digit number.

This doesn’t necessarily mean bringing a friend from home; you can often pair up with other travellers you meet on the way. Work Teaching English is the easiest way to support yourself in Southeast Asia. For short-term gigs, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Jakarta have language schools and a high turnover of staff. In the Philippines, English speakers are often needed as language trainers for call centres. In Indonesia and Thailand you may be able to find some dive-school work. Payaway ( provides a handy online list of language schools and volunteer groups looking for recruits for its Southeast Asian programs. Transitions Abroad ( is a web portal that covers all aspects of overseas life, including landing a job in a variety of fields. Top of section Transport This chapter gives an overview of the transport options for getting to and around Southeast Asia.

pages: 613 words: 151,140

No Such Thing as Society by Andy McSmith

anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Brixton riot, call centre, cuban missile crisis, Etonian, F. W. de Klerk, Farzad Bazoft, feminist movement, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, full employment, glass ceiling, God and Mammon, greed is good, illegal immigration, index card, John Bercow, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Live Aid, loadsamoney, long peace, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, old-boy network, popular capitalism, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Sloane Ranger, South Sea Bubble, spread of share-ownership, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban decay, Winter of Discontent, young professional

At the time of writing, the British coal industry employs 5,700 people, about 1,600 of whom are members of the NUM, with just over 1,000 in the UDM.37 Where the pits used to be there are now country parks or urban developments such as leisure and retail centres. The thriving miners’ welfare club in Brampton village, where it all began, was vandalized but reinvented to become a social club for plumbers, caretakers, shop-fitters and call-centre staff, there being no miners left in the vicinity. In Shirebrook, on the Nottinghamshire-Derbyshire border, former strikers and strike-breakers still drank in separate pubs, twenty years later.38 CHAPTER 9 FEED THE WORLD Bob Geldof had been through the roller-coaster of show-business since moving to London from his native Ireland. His band, The Boomtown Rats, turned down a £1m off er from Virgin Records, signed up with a smaller label, and had a huge hit in 1979 with I Don’t Like Mondays, but by 1983 they had been pushed into obscurity by the rise of the New Romantics.

pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser,, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Surely now energy usage will eventually also start to fall? That is what I thought, until one day I tried to have an unnecessary conversation on a mobile telephone while a man was using a leaf-blower nearby. Even if everybody lags his loft and switches to compact fluorescent light bulbs, and throws out his patio heaters and gets his power from more efficient power stations, and loses his job in a steel plant but gets a new one in a call centre, the falling energy intensity of the economy will be offset by the new opportunities wealth brings to use energy in new ways. Cheap light bulbs let people plug in more lights. Silicon chips use so little power that they are everywhere and in aggregate their effect mounts up. A search engine may not use as much energy as a steam engine, but lots of them soon add up. Energy efficiency has been rising for a very long time and so has energy consumption.

Barcelona by Damien Simonis

Berlin Wall, call centre, carbon footprint, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Frank Gehry, haute couture, haute cuisine, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kickstarter, land reform, Murano, Venice glass, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, sustainable-tourism, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl

Return to beginning of chapter TELEPHONE The ubiquitous blue payphones are easy to use for international and domestic calls. They accept coins, tarjetas telefónicas (phonecards) issued by the national phone company Telefónica and, in some cases, credit cards. Tarjetas telefónicas come in €6 and €12 denominations and are sold at post offices and tobacconists. Public telephones inside bars and cafes, and phones in hotel rooms, are nearly always more expensive than street payphones. Locutorios (call centres) are another option. You’ll mostly find these scattered about the old town, especially in and around El Raval. Check rates before making calls. Increasingly, these double as internet centres. To call Barcelona from outside Spain, dial the international access code, followed by the code for Spain (34) and the full number (including Barcelona’s area code, 93, which is an integral part of the number).

pages: 524 words: 143,993

The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned--And Have Still to Learn--From the Financial Crisis by Martin Wolf

air freight, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, balan