deskilling

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The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

Airbnb, Airbus A320, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Bernard Ziegler, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, computerized trading, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, turn-by-turn navigation, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche

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

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

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


The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling by Arlie Russell Hochschild

affirmative action, airline deregulation, call centre, cognitive dissonance, deskilling, Frederick Winslow Taylor, job satisfaction, late capitalism, longitudinal study, new economy, post-industrial society, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, telemarketer

Only some of these service-sector jobs call for much emotion management. 10 Private Life Critics of labor studies, such as Harry Braverman in Labor and Monopoly Capital (1974), point out a continual subdivision of work in many branches of the economy. Complex tasks in which a craftsman used to take pride are divided into simpler, more repetitive segments, each more boring and less well paid than the original job. Work is deskilled and the worker belittled. But celebrants and critics alike have not inspected at close hand or with a social-psychological eye what it is that "people jobs" actually require of workers. They have not inquired into the actual nature of this labor. Some do not know exactly what, in the case of emotional labor, becomes deskilled. A second discourse, closer to the person and more remote from the overall organization of work, concerns the display of feeling. The works of Erving Coffman introduce us to the many minor traffic rules of face-to-face interaction, as they emerge at a card game, in an elevator, on the street, or at the dining table of an insane asylum.

The flight attendant's job grew along with marketing, becoming increasingly specialized and standardized. The lessons in deep acting-acting "as if the cabin is your home" and "as if this unruly passenger has a traumatic past" -are themselves a new development in deskilling. The "mind" of the emotion worker, the source of the ideas about what mental moves are needed to settle down an "irate;' has moved upstairs in the hierarchy so that the worker is restricted to implementing standard procedures. In the course of offering skills, trainers unwittingly contribute to a system of deskilling. The skills they offer do not subtract from the worker's autonomous control over when and how to apply them; as the point is made in training, "It will be up to you to decide how to handle any given problem on line." But the overall definition of the task is more rigid than it once was, and the worker's field of choice about what to do is greatly narrowed.

How many times? By the same token, the task to be accomplished is more clearly spelled out by superiors. How were the magazines handed out? With a smile? With a sincere smile? The fact that trainers work hard at making a tough job easier and at making travel generally more pleasant only makes this element of deskilling harder to see. The fact that their training manuals are prepared for them and that they are not themselves entirely free to "tell it like it is" only illustrates again how deskilling is the outcome of specialization and standardization. Sensing this, most of the flight attendants I observed were concerned to establish that theirs was an honorable profession requiring a mastery of "real" skills. I was told repeatedly that there was a law school graduate in the incoming class at the Training Center and that a dentist, a librarian, and a botanist were serving on line.


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

All the previous examples of successful organizing I knew of, such as the IWGB courier branch, or those who organized with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Chicago in the early 2000s, had relied on a subcultural courier community to create a sense of solidarity.3 Workers knew each other because they had all participated in these mad cross-city courier races, gone to the same pubs, used the same bike shops, and been part of a common social scene. But that wasn’t the case for us. We were an undifferentiated mass of deskilled labour. Small groups of workers did have things in common, but it was rare you found something apart from bikes and working conditions you could all chat about. Trade unionists involved in the original London dispute told me that the groups which had started the strike there met outside of work in one of two places: either Gabber raves or Friday prayers. Gabber is a genre of dance music, originating in the working-class neighbourhoods around the container port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands in the 1990s.

He wanted to develop a system whereby managers would be able to intensify work. In order to do so, managers needed to understand the labour process at least as well as the workers who currently dominated it. Taylor’s thesis was that, by making management more scientific, its effectiveness could be improved.2 Harry Braverman, a Marxist intellectual, identified Taylor’s system of scientific management as having two processes at its core: ‘work intensification’ and ‘deskilling’3 – that is to say, making workers work harder, and reducing workers’ control over their own work. These two processes remain the fundamental strategies of capitalist management today. So, when we are discussing a job, we’re also discussing a specific conflict. It’s a conflict between the strategies of resistance developed by the workers and the system of control developed by the boss. Like in an arms race, the methods adopted by one side are reacted to by the other, leading to a constant escalating development as both sides attempt to get the upper hand.

At Deliveroo, the system of control is characterized by some specific technological developments. It’s important to understand these developments first, so that we can understand the way in which workers reacted with their own strategic resistance. So, the rest of this chapter focuses on explaining and analysing the ways in which indeterminate labour-power is managed by Deliveroo’s system of control in order to intensify work, deskill labour, and cut costs. Algorithmic Management One thing was obvious to me, as soon as I started working for Deliveroo: it was great not having a supervisor. There was no one breathing down my neck, telling me to go faster, do this, do that. When I’d worked in a hotel kitchen, I couldn’t lounge about. Even if there was nothing to do, I had to look busy by pretending to polish glasses. Human supervision was one of the worst parts of the labour-process.


pages: 347 words: 97,721

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

AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, commoditize, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, fixed income, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, global pandemic, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, lifelogging, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

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

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

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


pages: 484 words: 104,873

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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, debt deflation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

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

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

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


In the Age of the Smart Machine by Shoshana Zuboff

affirmative action, American ideology, blue-collar work, collective bargaining, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, data acquisition, demand response, deskilling, factory automation, Ford paid five dollars a day, fudge factor, future of work, industrial robot, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, job automation, lateral thinking, linked data, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, old-boy network, optical character recognition, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Shoshana Zuboff, social web, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, zero-sum game

with that of a transfer assistant: You don't have to remember things, because the system does. You could get a monkey to do this job. You just follow the keys. If in the cases of the benefits analysts and transfer assistants the primary effect of computerization was a reduction in opportunities for the exercise of already acquired know-how, then these cases would indeed conform to the typical pattern of craft deskilling as a result of automation. This component of deskilling does indeed appear to be amply accounted for both in the observations of the clerks and in the explicit intentions of their managers. However, computerization has transfigured these jobs in yet another way. These parallel effects illus- trate the discontinuity between clerical jobs that have retained some vestige of the managerial process, as reflected in the ongoing necessity for interpersonal coordination and communication, and clerical jobs that have been pushed more fully into the domain of actino-on, which demands little in the way of skill but makes considerable demands upon stamina.

., 77 Class struggle, 283; see also Social strat- ification Clay-getting, 37 Clerical work, 215-16; computer- mediation of, 129-33; origins of, 98-99, 113-23; see also Office work Closed loop computer system, 253 Coal excavation, 37 Cobb, Jonathan, 239 Codification, 178-85 Cognitive activity: and the abstraction Index of industrial work, 73; in action- centered skills, 73, 75-76, 185-95; in intellective skills, 185-95,216- 17 Cohen, Patricia Cline, 447n 17 Collective activity, 197-200, 204, 206; and learning of crafts, 176-77 Collective bargaining, see Trade union movement; Unions Collective responsibility, 355-61 Commercial schools, Ill, 116, 232 Communication: clerk's role and, 118-19, 125; informal, in computer medium, 362-86; manager's role and, 101-3, 105, 361; organized, 101-2; in posthierarchical organi- zations, 400; shared context as re- quirement for, 196, 204-5; see also Oral culture; Social exchange; Writ- ten word Computer-aided design, 419-22 Computer-aided manufacturing, 419- 22 Computer-aided process planning, 421-22 Computer conferencing, 15-16, 1 79, 363-72 Computer-integrated manufacturing, 421-22 Computer phobia, 259 Computer systems, see Information technology Concentration, 132, 156, 171, 440n6 Confidentiality, 380 Conformity, see Anticipatory confor- mity; Obedience Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, 416, 420 Context-dependent skills, 61, 69, 106; see also Action-centered skills; Ac- tion context Continuous-process production, 20- 22; automation limited in, 59-60; scope of computer applications in, 418-19, 421; skill and effort in, 51- 53; social and psychological issues and, 51-56 Control, sense of, 51, 157; loss of, 62- 70, 132, 344-46; and prospect of Index socially integrated workplace, 404- 12; and visibility in computer me- dium, 344, 346 Control techniques, 313-14; impact of, 31 9-61; intensification of pro- duction and, 33; managerial author- ity maintained by, 313; uses of, 389, 392, 400, 404-5, 452nl0; see also Surveillance Conveyor belt, 47 Convicts and paupers, 225, 320 Corporal punishment, 225 Cost data, 253, 255-67, 372, 424-25 Cottage industries, 31, 227 Counterculture values, 241 Court society, 29-30, III Craft work: automation and, 51, 53- 54, 59; autonomy associated with, 41; deskilling of, 107, 113, 136, 215,283; effort as organized by, 45- 46; executive work as, 99-107; in- dustrialization and, 37-42; shared action necessary for learning, 176- 77; social integration stemming from, 41,50,53-54 Crossman, E. R. F. W., 52-53, 55, 94 Crozier, Michel, 11 7 Curtis Publishing Company, 118 Dartmouth College, 232 Darwin, Charles, 228 Data access policy, 356-61,385,392 Davis, James J., 40, 53 Decision-making role, 104-5 Deductive reasoning, 93 Defense Department studies, 415 Deskilling, 57, 215, 283; as paradigm of rationalization of work, 107; ra- tionalization of office work as ver- sion of, 113 Differential wage schemes, 43, 45, 50, 414 Discrete parts manufacturing, 418-21 Dismissals, 225, 326, 431n30 Dissent, 402-12 Division of labor, 45 5n 14; computer mediation of, 392-95; industrializa- 461 tion and, 37, 43; in socially inte- grated workplace, 404-12; urban- ization and, 25; see also Hierarchical authority; Management; Middle management Drucker, Peter, 108 Drug use, 6 Drunkenness, 32, 34-35 Eaton, Seymour, 100-101 Education, 207; and challenges to managerial authority, 240; class boundaries in industry rigidified by, 227-28,230-31,235-40; intellec- tive competence and, 443-44n28 IIElectronicese," 3 71 Electronic text, mastering, 1 74-218 Elias, Norbert, 26-28 Ellis, Havelock, 446n 1 5 Erasmus, 26 Errors, 138, 342, 415-16 Evaluation procedures, 294-95, 392; individual internalization of, 350 Executive secretaries, 122-23 Executive work, 436n 13, 441 n 10; as craft, 99-107; rationalization of, 98, 107-10, span of authority of, 452- 5 3n 15; see also Management Existential philosophies, 241 Expense tracking, 253, 255-67, 372, 424-25 Experience and the Creation of Meaning (Gendlin),423-24 Experience-based knowledge, 36-42 Eyestrain, 120, 141 Factories, early, 31- 36 Festinger, Leon, 450nl Field-research methodology, 14, 423- 29; data analysis, 428-29; data- gathering techniques, 426-27; in- terview procedures, 427-28 Financial services industry, 438n55; see also Banking industry Fines, 14-15,33-34,225 462 Flexible manufacturing systems, 420- 21 Follett, Mary Parker, 109, 11 7 Food and beverage industries, 419 Ford, Henry, 108 Ford Motor Company, 34, 47-48; Highland Park auto assembly plant, 47,69 Foremen, 35, 51,335,353 Fortune, 421 Foucault, Michel, 319-20, 452n9 Fox, Alan, 233 Fragmentation of tasks, 43, 47 Frames of Mind (Gardner), 193 Functional authority, 207-8 Functions of the Executive, The (Barnard), 101 Gallie, Duncan, 54 Galton, Francis, 446n 15 Gardner, Howard, 193-95, 206, 435n7 Garfinkle, Harold, 439n4 Gendlin, Eugene, 423, 454n9 General Electric, 122 General Foods, 242 General Motors, 420 Gerstenberg, Charles, 447n 1 7 Gilbreth, Frank, 42, 45 Gilligan, Carol, 428 Ginzberg, Eli, 236 G lassmaking, 38, 42 Goddard, H.

The thinking this operator refers to is of a different quality from the thinking that attended the display of action-centered skills. It combines abstraction, explicit inference, and procedural reasoning. Taken to- gether, these elements make possible a new set of competencies that I 76 KNOWLEDGE AND COMPUTER-MEDIATED WORK call intellective skills. As long as the new technology signals only deskil- ling-the diminished importance of action-centered skills-there will be little probability of developing critical judgment at the data inter- face. To rekindle such judgment, though on a new, more abstract foot- ing, a reskilling process is required. Mastery in a computer-mediated environment depends upon developing intellective skills. T rustina Symbols To understand the significance of intellective skills and how they differ from action-centered skills in this new environment, some appre- ciation of the nature of symbols is required.


Green Economics: An Introduction to Theory, Policy and Practice by Molly Scott Cato

Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Bretton Woods, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, carbon footprint, central bank independence, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate social responsibility, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, energy security, food miles, Food sovereignty, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, gender pay gap, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job satisfaction, land reform, land value tax, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, mortgage debt, passive income, peak oil, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, reserve currency, the built environment, The Spirit Level, Tobin tax, University of East Anglia, wikimedia commons

Such good work should meet three criteria: what it produces should be useful and necessary; it should allow the worker to fulfil his/her potential; and it should be within a cooperative workplace to allow us to make unselfish relationships. Schumacher considered that ‘this threefold function makes work so central to human life that it is truly impossible to conceive of life at the human level without work’.20 Deskilling and reskilling As long ago as 1974, Braverman discussed the way in which, in the industrialized economies, an increasing number of jobs were being ‘deskilled’, that is to say, craft and specialist knowledge was no longer required to perform them.21 62 GREEN ECONOMICS His was a Marxist analysis, and hence he couched his thesis in terms of the ‘proletarianization’ of labour, and its consequent reduced power for negotiating a fair share of the exchange value of the product.

Intellectual roots: Greeks, socialists and anarchists Spiritual dimensions Key figures and ideas Challenging economics in the academy 17 18 19 21 30 3 Economics and Identity Sustainability values, not monetary value The guiding vision: Balance, not growth Economics and relationship Re-embedding economics in nature Not squaring the circle but closing the loop 35 35 38 41 45 47 PART II VISION FOR THE FUTURE 4 Work Will a green economy mean more work or less? Whose work is it anyway? Deskilling and reskilling Greening production and distribution 55 56 59 61 64 vi GREEN ECONOMICS 5 Money The politics of money Money and global injustice Money creation: Financially and ecologically unstable How money wastes people Local currencies for a localized world Conclusion 71 72 74 77 79 81 85 6 Green Business: From Maximizing Profits to a Vision of Conviviality Limitations of market and technological solutions Issues of scale and ownership Learning to switch the lights off Low-carbon growth as the flourishing of the convivial economy 89 90 92 95 98 PART III POLICIES FOR A GREEN ECONOMY 7 The Policy Context The ecological modernization discourse Policy responses to climate change What’s wrong with GDP?

It estimated the annual cost of this transport, in social, environmental and economic terms, as more than £9 billion, the largest proportion of that being road congestion. This represents a full 34 per cent of the total value of the UK food and drinks industry. At a deeper level, the international division of labour leaves us disempowered and useless, what Milani refers to as ‘cog-labour’, subject to decisions made by corporations about what we should consume and how it should be made.23 Within the globalized economy the process of deskilling has continued, with complex operations now performed by computers and more routine work outsourced or performed by low-paid, part-time staff. The quality of these jobs in the traditional sense of pay rates and terms and conditions of employment has declined radically; but so has their quality in terms of nurture of the human spirit. For reasons of security as well as dignity, green economists call for reskilling and the rediscovery of craft in work: ‘In the era of quality, work must recover its craft dimension.’


pages: 423 words: 149,033

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

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

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

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

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


pages: 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

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

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

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


pages: 586 words: 186,548

Architects of Intelligence by Martin Ford

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flash crash, future of work, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working-age population, zero-sum game, Zipcar

However, we could also have the other end of the spectrum, where if the person’s being complemented by a machine—even if the machine is only 30% of the work, but the machine is doing all the value-added portion of that work—then what’s left over for the human being is deskilled or less complex. That can lead to lower wages because now many more people can do those tasks that previously required specialized skills, or required a certification. That means that what you’ve done by introducing machines into that occupation could potentially put pressure on wages in that occupation. This idea of complementing work has this wide range of potential outcomes, and we tend just to celebrate the one end of the result spectrum, and not talk as much about the other, deskilled, end of the spectrum. This by the way also increases the challenge of reskilling on an ongoing basis as people work alongside ever evolving and increasingly capable machines.

They don’t really need to know the technical details, at least not as much as before; they just need to be able to follow and read the script, unless they get to a real corner case, where they can escalate to a deep expert. There are many examples of service work and service technician work, whether it’s through the call center, or even people physically showing up to done on-site repairs, where some portions of that work are going through this massive deskilling—because the knowledge is embedded in either technology, or scripts, or some other way to encapsulate the knowledge required to solve the problem. In the end, what’s left over is something much more deskilled. MARTIN FORD: So, it sounds like overall, you’re more concerned about the impact on wages than outright unemployment? JAMES MANYIKA: Of course you always worry about unemployment, because you can always have this corner-case scenario that could play out, which results in a game over for us as far as employment is concerned.

You said that there are definitely opportunities to enhance people—but at the same time, there is this intersection of technology and capitalism, and businesses always have a very strong motive to eliminate labor if they can. That’s happened throughout history. It seems as though we’re at an inflection point today, where there are soon going to be tools that are able to automate a much broader range of tasks than anything in the past. These tools will replace cognitive and intellectual tasks, and not just manual work. Is there potential for lots of job losses, deskilling of jobs, depressed wages, and so forth? FEI-FEI LI: I don’t pretend to be an economist, but capitalism is one form of human societal order and it is what, 100 years old? What I’m saying is that no one can predict that capitalism is the only form of human society going forward; nor can anyone predict how technology is going to morph in that future society. My argument is that AI, as a technology with a lot of potentials, has an opportunity to make life a lot better, to make work more productive.


pages: 116 words: 31,356

Platform Capitalism by Nick Srnicek

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, deindustrialization, deskilling, disintermediation, future of work, gig economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mittelstand, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, platform as a service, quantitative easing, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, TaskRabbit, the built environment, total factor productivity, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unconventional monetary instruments, unorthodox policies, Zipcar

In the effort to cut costs, beat out competitors, control workers, reduce turnover time, and gain market share, capitalists are incentivised to continually transform the labour process. This was the source of capitalism’s immense dynamism, as capitalists tend to increase labour productivity constantly and to outdo one another in generating profits efficiently. But technology is also central to capitalism for other reasons, which we will examine in more detail later on. It has often been used to deskill workers and undermine the power of skilled labourers (though there are countertendencies towards reskilling as well).3 These deskilling technologies enable cheaper and more pliable workers to come in and replace the skilled ones, as well as transferring the mental processes of work to management rather than leaving it in the hands of workers on the shop floor. Behind these technical changes, however, lies competition and struggle – both between classes, in their struggle to gain strength at one another’s expense, and between capitalists, in their efforts to lower the costs of production below the social average.

It was marked by large manufacturing plants built along Fordist lines, with the automobile industry functioning as the paradigm. These factories were oriented towards mass production, top-down managerial control, and a ‘just in case’ approach that demanded extra workers and extra inventories in case of surges in demand. The labour process was organised along Taylorist principles, which sought to break tasks down into smaller deskilled pieces and to reorganise them in the most efficient way; and workers were gathered together in large numbers in single factories. This gave rise to the mass worker, capable of developing a collective identity on the basis of fellow workers’ sharing in the same conditions. Workers in this period were represented by trade unions that reached a balance with capital and repressed more radical initiatives.5 Collective bargaining ensured that wages grew at a healthy pace, and workers were increasingly bundled into manufacturing industries with relatively permanent jobs, high wages, and guaranteed pensions.


pages: 187 words: 55,801

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

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

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

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

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


pages: 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, en.wikipedia.org, 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

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

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

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


pages: 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

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

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

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


pages: 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

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

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

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


pages: 323 words: 90,868

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

"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, pets.com, 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

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

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

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


Work in the Future The Automation Revolution-Palgrave MacMillan (2019) by Robert Skidelsky Nan Craig

3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, anti-work, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, business cycle, cloud computing, collective bargaining, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, data is the new oil, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, off grid, pattern recognition, post-work, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, wealth creators, working poor

It just assumes a replacement, as though you could dismiss the body and therefore dismiss the problems of difficulty or imagination, from the world of work. I would like to make an observation, which follows from this, about de-skilling. In Adam Smith’s discussion of the division of labour, he understood intuitively that a machine, organised in a certain way, could “de-skill” by stupefying the worker. The key part of his observation was the modifier, “in a certain way”. This is a matter of how machines themselves are configured. Configured in one way high tech machines do indeed stupefy and so de-skill the worker. The most obvious example is Google Maps, which replace environmental reasoning and place memory by prescriptive routing, involving no perceptual intake on the part of the user. But the problem of the stupefying machine is more generally inscribed into “user-friendly” technology.

The so-called talent drain in France builds on this unbalanced return on education and advancement. There is now also a growing concern about the momentum that the working poor model gains in France and about the costs of the fairly tight safety net used to buffer it. In fact, the polarisation of the labour market paves the way for a growing structural inequality. Jobs are concentrating at the two extremities: skilled and well-paid jobs in sophisticated sectors, and unskilled and/or deskilled low paid jobs in unsophisticated services. Yet, because low skill, low wage jobs must be created to increase the employment rate, this increase inevitably leads to an increase in income inequality (Artus 2017). 68 P.-M. Menger This can be called a curse of higher employment rates. Higher income inequality—yet not the astronomically high rate observed in the US— must be tolerated if the aim is to obtain a higher employment rate.


Class Acts: Service and Inequality in Luxury Hotels by Rachel Sherman

deskilling, income inequality, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, knowledge worker, means of production, new economy, pink-collar, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, upwardly mobile, yield management

Services, Selves, and Class From Industry to Interaction For much of the twentieth century, sociologists of work were interested primarily in productivity, efficiency, and human relations, mainly in UC_Sherman (O).qxd 10/3/2006 2:01 PM Page 7 introduction 7 manufacturing workplaces. They took capitalist labor relations for granted and usually assumed a congruence of interests between workers and capitalists.26 In 1974, Harry Braverman inaugurated critical labor process studies with Labor and Monopoly Capital, a scathing indictment of capitalist production methods and worker deskilling. Using a Marxist approach, Braverman looked at how the separation of mental and manual labor allows managers to control workers’ labor power. Braverman’s analysis spawned a generation of studies concerned with managerial control of workers within the labor process, in varying institutional and historical contexts.27 Responding to what many believed to be an overly mechanistic and pessimistic view on Braverman’s part, scholars in this tradition also began to look at worker subjectivity, agency, resistance, and gender.28 The contemporary critical sociology of work remains indebted to the work of Braverman and his intellectual descendants.

This recasting of the meaning of money also distanced guests from workers, who often said, “It isn’t a lot of money to them.” Finally, the very self-subordination that workers are supposed to provide as part of luxury service became a source of competence, as these examples have shown. In contrast to McDonald’s, where routines constrain workers, or airlines, where behavioral specifications are a form of emotional “deskilling,”17 luxury hotel workers can code themselves as skilled not in spite of but because of the interactive requirements of their work. Money Games Workers who received tips and commissions in these sites also played games around these material incentives, developing myriad strategies and using predictive typologies to negotiate their effort. Of the games hotel workers play, the tipping game is closest to “making out” on the factory floor, for several reasons.

Nonetheless, assistant managers, who had largely stayed away from the door in the past, began coming outside more often and asking the doormen what each car was doing there, micromanaging the allocation of curb space. Petra also posted a new memo: “All cars are to be taken immediately to the garage.” These new practices curtailing their autonomy irritated the doormen, partly because their income was threatened, but also largely because they did not want to feel they were being supervised and deskilled. As Zeke put it, “The managers are getting more managerial lately.” He complained, “Now I don’t just have to look out for meter maids; I have to watch out for managers as well. . . . After ten years in this job I don’t like UC_Sherman (O).qxd 10/3/2006 2:01 PM Page 147 Games, Control, and Skill 147 anyone looking over my shoulder.” Joel grumbled about Petra’s elimination of discretion, saying her memos were “too black and white” leaving “no gray area.”


pages: 387 words: 110,820

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

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

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

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

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


pages: 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 recent times, we have witnessed the relatively unmitigated rise of the working poor,7 and the zero-hours contract.8 For those attempting to insulate themselves from the shifting currents of the labour market by investing in education, the old guarantee that educational credentials ensure a future of secure, well-paid and interesting work is also being eroded. An extensive analysis by Philip Brown and colleagues suggests that a combination of factors – the rapid expansion of higher education, the globalisation of job competition, and the deskilling of work – are leading huge numbers of graduates into an ‘opportunity trap’, as they fail to find a home for their specialised skills in the labour market (Brown et al., 2011).9 Even if economic growth could manage to keep pace with the demand for jobs, what would be the environmental costs of continuing expansion? In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the ecological implications of never-ending economic growth.

The workers, he wrote, are ‘vividly aware of the fact that they are performing simple, mindless tasks, and doing less than they know how to’ (Sennett, 1998: 70). In his description of the bakers, Sennett resisted using the word alienation in the traditional Marxist sense, where it represents the spark that ignites the worker’s struggle, instead suggesting that the bakers had merely become indifferent to their work. What is significant here is that the process of computerisation and deskilling that Sennett describes can be observed even in society’s most coveted jobs. Even in high-tier jobs, knowledge can be encapsulated in electronic process manuals, which map out the procedures of the job to the last detail, or by semi-automated computer programs, which perform work tasks with a minimum of human intervention (Brown et al., 2011). If the computerisation of the labour process allows many jobs to be performed without the skills and initiative they may have once demanded, this can have a ruinous effect on workplace cultures, leaving many workers feeling uninterested in and detached from the work they perform.

An emancipatory social science would resist normalising lifestyles based on work and consumerism, and avoid the suggestion that deviation from this norm always necessarily entails an experience of deprivation and shame. What we might hope to see are more research projects that think through those exemplary experiences and practices that explore ways of living, co-operating, expressing and creating, outside the de-skilled and micro-managed sphere of employment. What we might hope to see are more research projects that remain open to the possibility of meeting needs in less conventional ways, outside the ambit of economic exchange relations. Through their investigations, perhaps researchers will be able to shed more light on the unsung inventiveness of people who are already developing their own conceptions of pleasure, sufficiency, wealth and well-being, fit for a less work-centred society.


pages: 429 words: 114,726

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

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

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

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

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


pages: 386 words: 113,709

Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road by Matthew B. Crawford

1960s counterculture, Airbus A320, airport security, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, Boeing 737 MAX, British Empire, Burning Man, call centre, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, deskilling, digital map, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Fellow of the Royal Society, gig economy, Google Earth, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, labour mobility, Lyft, Network effects, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, security theater, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social graph, social intelligence, Stephen Hawking, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, too big to fail, traffic fines, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, Wall-E, Works Progress Administration

Unobtrusive devices such as airbags, dual-circuit brakes, collapsible steering columns, and fuel cutoff devices are straightforward improvements that are unlikely to have any effect on driver behavior. Seat belts are more obtrusive, and Peltzman does find that they alter our risk budget to make us drive less carefully. Antilock brakes and electronic stability control, which did not exist when Peltzman did his study, would seem to belong to a different category. Such minders can save you in a panic situation, but they also have a slight deskilling effect. They prevent a driver from learning the behavior of his car at the limits of traction, and how the car’s chassis dynamics can be made to work for him or against him in the timing and modulation of steering and brake inputs. For example, it takes a certain amount of time for the weight of the car to transfer to the outside wheels in a turn, or to the front wheels under braking. Once the weight has shifted, more traction is available.

“Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines captain and a spokesman for the airline’s pilots’ union, said Boeing and Airbus had encouraged that sort of reliance on automation by pitching their planes to carriers as capable of being flown by lesser-trained pilots. ‘We’ve seen insidious marketing of aircraft to accommodate less experienced and perhaps a lower grade of pilot,’ he said.” He says this with the indignation of a trained professional, but of course from the perspective of an airline looking to save money, the deskilling he refers to is a feature, not a bug. 10.According to Representative Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, as reported in the Washington Post, Boeing’s internal communications “paint a deeply disturbing picture of the lengths Boeing was apparently willing to go to in order to evade scrutiny from regulators, flight crews, and the flying public, even as its own employees were sounding alarms internally.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/internal-boeing-documents-show-employees-discussing-efforts-to-mani/2020/01/09/83a0c6ec-334f-11ea-91fd-82d4e04a3fac_story.html. 11.When a self-driving Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, in March, 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board launched a twenty-month investigation, at the conclusion of which it was revealed that Uber’s self-driving system was not programmed to recognize a pedestrian crossing outside of a crosswalk.

Boudette, “Building a Road Map for the Self-Driving Car,” New York Times, March 2, 2017. 8.Jody Rosen, “The Knowledge, London’s Legendary Taxi-Driver Test, Puts Up a Fight in the Age of GPS,” New York Times Style Magazine, November 10, 2014, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/t-magazine/london-taxi-test-knowledge.html. 9.In much commentary and reportage, several unrelated developments get mixed up together: driverless cars, electric vehicles, and ride hailing. I believe this fuzziness is deliberately cultivated, as it imparts a sheen of technological progress to the ride-hailing firms when in fact their core business is one of labor arbitrage. Their innovation is merely to exploit the deskilling effect of GPS for this purpose. The main divide across which they practice labor arbitrage is time of residence in a city, which corresponds to the acquisition of knowledge held independently, without reliance on GPS. Continued high levels of immigration guarantee a persistent gradient—of personal knowledge—along which to conduct this labor arbitrage. See Horan, “Uber’s Path of Destruction,” pp. 109–110. 10.Zuboff, Age of Surveillance Capitalism, p. 152.


pages: 205 words: 58,054

Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (And Why We Don't Talk About It) by Elizabeth S. Anderson

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, call centre, collective bargaining, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, declining real wages, deskilling, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, invisible hand, manufacturing employment, means of production, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, principal–agent problem, profit motive, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Socratic dialogue, spinning jenny, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics

With such a short, easy bridge from one rank to the next, it was relatively easy for workers to reconcile the hierarchy that did exist with egalitarian republican values.96 The Industrial Revolution dramatically widened the gulf between employers and employees in manufacturing. Employers no longer did the same kind of work as employees, if they worked at all. Mental labor was separated from manual labor, which was radically deskilled. Ranks within the firm multiplied. Leading executives might not even work in the same building. This facilitated a severe degradation of working conditions. Workers were subject to the relentless, grueling discipline of the clock and the machine. Employers, instead of drinking with their workers, preached temperance, industry, punctuality, and discipline. Conditions were harsh, hours long, wages low, and prospects for advancement, regardless of how hard one worked, minimal.

But if one looks at the actual conditions experienced in the workers’ fulfilling the contract, the workers stand in a relation of profound subordination to their employer. That was what the labor radicals stressed. In this light, let us now return to the contrast between Smith and Marx with which this lecture opened. It is often supposed that their differing assessments of market society were based on fundamentally opposed values. Yet both marveled at the ways market society drove innovation, productive efficiency, and economic growth. And both deplored the deskilling and stupefying effects of an increasingly fine-grained division of labor on workers.99 They differed rather on what they expected market society to offer to workers. Smith’s greatest hope—the hope shared by labor radicals from the Levellers to the Chartists, from Paine to Lincoln—was that freeing up markets would dramatically expand the ranks of the self-employed, who would exercise talent and judgment in governing their own productive activities, independent of micromanaging bosses.

Workers of all races who live in towns devastated from plant closures due to competition from abroad also suffer from high unemployment, because their mobility is low.32 Much of the time, the entire economy operates in periods of substantial unemployment or underemployment, affecting workers generally: even if they have a job, the cost of job loss is so high they have to put up with nearly any abuse just to hang on to an income. Meanwhile, employers use their power to design workplaces to create a fine-grained division of labor in which workers are deskilled and thus easily replaceable. Cowen argues that workers get compensated with higher wages when employers impose adverse working conditions on them, and that, if anything, the tax code biases the market in favor of too many “perks” and not enough wages. I don’t think we should trivialize basic requirements of human dignity and well-being, such as freedom to use the bathroom, as mere “perks.” Cowen also ignores how the state has countered its purported tax bias by placing a very heavy thumb on the scales against worker autonomy, standing, and dignity, through its legal establishment of dictatorship as the default constitution of workplace governance.


pages: 307 words: 88,180

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee

AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, business cycle, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Google Chrome, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, ImageNet competition, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, new economy, pattern recognition, pirate software, profit maximization, QR code, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, The Future of Employment, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Y Combinator

Unlike the GPTs of the first and second Industrial Revolutions, AI will not facilitate the deskilling of economic production. It won’t take advanced tasks done by a small number of people and break them down further for a larger number of low-skill workers to do. Instead, it will simply take over the execution of tasks that meet two criteria: they can be optimized using data, and they do not require social interaction. (I will be going into greater detail about exactly which jobs AI can and cannot replace.) Yes, there will be some new jobs created along the way—robot repairing and AI data scientists, for example. But the main thrust of AI’s employment impact is not one of job creation through deskilling but of job replacement through increasingly intelligent machines. Displaced workers can theoretically transition into other industries that are more difficult to automate, but this is itself a highly disruptive process that will take a long time.

The steam engine and electrification were crucial pieces of the first and second Industrial Revolutions (1760–1830 and 1870–1914, respectively). Both of these GPTs facilitated the creation of the modern factory system, bringing immense power and abundant light to the buildings that were upending traditional modes of production. Broadly speaking, this change in the mode of production was one of deskilling. These factories took tasks that once required high-skilled workers (for example, handcrafting textiles) and broke the work down into far simpler tasks that could be done by low-skilled workers (operating a steam-driven power loom). In the process, these technologies greatly increased the amount of these goods produced and drove down prices. In terms of employment, early GPTs enabled process innovations like the assembly line, which gave thousands—and eventually hundreds of millions—of former farmers a productive role in the new industrial economy.

By 2017, the top 1 percent of Americans possessed almost twice as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent combined. While the most recent GPT proliferated across the economy, real wages for the median of Americans have remained flat for over thirty years, and they’ve actually fallen for the poorest Americans. One reason why ICT may differ from the steam engine and electrification is because of its “skill bias.” While the two other GPTs ramped up productivity by deskilling the production of goods, ICT is instead often—though not always—skill biased in favor of high-skilled workers. Digital communications tools allow top performers to efficiently manage much larger organizations and reach much larger audiences. By breaking down the barriers to disseminating information, ICT empowers the world’s top knowledge workers and undercuts the economic role of many in the middle.


pages: 86 words: 27,453

Why We Work by Barry Schwartz

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

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

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


Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom, Molyn Leszcz

cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, deskilling, epigenetics, experimental subject, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial, the scientific method, traveling salesman, unbiased observer

Many clients carry their therapist around with them. The therapist is in them, observes their actions from over their shoulder, participates in imaginary conversations with them. When several members of a group share this desire for an all-knowing, all-caring leader, the meetings take on a characteristic flavor. The group seems helpless and dependent. The members deskill themselves and seem unable to help themselves or others. Deskilling is particularly dramatic in a group composed of professional therapists who suddenly seem unable to ask even the simplest questions of one another. For example, in one meeting a group may talk about loss. One member mentions, for the first time, the recent death of her mother. Then silence. There is sudden group aphasia. No one is even able to say, “Tell us more about it.”

The leader expressed his fantasy that Stewart was a plant, that he could not possibly be just beginning his training, since he conducted himself like a veteran with ten years’ group experience. The comment evoked a flood of tensions. It was not easily forgotten by the group and, for sessions to come, was periodically revived and angrily discussed. With his comment, the therapist placed the kiss of death on Stewart’s brow, since thereafter the group systematically challenged and deskilled him. It is to be expected that the therapist’s positive evaluation of one member will evoke feelings of sibling rivalry among the others. The struggle for dominance, as I will discuss in chapter 11, fluctuates in intensity throughout the group. It is much in evidence at the beginning of the group as members jockey for position in the pecking order. Once the hierarchy is established, the issue may become quiescent, with periodic flare-ups, for example, when some member, as part of his or her therapeutic work, begins to grow in assertiveness and to challenge the established order.

If therapists’ comments, even when repeated, fall on deaf ears, if therapists feel ignored by the group, if they find it extraordinarily difficult to influence the meeting, then it is clear that the resistance is powerful and that the group needs to be addressed as well as the individual members. It is not an easy undertaking. It is anxiety-provoking to buck the entire group, and therapists may feel deskilled in such meetings. The group may also avoid work by more literal flight—absence or tardiness. Whatever the form, however, the result is the same: in the language of the group dynamicist, locomotion toward the attainment of group goals is impeded, and the group is no longer engaged in its primary task. Not uncommonly, the issue precipitating the resistance is discussed symbolically. I have seen groups deal with their uneasiness about observers metaphorically by long discussions about other types of confidentiality violation: for example, public posting of grades for a school course, family members opening one another’s mail, and invasive credit company computers.


Liberty's Dawn: A People's History of the Industrial Revolution by Emma Griffin

agricultural Revolution, Corn Laws, deskilling, equal pay for equal work, full employment, informal economy, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, labour mobility, spinning jenny, Thomas Malthus, trickle-down economics, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, working poor

Barker, pp. 3–4; Sanderson, p. 22; and Thomson, pp. 59–76); informal arrangement (Thompson, pp. 6–7). Butcher: informal arrangement ( J. Taylor, p. 8). Coopers: formal apprenticeships (Hart, 7/2, p. 151; and Nicol, p. 25). 25. Gammage p. 37; North, p. 103; Murdoch, pp. 8–12; Whetstone, p. 60; E. Davis, p. 10. Coach-­trimming refers to the painting of horse-­drawn carriages. 26. On deskilling, see in particular, Harry Braverman, Labor and Monopoly Capital: the Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century (New York, 1974). See also Stephen J. Nicholas and Jacqueline M. Nicholas, ‘Male literacy, “deskilling”, and the industrial revolution’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 23/1 (1992), pp. 1–18. 27. Dunning, pp. 120–4. See also Struthers, pp. xxxiv–xxxvi. 28. Dunning, p. 124. 29. Aird, pp. 10–11; Memoirs of a Printer’s Devil, pp. 91–2: Bertram, pp. 3–28; Autobiography of Scotch Lad, pp. 26–33; Adams, pp. 81–90; Leno, pp. 8–9; [Smith], pp. 6–8; Paterson, pp. 60–2; J.

A similar route was taken by many of the bakers, butchers, carpenters, coopers, metalworkers and shipwrights.24 Other more unusual trades were also accessible outside the apprenticeship system. Amongst those who became skilled labourers without ever mustering the means to pay their master a premium were a coach-­trimmer, chair-­maker, knife-­grinder, shopkeeper, and a maker of pearl ornaments.25 The creation of new ways to learn a skilled trade has sometimes been dismissed as evidence of the ‘deskilling’ of the independent artisan that occurred during the industrial revolution.26 But the beauty of skilled labour 4017.indd 28 25/01/13 8:21 PM m e n at w o r k 29 is very much in the eye of the beholder. Of course, the protected status of those who had served an apprenticeship was valuable to the fortunate few; but it did little for those who by dint of poverty were left outside. From their perspective, the relaxation of entry to the trades was wholly advantageous.

This was an era of rising wealth, and even if the lion’s share was greedily swallowed up by the middle classes, their burgeoning incomes inevitably increased demand for goods such as shoes, clothes, bread, buildings and furniture. At the same time, rapid urbanisation made the kinds of control that the trade societies had previously exercised over entry to their ranks impossible to enforce. Industrialisation certainly did carry a degree of social turmoil along with it in much the way that many of the pessimists have maintained. It may also have led to the ‘deskilling’ of some trades. Yet many at the bottom of society proved extremely adept at grasping opportunity from the chaos.33 No matter how skills had been acquired, the learning of a trade could usher in a more comfortable and prosperous working life. In even the humblest branches of skilled labour the ability to work a trade carried the promise of better-paid and more regular employment, which together represented a very significant advantage indeed.


Driverless Cars: On a Road to Nowhere by Christian Wolmar

Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, bitcoin, Boris Johnson, BRICs, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, deskilling, Diane Coyle, don't be evil, Elon Musk, high net worth, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Tesla Model S, Travis Kalanick, wikimedia commons, Zipcar

Despite Musk’s confidence, the problems posed by Level 2 are exacerbated in Level 3, in which the main 39 Driverless Cars: On a Road to Nowhere difference is that while the driver must still remain vigilant and ready to intervene in an emergency, responsibility for all the critical safety functions is shifted to the car. The added risk is that drivers will lose focus, and therefore not know when or whether to intervene, or they will be too slow to react. An even greater conundrum about the long-term effect of Level 3 is the deskilling of motorists who become accustomed to adopting a solely supervisory role when driving. Driver aids in general have already been shown to reduce the skill set of motorists. According to Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the United States: There are lots of concerns about people checking out and we are trying to monitor that now. Everything we do that makes the driving task a little easier means that people are going to pay a little bit less attention when they’re driving.21 This is a well-known phenomenon known as the ‘paradox of automation’.

Everything we do that makes the driving task a little easier means that people are going to pay a little bit less attention when they’re driving.21 This is a well-known phenomenon known as the ‘paradox of automation’. Experience of other industries, notably nuclear power, suggests that there are enormous risks with control systems that relegate the operator to a managerial role whose only job is to intercede in the case of an emergency. In both the aviation and maritime industries there have been examples of the negative effect of this deskilling. In aviation, pilots who 40 The triple revolution have become used to relying on autopilot, which flies the aircraft much of the time, have found it difficult to react correctly to emergency situations. This was most apparent in the disaster involving an Air France A330 that plunged into the Atlantic in June 2009, killing all 228 people on board. Hitting an area of turbulence, the autopilot disconnected probably as a result of ice forming on inlet tubes, and the pilots subsequently misread their instruments, reacting incorrectly by making the aircraft climb when they thought it was descending.


pages: 360 words: 101,038

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax

Airbnb, barriers to entry, big-box store, call centre, cloud computing, creative destruction, death of newspapers, declining real wages, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, hypertext link, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low cost airline, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Minecraft, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Travis Kalanick, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog

The term economists have used for this is reskilling, which is the antidote to the phenomenon of deskilling that has been a natural consequence of automating workflow. In his excellent book on the cost of automation, The Glass Cage, Nicholas Carr defines deskilling: “As more skills are built into the machine, it assumes more control over the work, and the worker’s opportunity to engage in and develop deeper talents, such as those involved in interpretation and judgment, dwindles. When automation reaches its highest level, when it takes command of the job, the worker, skill wise, has nowhere to go but down.” Carr tracks the consequences of this, from plane crashes that occurred because pilots became too reliant on autopilot to doctors who miss diseases because they use diagnostic software. The most common example of deskilling I see involves Uber drivers who blindly follow their GPS guidance, even while I am shouting from the backseat that I can see the address out the window.

See software computers analog as the future of, 225 in defining digital, xiv design and, 32, 222, 223 in education, 181, 182, 183–185, 187, 196, 199 film manufacturing and, 65 in gaming, 81 and the Great Recession, 156, 157 job creation and, 161–162 music and, ix–x, 7–8, 23, 26 security of, safeguards for, 224 at summer camp, 234 years living with, 237 See also laptops Compuware, 171 Condé Nast, 105, 107 Contributoria (newspaper), 116, 117 Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities (Kelly), 228–229 Cool Tools (blog), 228 correspondence courses, 178, 201, 202 counterculture, 12–13, 206, 225, 229 Coursera, 201 Cowen, Tyler, 166 Craigslist, 107, 124, 126, 146 Cramped, The (blog), 37 Cranium, 76 Creative Cloud, 47 creative destruction, 153, 154, 162, 168 creative-thinking skills, developing, 192, 195, 199, 218 creativity defining jobs by, 154, 155, 158 friction and, 219 limiting, 132, 181, 188 potential for, 35, 36, 39, 63 Criminal Records, 14 critical-thinking skills, developing, 199 Crosley, 17–18, 22 crowdfunding, xvii, 43, 73, 91–92, 94, 95–96, 98, 105, 116, 191 Crupnick, Russ, 18, 19 Cuban, Larry, 179–180, 183 curated content, 223, 224 custom newspapers, 116, 117–120 customer acquisition, 133, 137 cybersecurity, 224 Daily Telegraph, The (newspaper), 114 D’Angelo, 27 Danzig, Richard, 224 Dark Side of the Moon (album), 26 data centers, 161 Dauch, Colby, 84 Daviau, Rob, 84 Davies, Russell, 117 Davis, Miles, 25 Days of Wonder, 91 De Koven, Bernie, 81 Dead Fish Museum, The (D’Ambrosio), 130 Dead Weather, 21 Deal: American Dream, 95–96 Dean, Paul, 90 Delayed Gratification (magazine), 106, 107 Demby, Eric, 145 Department of Record Stores, 13–14 Descalzo, Marco, 57 design business, 32–33, 36 design thinking, 193, 197, 198–199, 199–201, 225 Design Week, 29–30, 32, 47–48 deskilling, 158–159 desktop publishing software, 105 Detroit, economy of, 152, 155–156, 157 Detroit Future City, 171 digital ads, 108, 109, 110, 133 digital age, 9, 31, 182 digital books. See eBooks digital businesses investing in, 170–172 market valuation of, 170, 171 See also specific businesses digital cameras, 54, 55–56, 61, 62, 70, 231 digital distraction, xv digital divide, bridging, testing the theory behind, 183–184, 185 digital downloads, x, xvi, 9, 10, 12, 16, 18, 19, 22 digital economy, 152–155, 160, 161, 163, 165, 166, 170 digital education technology.


pages: 345 words: 75,660

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Air France Flight 447, Airbus A320, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Black Swan, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, data acquisition, data is the new oil, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Google Glasses, high net worth, ImageNet competition, income inequality, information retrieval, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Lyft, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, new economy, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, performance metric, profit maximization, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tim Cook: Apple, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

To gain experience about all your customers, you may sometimes need to degrade the product for those customers in order to get feedback that will benefit everyone. Humans Also Need Experience The scarcity of experience becomes even more salient when you consider the experience of your human resources. If the machines get the experience, then the humans might not. Recently, some expressed concern that automation could result in the deskilling of humans. Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic on route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in 2009. The crisis began with bad weather, but escalated when the plane’s autopilot disengaged. At the helm during that time, unlike Sully in the US Airways plane, a relatively inexperienced pilot poorly handled the situation, according to reports. When a more experienced pilot took over (he had been asleep), he was unable to properly assess the situation.14 The experienced pilot had slept little the night before.

They had been looking at their laptops.15 Not surprisingly, other examples we’ve discussed in this book tend to fall into the category of airplanes rather than customer service complaints, including the whole domain of self-driving cars. What will we do when we don’t drive most of the time but have a car that hands control to us during an extreme event? What will our children do? The solutions involve ensuring that humans gain and retain skills, reducing the amount of automation to provide time for human learning. In effect, experience is a scarce resource, some of which you need to allocate to humans to avoid deskilling. The reverse logic is also true. To train prediction machines, having them learn through the experience of potentially catastrophic events is surely valuable. But if you put a human in the loop, how will that machine’s experience emerge? And so another trade-off in generating a pathway to learning is between human and machine experience. These trade-offs reveal the implications of the AI-first declarations of the leadership of Google, Microsoft, and others.

See also uncertainty AI canvas for, 134–138 AI’s impact on, 3 centrality of, 73–74 cheap prediction and, 29 complexity and, 103–110 decomposing, 133–140 on deployment timing, 184–187 elements of, 74–76, 134–138 experiments and, 99–100 fully automated, 111–119 human strengths in, 98–102 human weaknesses in prediction and, 54–58 judgment in, 74, 75–76, 78–81, 83–94, 96–97 knowledge in, 76–78 modeling and, 99, 100–102 predicting judgment and, 95–102 preferences and, 88–90 satisficing in, 107–109 work flow analysis and, 123–131 decision trees, 13, 78–81 Deep Genomics, 3 deep learning approach, 7, 13 back propagation in, 38 flexibility in, 36 to language translation, 26–27 security risks with, 203–204 DeepMind, 7–8, 183, 187, 222, 223 Deep Thinking (Kasporov), 63 demand management, 156–157 dependent variables, 45 deployment decisions, 184–187 deskilling, 192–193 deterministic programming, 38, 40 Didi, 219 disparate impact, 197 disruptive technologies, 181–182 diversity, 201–202 division of labor, 53–69 human/machine collaboration, 65–67 human weaknesses in prediction and, 54–58 machine weaknesses in prediction and, 58–65 prediction by exception and, 67–68 dog fooding, 184 drone weapons, 116 Dropbox, 190 drug discovery, 28, 134–138 Dubé, J.


pages: 361 words: 83,886

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

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

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

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

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


pages: 607 words: 185,487

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed by James C. Scott

agricultural Revolution, business cycle, clean water, colonial rule, commoditize, deskilling, facts on the ground, germ theory of disease, informal economy, invention of writing, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, land tenure, Louis Pasteur, new economy, New Urbanism, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit maximization, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, stochastic process, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

We must learn to combine the public-meeting democracy of the working people-turbulent, surging, overflowing its banks like a spring flood-with iron discipline while at work, with unquestioning obedience to the will of a single person, the Soviet leader, while at work ."14 In this respect, Lenin joins many of his capitalist contemporaries in his enthusiasm for Fordist and Taylorist production technology. What was rejected by Western trade unions of the time as a "de-skilling" of an artisanal workforce was embraced by Lenin as the key to rational state planning.45 There is, for Lenin, a single, objectively correct, efficient answer to all questions of how to rationally design production or administration.46 Lenin goes on to imagine, in a Fourierist vein, a vast national syndicate that will virtually run itself. He sees it as a technical net whose mesh will confine workers to the appropriate routines by its rationality and the discipline of habit.

Every new material practice altered in some way the existing distribution of power, wealth, and status; and the agricultural specialists' claims to be neutral technicians with no institutional stake in the outcome can hardly be accepted at face value.68 The centralizing effects of Soviet collectivization and ujamaa villages were perfectly obvious. So are those of large irrigation projects, where authorities decide when to release the water, how to distribute it, and what water fees to charge, or of agricultural plantations, where the workforce is supervised as if it were in a factory setting.69 For colonialized farmers, the effect of such centralization and expertise was a radical de-skilling of the cultivators themselves. Even in the context of family farms and a liberal economy, this was in fact the utopian prospect held up by Liberty Hyde Bailey, a plant breeder, apostle of agricultural science, and the chairman of the Country Life Commission under Theodore Roosevelt. Bailey declared, "There will be established in the open country plant doctors, plant breeders, soil experts, health experts, pruning and spraying experts, forest experts, recreation experts, market experts, ...

One of the major purposes of state simplifications, collectivization, assembly lines, plantations, and planned communities alike is to strip down reality to the bare bones so that the rules will in fact explain more of the situation and provide a better guide to behavior. To the extent that this simplification can be imposed, those who make the rules can actually supply crucial guidance and instruction. This, at any rate, is what I take to be the inner logic of social, economic, and productive de-skilling. If the environment can be simplified down to the point where the rules do explain a great deal, those who formulate the rules and techniques have also greatly expanded their power. They have, correspondingly, diminished the power of those who do not. To the degree that they do succeed, cultivators with a high degree of autonomy, skills, experience, self-confidence, and adaptability are replaced by cultivators following instructions.


pages: 351 words: 100,791

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

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

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

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

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


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Rendezvous With Oblivion: Reports From a Sinking Society by Thomas Frank

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, business climate, business cycle, call centre, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, edge city, Frank Gehry, high net worth, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, McMansion, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, urban planning, Washington Consensus, Works Progress Administration

In fact, the conditions of employment have been engineered almost as carefully as the brands and the burgers—engineered to achieve the complete interchangeability of workers. In his classic Fast Food Nation (2001), Eric Schlosser describes the industry’s manic pursuit of standardization. The food arrives at the restaurant mostly frozen; the machines that do the cooking are foolproof; virtually no skills are required. “Jobs that have been ‘de-skilled’ can be filled cheaply,” writes Schlosser. “The need to retain any individual worker is greatly reduced by the ease with which he or she can be replaced.” Indeed, these are not really restaurants at all but “food systems,” a term favored by the companies themselves. And naturally these systematizers are militantly anti-union. Schlosser tells of a “flying squad” of McDonald’s executives who roamed the country during the 1960s and 1970s, stamping out pro-labor sentiment.

Look on my technology, ye powerless, and despair! I thought about that nightmare of automation for quite a while after Berman’s ad ran. It has a grain of truth to it, of course. Journalists have been replaced with bloggers and crowd-sourcing. Factory hands have been replaced with robots. University professors are being replaced with adjuncts and MOOCs. What else might the god Efficiency choose to de-skill? Here’s a suggestion: how about the ideological carnival barkers in D.C.? The fast-food strike triggered a predictable pundit reaction, and as I watched the creaking libertarian apparatus send its suit-and-tie spokesmen before the cameras to denounce unions, I wondered how long capital would stand to be represented in this old-fashioned way. In many cases, the kind of people I’m describing haven’t had an original thought in years.


pages: 419 words: 109,241

A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond by Daniel Susskind

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, natural language processing, Network effects, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, precariat, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social intelligence, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, wealth creators, working poor, working-age population, Y Combinator

Ned Ludd, the apocryphal leader of the Luddite uprising against automation, was a skilled worker of his age, not an unskilled one. If he actually existed, he would have been a professional of sorts—perhaps even a card-carrying member of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers, a prestigious club for people of his trade. And the mechanical looms that displaced Ned and his comrades meant that someone with less skill, without Ned’s specialized training, could take his place. These new machines were “de-skilling,” making it easier for less-skilled people to produce high-quality wares that would have required skilled workers in the past. The share of unskilled workers in England appears to have doubled from the late 1500s to the early 1800s.12 This change was no accident. Andrew Ure, an influential figure who acted as a sort of early management consultant to manufacturers, called for taking away tasks from “the cunning workman” and replacing him with machines so simple to use that “a child may superintend” instead.

Data is figure 6 in David Autor, “Skills, Education, and the Rise of Earnings Inequality Among the ‘Other 99 Percent,’” Science 344, no. 6186 (2014): 843–51. 10.  From Max Roser and Mohamed Nagdy, “Returns to Education,” https://ourworldindata.org/returns-to-education (accessed 1 May 2018). 11.  See Daron Acemoglu, “Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market,” Journal of Economic Literature 40, no. 1 (2002): 7–72. 12.  For England, see Alexandra Pleijt and Jacob Weisdorf, “Human Capital Formation from Occupations: The ‘Deskilling Hypothesis’ Revisited,” Cliometrica 11, no. 1 (2017): 1–30. A similar story unfolded in the United States; see Kevin O’Rourke, Ahmed Rahman, and Alan Taylor, “Luddites, the Industrial Revolution, and the Demographic Transition,” Journal of Economic Growth 18, no. 4 (2013): 373–409. 13.  Quoted in Ben Seligman, Most Notorious Victory: Man in an Age of Automation (New York: Free Press, 1966), p. 11. 14.  

Piketty, Thomas, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman. “Distribution National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 133, no. 2 (2018): 553–609. Piketty, Thomas, and Gabriel Zucman. “Capital Is Back: Wealth–Income Ratios in Rich Countries 1700–2010.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 129, no. 3 (2014): 1255–1310. Pleijt, Alexandra, and Jacob Weisdorf. “Human Capital Formation from Occupations: The ‘Deskilling Hypothesis’ Revisited.” Cliometrica 11, no. 1 (2017): 1–30. Polanyi, Michael. The Tacit Dimension. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1966. Popper, Karl. The Open Society and Its Enemies, vol. 1: The Age of Plato. London: Routledge, 1945. Putnam, Hilary. “Much Ado About Not Very Much.” Daedalus 117, no. 1 (1988): 269–81. PwC. “Global Top 100 Companies by Market Capitalisation.” 2018. ________.


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The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Airbnb, Atul Gawande, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, deskilling, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Glasses, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, lifelogging, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, pets.com, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Yogi Berra

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Innovation and Its Enemies by Calestous Juma

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deskilling, disruptive innovation, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, global value chain, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, smart grid, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Travis Kalanick

In the past, technological risks were confined to countries in which new technologies emerged or even to specific sectors where they were applied. Concerns in the 1970s over the use of microprocessors in industry were restricted to the possible impact on labor displacement in the manufacturing sectors. Workers and labor organizations around the world protested the use of this emerging technology. Echoes of these debates are heard today in discussions on “de-skilling” of the labor force and erosion of human capital. “The opportunities for conflict are much wider when we consider human capital. Skills and experience are acquired over a lifetime, but the ability to learn new skills declines over the life cycle. Workers beyond the student or apprentice stage can be expected to question new techniques insofar as innovation makes their skills obsolete and thus irreversibly reduces their expected lifespan earnings.”108 Fear that using computers as educational tools in schools would displace teachers is still in public consciousness, despite the rapid adoption of this technology for teaching purposes.

See Direct current Death Commission (NY State), 161–162 Death penalty, 160–164 Deaths from electricity, 159–160 from refrigerator gas leaks, 183, 184 Decca Records, 212, 216, 218 Dedicated biotechnology firms (DBFs), 230–231 Deere, John, 123 DeKalb Genetics Corporation, 232–233 Deliberative decisionmaking, 282–283 Demonization. See Stigmatization Dengue fever, 255–256 Denmark transgenic products, suspending of authorization for, 240 xerophthalmia in, 112 Department of ___. See name of specific US department De-skilling, 40 Desserts Frozen with Ice and Salt (Pennington), 182 Destructive creation, 222, 298 Detroit Edison Station, 157–158 Developing world access to scientific and technical knowledge, 13 biosafety regulations, 241 complex decisions by, 286–287 fish, demand for, 259 healthcare leapfrogging, 285 protein consumption, 34 technologies, views on, 291–292 “Devil’s Instrument,” telephone as, 309 al-Dhabani, Muhamad, 47–48 Diamond v.

See AquAdvantage salmon Salt, use in ice cooling, 177 Sandoz company, 232–233 Schools, computers in, 41 Schultz, Theodore William, 95, 116 Schumpeter, Joseph on consumers’ tastes, changes in, 45 creative destruction, concept of, 16–17, 19, 39, 42, 47, 121, 129, 139, 280, 309 economic development, application of complex systems thinking to, 27 on economic gains from innovation, 203 on equilibrium, 27 on entrepreneurs, 258 innovation, taxonomy of, 175 on leadership, 282 railroads, characterization of impact of, 122 on resistance to innovation, 1, 96 social transformation and, 16–23 on technological innovation, 225, 293–294 Schuylkill River, ice from, 181 Science advisory bodies, 286–287 science-based approval processes, need for, 277–278 science-based regulation, 236–244, 277 scientific and technical knowledge, developing world’s access to, 13 scientific information, democratization of, 313 scientific research, dynamics of success in, 327n115 scientific uncertainty, about new technologies, 120, 239–240 scientists, communication by, 312–313 Science advice importance of, 174–175 scientific advisory bodies, importance of, 7 scientific and technical advice, structures for, 287–288, 306 Scott, Leon, 207 Scribes, 71, 77 Seatbelts, social norms on, 33 Seattle, frozen pack laboratory in, 195 SEC (Securities Exchange Commission), 274–275 Second-generation biotechnology, 253–254 Secularization, of the Ottoman Empire, 91 Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), 274–275 Security, as grand challenge, 12 Sedgwick, William, 187 Seed sector, 30, 243 Selective breeding, fish farming and, 262–263 Self-driving cars, impact of, 13 Self-organizing systems, 6, 28 Selim I, Sultan, 68 Selim II, Sultan, 51 Selim III, Sultan, 93 Senate, US, 196, 215 Senefelder, Alois, 92 Shams (Syrian businessman), 51 Ships, 195, 295–296 Silent Spring (Carson), 14, 224–225, 231 Singers, prominence of, vs. bands, 219 Single path dependence, as limitation on innovation, 250 Single studies, false balance of, vs. evidence, 249–250 Singularity. See Exponential function Skepticism attitudes and, 36 of electricity, 151 means of combating, 314–315 toward innovation, sources of, 23, 36 of the written word, 74, 85 Skills de-skilling, 40 development opportunities for, 284 engineering skills, 122, 127, 137 high vs. low, 26 life skills, 140–141 musical, 205 organizational, 98 in printing, 77 Sleeping sickness (encephalomyelitis), 133 Small markets, 324n75 Smartphones, 300 Smith-Hughes Act (1917), 137 Smith-Lever Act (1914), 137 Social institutions. See Institutions Social media political empathy and, 37 role in reform of Middle East, 91 Social opposition.


pages: 242 words: 245

The New Ruthless Economy: Work & Power in the Digital Age by Simon Head

Asian financial crisis, business cycle, business process, call centre, conceptual framework, deskilling, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, informal economy, information retrieval, medical malpractice, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, supply-chain management, telemarketer, Thomas Davenport, Toyota Production System, union organizing

As we saw in the last chapter, the role of the physician in planned, managerial medicine is very different from the role that Americans have become used to in their twohundred-year history, and indeed different from the physician's role in over two millennia of Western civilization. In the new, planned medicine, the physician's chief task is to place the patient in the correct subgroup so that the appropriate "protocol or plan" for that group can then be put into operation.13 This significant de-skilling of the physician makes him increasingly a cog in the wheel of the medical process, and so vulnerable to the disciplines of scientific management. With the declining popularity of managed care and the loosening of its control over medical decision making, it is tempting to write off this vision of the physician's diminished role as a passing aberration that will go the way of the dot-corns. But the managed care industry harnesses two extremely powerful forces at work throughout the economy: the drive of corporations to raise productivity and profits by applying the methods of industrialization to service industries, and their belief that information technology gives them the means to do it.

An overriding goal of The New Ruthless Economy, and of the reengineering that underpins it, has been to turn these ideas on 187 188 THE NEW RUTHLESS ECONOMY their head so that increases in employee productivity are not matched by increases in employees' real wages and benefits, with the fruits of increased productivity diverted elsewhere—to shareholders, senior managers, and CEOs. The link between higher productivity and higher real wages and benefits breaks down when technology is used in ways that deskill most workers, undermine their security in the workplace, and leave them vulnerable to employers possessed of overwhelming power. In such an economy one would expect the figures for the growth of labor productivity and figures for the growth of real wages and benefits to grow far apart, and that is exactly what the statistics do show. Between 1989 and 2002 the American worker's total compensation— wages plus benefits—grew at any average annual rate of .43 percent.


pages: 231 words: 73,818

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

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

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


pages: 251 words: 76,128

Borrow: The American Way of Debt by Louis Hyman

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

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

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


pages: 372 words: 152

The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin

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

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

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

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


pages: 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

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

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


pages: 382 words: 92,138

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

"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

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

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


pages: 976 words: 235,576

The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite by Daniel Markovits

"Robert Solow", 8-hour work day, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Anton Chekhov, asset-backed security, assortative mating, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Emanuel Derman, equity premium, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, high net worth, hiring and firing, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, medical residency, minimum wage unemployment, Myron Scholes, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, stakhanovite, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Davenport, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, traveling salesman, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

Finally, traditional loan officers possessed educational and social backgrounds commensurate to their solidly middle-class status. Home mortgage finance operates in a profoundly different fashion today. The difference has transformed work in the sector, in two ways. On the one hand, banks have sharply reduced the numbers of home mortgage loan officers required to process a given volume of loans, and the loan officers who remain have been distinctly—indeed transformatively—deskilled. Loan officers today do little more than help potential borrowers gather information and fill in forms: they are less professional bankers than collectors of machine-scorable data; they employ virtually no expertise or imagination; and their work emphasizes mechanical rote repetition rather than independent judgment. Contemporary banks, by “basing [mortgage loan officers’] performance bonuses solely on volume” rather than in any way connected to the accuracy of the loan decisions, typically abandon even the pretense that these street-level workers exercise professional skill and judgment or operate on anything other than the model of an assembly line.

Today, the meritocratic elite, not individually but as a class, is in precisely this position. Superordinate labor is essential to production given the current state of technology, which causes the labor market to fetishize elite skills. This entails that total output is much greater when elites work than when the remaining less skilled workers attempt to deploy current technologies without the elite. Deskilled loan officers, for example, could not possibly manage modern home mortgage finance without super-skilled workers to construct and trade mortgage-backed securities. And the super-skilled workers who administer securitization expect pay commensurate to the gains from securitization, which they regard as specifically their product. Similarly, line workers in downsized firms stripped of their own managerial capacities now depend on top managers to coordinate production.

And in management, governance regimes that rein in the market for corporate control, or that promote long-term employment over subcontracting, disperse the management function and its returns across a broad class of middle managers. Conventional debates about all of these reforms focus on what effects they will have on the quantity, quality, and price of goods and services. Those are reasonable concerns. But the reforms also influence whether production is divided into gloomy and glossy jobs or unified around mid-skilled ones. Health care can be delivered by a few specialist doctors who deploy high-tech machines and deskilled technicians, or by a mass of mid-skilled GPs and nurse-practitioners. Which approach is best for patients of course matters. But even where health is at stake, whether one-sixth of the economy succumbs to meritocratic inequality or promotes democratic equality through mid-skilled work matters also. Indeed, it matters just as much. Policymakers should therefore always attend to how their choices will impact the balance between elite and middle-class jobs.


pages: 580 words: 168,476

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

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

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

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


pages: 561 words: 157,589

WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us by Tim O'Reilly

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, deskilling, DevOps, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, gravity well, greed is good, Guido van Rossum, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lao Tzu, Larry Wall, Lean Startup, Leonard Kleinrock, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, microbiome, microservices, minimum viable product, mortgage tax deduction, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Oculus Rift, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Sam Altman, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, social web, software as a service, software patent, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The Future of Employment, the map is not the territory, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, VA Linux, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, yellow journalism, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Looking at the history of the nineteenth-century cotton mills in Lowell, Massachusetts, as well as the introduction of modern digital technology, he comes to the conclusion that our traditional narrative about innovation is wrong. The bulk of the gains in productivity come over time, as innovations are implemented and put into practice. Bessen describes how major innovations, such as the introduction of the steam mill, involve both de-skilling and up-skilling, the replacement of one set of skills with another. It is mythology, he notes, that automation replaced skilled crafters with unskilled workers. In fact, by measuring the productivity difference between beginners and fully competent crafters and doing the same for workers in the new factories, it is possible to determine that in the 1840s, it took a full-year investment in training for either to reach full productivity.

Yes, it’s essential to bring in new talent with the latest skills, but retraining your existing team and building new ways for people to work together is also essential. The presence of a stable, trained workforce is not something to be achieved and then taken for granted. The mill owners of Lowell invested in their workforce; the decisions in America over the past decades to ship manufacturing jobs overseas have effectively been a commitment to de-skilling without re-skilling. As new small-batch techniques now make manufacturing cost-effective in America again, the necessary skilled labor force is missing. According to a 2015 study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, more than two million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled over the next decade. Even if China’s costs rise to match those of the United States, the United States would not be competitive without a major investment in manufacturing skills development.

., 250 Dvorak, John, 41 Dyson, George, 45 eBay, 39, 182–83, 294 “Economic Mechanism Design for Computerized Agents” (Varian), 261 “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren” (Keynes), 298–99 economics, 271–73 assigning a value to caregiving, 310–11 efficiency wages, 197 employers’ 29-hour loophole, 194–95, 196 fundamental law of capitalism, 268 invisible hand of competition, 262–70 the “laws” of economics, 257–62 and leisure time, 308–11 machine money and people money, 306–7, 308, 309 minimum wage, 197–98, 264–68 secular stagnation, 271 Stiglitz exposes the 1%, 255 trickle down, 244, 265, 273 universal basic income, 305–6, 307–11 wealth inequality, 263–65 welfare economics, 263, 266, 307 economy, xxii and adaptations to change, xxiv–xxv creativity-based, 312–19 financial crisis of 2008, 172–73, 175, 238, 265, 275, 359 as government’s thick marketplace, 133 of Korea, 134 technology and the future of the economy scenario plan, 364–67 See also financial markets economy and Silicon Valley, 274–75 the Clothesline Paradox, 295–97 digital platforms and the real economy, 288–89 market capitalization/supermoney, 276–79, 280–84, 289 measuring value creation, 289–95 pool of qualified workers, 347–50 venture capital-backed startups, 275, 282–84 Y Combinator program for VC-funded companies, 286–87 education/training creating, sharing, and embedding into tools, 323–32, 334–36 as investment in other’s children, 320–21 for jobs, 303, 304, 321 lagging behind technology, 335–36 learning by doing, 337–41, 345–50 on-demand education, 341–45 Open Cloud Academy at Rackspace, 350 play element, 340–41 and social capital, 345–50 efficiency wages, 197 efficient market hypothesis, 259–61 “Eight Principles of Open Government Data” (Malamud, Lessig, and O’Reilly), 130–31 electric cars, safety-related load of, 66–67 Eliot, T. S., 41 Emerging Technology Conference, 27 employees continuous partial employment, 190–98 corporate investment choices vs., 246, 247–48 de-skilling without re-skilling, 349–50 full time vs. 29-hour loophole, 194–95, 196 increasing earning potential of, 243 independent contractor vs., 190–92 as job-creating customers, 250–52, 264, 271, 357 labor movement, 262–63 and living wage, 194 minimum-wage mandate vs. market-based algorithms, 197–98 new paradigm for, 196 stock-based compensation and company size, 280–81 valuing skills vs. degrees, 342–43, 345–50 See also augmented workers; jobs English, Paul, 330–31 Eno, Brian, 355–56 Entrepreneurial State (Mazzucato), 296 Etsy, 292–93 “Everything Is Amazing and Nobody’s Happy” (Louis CK), 377n Facebook, 52, 315–16 advertising, 162 building social infrastructure, 218–20 and clickbait, 224 and fake news, 201–2, 204, 205–7, 215–17 and global affairs, 43 as network of people and advertisers, 64 News Feed, 162 ownership and control of central user network, 101 and presidential election of 2016, 199–201 raising money for causes, 371 study of emotional effects of content, 227 fact checking, 210–14 Fadell, Tony, 82 fake news algorithmic whac-a-mole, 201–8 dealing with disagreement, 220–24 eliminating incentives, 224–28 fact checking, 210–14 presidential election of 2016, 199–201 and process of abstraction, 21, 211 responding to, 215–20 Farrell, Henry, 220, 223 Faurot, Eric, 128–29 Feynman, Richard, 22, 340 “Fight for 15,” 267–68 Fin AI-based personal assistant startup, 331 financial markets corporate raiders, 242–52 and crisis of 2008, 172–73, 175, 238, 265, 275, 359 and fitness function, 238–40, 242, 248, 303 focus on stock price vs. long-term investment, 242–51 fraud potential, 277, 283 high-frequency trading impact, 236–37, 272 inflation, 239–40 IPOs, 274, 277, 278–79, 293 the market as programming run amok, 231–32, 236–38 market of goods and services vs., 257 and misinformation, 210–11 and regulations, 172–73 serving itself vs. real economy, 251–52 shareholder capitalism, 240–41, 245–51, 256, 263–68, 292 social values as anathema, 240–41, 251 stock prices as a bad map, 243–45 system design leads to predictable outcomes, 238–41, 256–62 value investing, 271–72, 284–85 Fink, Larry, 242–43, 272 Firestein, Stuart, 340 fitness function, 106 of Amazon teams, 114, 118 for economy, 269, 367–68 of Facebook, 162–63, 219–20 and fake news, 225 and financial markets, 238–40, 242, 248, 303 of Google’s Search Quality team, 156–57, 173–74 making money as, 226, 239–41, 274, 352 and search engine ratings, 158 fitness landscape, xxii, 106 Flash Crash of stock market (2010), 237 Foo Camp (annual unconference), 50 Ford, Martin, 269 Foroohar, Rana, 251–52, 271 Foursquare, 84 Fox News, 208 free software, 16–19.


pages: 299 words: 19,560

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

1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, G4S, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, liberation theology, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

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

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


pages: 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, en.wikipedia.org, 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

Both types of workers were considered liminal characters. The contractor was treated like a hammer or mechanical pencil, there only to do an immediate task. Interns, by contrast, were being groomed to step into the corner office someday. By the early 20th century, any occupation shaped by advanced training, certification, and professional codes of conduct was valued as a skilled profession. The de-skilled worker in a factory setting became synonymous with the unionized worker able to protect their position and workplace through federal regulations. Anyone considered “non-exempt” from the Fair Labor Standards Act could expect to receive overtime for hours worked beyond the maximum workday.23 But tucked in the regulations were exceptions. Salaried clerical and administrative workers, though some of the lowest-paid employees, could be legally required to work beyond 40 hours and were not eligible for overtime.

The move to postindustrial service economies has also sparked a second boom in what analysts call “knowledge work.” In short, knowledge work is the conversion of the creative expertise required to think with and massage data into consumable services delivered online by industries from tech and law to finance and entertainment. Thinkers from Karl Marx to Adam Smith imagined that machines played a critical role in “de-skilling” human labor. For Marx, automation dehumanized workers. For Smith, quickening the pace and expanding the reach of machines left a clearer picture of what was divinely unique about humans. Both men, products of their time, assumed that automation’s intrinsic capacity to conquer all routine work was inevitable. This belief in the fundamental order and power of science to relieve humankind of its burdensome labor defines the Enlightenment and the industrial boom that followed it.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Airbus A320, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joan Didion, job automation, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

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

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


pages: 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

The chair as a category will still be relevant even into the distant future. Chairs take us through a series of key technological episodes in the evolution of design. After carving, turning and joining wood no longer defined the parameters of chair design, the pace changed dramatically in the nineteenth century, when the Thonet family transformed furniture into a fully industrial process. Michael Thonet deskilled furniture-making by investing in machinery and inventing new techniques that could produce complex shapes without craft skills. He did for furniture what McDonald’s did for catering, though with more culturally nourishing results. After bentwood, chair designers worked with another newly invented material, tubular steel, which became emblematic of the machine age. At the start of the 1920s, Marcel Breuer, Mart Stam and Mies van der Rohe, three of the modern movement’s key figures, all developed their own versions of the cantilevered chair using tubular steel within months of each other.

Morris & Co. opened for business some four years after Morris’s polar opposite, Michael Thonet, built the first of his furniture factories, at Koritschen, on the edge of the Austro-Hungarian empire, conveniently placed for its supply of timber and unskilled but cheap labour. By the start of 1914, Thonet had made seven million examples of its Number 14 design, the armless bentwood and cane-seat café chair. Morris & Co. made its products in batches seldom more than a few dozen at a time and barely outlived its founder. Thonet depended on deskilling the making process, and reducing craftsmen to the role of machine minders on a production line assembling components. Its chairs were beautiful, elegant and affordable; and how they were made was not the issue in their appeal. Morris’s workshops produced small numbers of objects which were never affordable and were not always beautiful. Perhaps the biggest and most hostile postbag I had as a journalist was when I reviewed Fiona McCarthy’s impressive biography of Morris.


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

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

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

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


pages: 870 words: 259,362

Austerity Britain: 1945-51 by David Kynaston

Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, continuous integration, deindustrialization, deskilling, Etonian, full employment, garden city movement, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, invisible hand, job satisfaction, labour mobility, light touch regulation, mass immigration, moral panic, Neil Kinnock, occupational segregation, price mechanism, rent control, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shared worldview, stakhanovite, strikebreaker, the market place, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, young professional

‘By the 1950s some of the major skilled crafts, like hand tin-hammering and wooden joinery body building, had effectively vanished,’ he writes. ‘Even in the most conservative firms, moving assembly lines were now the normal practice.’ It was, in short, a deskilled world of what one former car worker described as ‘very monotonous, terribly monotonous, repetitive work’. Or, in the words of another, ‘It was just pure drudgery. You became a wage slave, nothing else – the only thing you could see at the end of the week was your wages and that was it.’ Nevertheless, Thompson contends that this potentially dispiriting, deskilled reality co-existed in Coventry – above all at Standard – with a culture that owed much to earlier craft traditions. ‘The essential aim,’ he argues, ‘was to recapture traditional craft discretion in planning work’ – an objective made possible only through the post-war strength of the gang system, whereby ‘for more than twenty years’ there was ‘re-created in the context of mass production something of the old spirit of pride and mastery in skilled work, fused with a particular group solidarity’.

Not only the workers: ‘Children on the housing estates could be heard arguing, “My dad works at ESC [English Steel Corporation]. It’s better than Firth Browns.” Pity the child whose father’s occupation was so humble as to be ignored in the daily round of squabbles. The melter, the roller, the forgeman . . . these were the “worthy” occupations, not comparable in any way with the “wimpish” occupations found outside the factories.’ In general, such pride was unsurprising. Whatever the long-term trend towards deskilling that was undeniably taking place in British industry, the fact was that by mid-century less than 5 per cent of the overall workforce was engaged in mass-production processes, increasingly typified by the assembly line of the car plant. Nor does Zweig’s emphasis on the positive social function of the workplace seem misplaced. As often as not there was humour and camaraderie, as well as a strict hierarchy within many of the workforces – a hierarchy which, by informally imposing its code of proper conduct, in turn contributed to the strength of civil society.

‘The key stage was in the immediate post-war years,’ he claims, ‘when neither management nor the trade unions showed any significant commitment to serious research and development programmes.’ Instead, ‘they assumed a slow-growing world with an eternal taste for British goods’ while devising the gang system (providing an adequate degree of flexibility and workforce motivation) to meet pressing short-term production needs. He not only cites comparative studies with North America and Japan to show that ‘new technology need not imply personal deskilling’ but explicitly compares the Coventry experience – based essentially on negative workplace resistance – to that of Italy’s equivalent motor city, Turin, where the metalworkers’ unions made ‘constant demands on management for more intensive investment and higher-level training for the workforce’, as well as funding their own research centres on technological change. Altogether, it is a compelling analysis.


pages: 463 words: 115,103

Head, Hand, Heart: Why Intelligence Is Over-Rewarded, Manual Workers Matter, and Caregivers Deserve More Respect by David Goodhart

active measures, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, assortative mating, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, centre right, computer age, corporate social responsibility, COVID-19, Covid-19, David Attenborough, David Brooks, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, desegregation, deskilling, different worldview, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Flynn Effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, income inequality, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, post-industrial society, post-materialism, postindustrial economy, precariat, reshoring, Richard Florida, Scientific racism, Skype, social intelligence, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thorstein Veblen, twin studies, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, wages for housework, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, young professional

But it is also a sense that these occupations, with the partial exception of jobs like coding (which is also suffering shortages), belong to the past, not the future, and do not offer long-term security. It is true that overall demand for the skilled trades has been falling and will probably continue to fall. The jobs are either being made completely redundant by technological change or are being de-skilled; consider the switch from the old London black cab driver who has memorized the “knowledge” to the Uber driver who just follows directions from his phone. Skilled-trade jobs fell by almost 30 percent in the United Kingdom between 1990 and 2018, falling from 4.7 million to 3.2 million, despite an increase in the UK population of around 15 percent in that period. And a lot of skilled-trade people from Central and Eastern Europe have been attracted to work in the United Kingdom thanks to the declining interest in the skilled trades on the part of young British people combined with the openness of the UK labor market.

They break down service jobs into three categories—overlapping to some extent with the modern multinational’s three layers of core, periphery, and contingent that we met in Chapter Five. Brown, Lauder, and Ashton in The Global Auction call them developers, demonstrators, and drones. People in developer roles, which are no more than 10 to 15 percent of a typical organization’s workforce, are given “permission to think” and include senior researchers, managers, and professionals. People in demonstrator roles are the second-level, partially de-skilled professionals who are invariably graduates but whose main job is to execute or implement existing knowledge. Communicating well is usually their main function. People in drone roles are involved in monotonous work and are not expected to think. The swift decline of the professions has also been predicted in an influential book by father and son Richard and Daniel Susskind titled The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts.


pages: 492 words: 118,882

The Blockchain Alternative: Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Theory by Kariappa Bheemaiah

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, balance sheet recession, bank run, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business cycle, business process, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, cellular automata, central bank independence, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, constrained optimization, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, deskilling, Diane Coyle, discrete time, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, inventory management, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, large denomination, liquidity trap, London Whale, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, MITM: man-in-the-middle, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, precariat, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, private sector deleveraging, profit maximization, QR code, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Real Time Gross Settlement, rent control, rent-seeking, Satoshi Nakamoto, Satyajit Das, savings glut, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, supply-chain management, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Great Moderation, the market place, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Von Neumann architecture, Washington Consensus

By creating a model that emphasizes technological change, the authors found that the skills downgrading process which forces high-educated workers into accepting routine jobs is because, as technological progress has positive impacts on the productivity of cognitive tasks, it eventually leads to a decreasing path for the cognitive task employment rate. This contrasts with the evidence of an increase in demand in this sector (Autor et al, 1998). The authors coin this development as a “de-skilling” process, since it involves cognitive workers with experience and already in the job market being obliged to move down the ladder in order to stay in employment. This has serious implications for new job seekers as not only is the entry bar raised higher for new entrants, but the number of opportunities available to them is also reduced (Beaudry et al., 2013). As individuals in routine cognitive occupations incur a higher probability of unemployment than individuals employed in non-routine cognitive occupations, the unemployment gap between these occupations is attributed to advancements in technology.

Buiter • The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (2011), Guy Standing • Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (2015), Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams • Raising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income Can Renew Our Economy and Rebuild the American Dream (2016), Andy Stern 239 Index „„         A Aadhaar program, 80 Agent Based Computational Economics (ABCE) models complexity economists, 196 developments, 211–213 El Farol problem and minority games, 207–210 Kim-Markowitz Portfolio Insurers Model, 204 Santa Fe artificial stock market model, 205–207 Agent based modelling (ABM), 180–181 aggregate behavioural trends, 197 axiomatisation, linearization and generalization, 184 black-boxing, 199 bottom-up approach, 197 challenge, 198 computational modelling paradigm, 196 conceptualizing, individual agents, 198 EBM, 197 enacting agent interaction, 202–204 environmental factors, 198 environment creation, 201–202 individual agent, 199 parameters and modelling decisions, 199 simulation designing, 199–200 specifying agent behaviour, 200–201 Alaska, 147 Anti-Money Laundering (AML), 67 ARPANet, 54 Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), 222–224 Atlantic model, 75 Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), 140 Autor-Levy-Murnane (ALM), 85 „„         B Bandits’ Club, 32 BankID system, 79 Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), 143 Bitnation, 69 Blockchain, 45, 151 ARPANet, 54 break down points, 56–57 decentralized communication, 54 emails, 54 fiat currency, 123 functions, 55 Jiggery Pokery accounts, 107 malware, 54 protocols, 57 Satoshi, 55 skeleton keys, 54, 63–64 smart contract, 58 TCP/IP protocol, 54 technological and financial innovation, 54 trade finance, 101–102 Blockchain-based regulatory framework (BRF), 108 BlockVerify, 68 „„         C Capitalism, 83 ALM hypotheses and SBTC, 90 Blockchain and CoCo, 151 canonical model, 87 © Kariappa Bheemaiah 2017 K. Bheemaiah, The Blockchain Alternative, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4842-2674-2 241 ■ INDEX Capitalism (cont.) cashlessenvironment (see (Multiple currencies)) categories, 88 classification, 88 definition of, 83 de-skilling process, 91 economic hypothesis, 86 education and training levels, 89 EMN, 88 fiat currency, 123 CBDC, 129 commercial banks, 129 debt-based money, 124 digital cash, 129 digital monetary framework, 125 fractional banking system, 124 framework, 124 ideas and methods, 130 non-bank private sector, 124 sovereign digital currency, 125–128 transition, 124 fiscal policy, 136 cashless environment, 136 central bank, 136 concept of, 136 control spending, 138 definition of, 140 exogenous and endogenous function, 137 fractional banking system, 137 Kelton, Stephanie, 139 near-zero interest rates, 136 policy instrument, 136 QE and QQE, 138 tendency, 136 ultra-low inflation, 136 helicopter drops business insider, 141 ceteris paribus, 142 Chatbots, 140–141 Chicago Plan, 145 comparative charts, 142 fractional banking, 145 keywords, 140 technology, 143 UBI, 143–144, 146 higher-skilled workers, 91 ICT technology, 85 industry categories, 90 242 Jiggery Pokery accounts, 106 advantages, 111 bias information, 106 Blockchain, 107 CFTC, 109 digital environment, 108 Enron scandal, 106 limitations, 107 private/self-regulation, 107 public function, 107 regulatory framework, 108 tech-led firms, 109 lending and payments CAMELS evaluation, 94 consumers and SMEs, 95 cryptographic laws, 97 fundamental limitations, 96 governments, 98 ILP, 97 KYB process, 97 lending sector, 95 mobile banking, 96 payments industry, 96 regulatory pressures, 95 rehypothecation, 96 ripple protocol, 97 sectors share, 94 leveraging effect technology, 88 marketing money, 119 cashless system, 120 crime and taxation, 123 economy, 122 IRS, 121 money, 119 Seigniorage, 122 tax evasion, 121 markets and regulation, 84 market structure, 92–93 multiple currency mechanisms, 153 occupational categories, 90 ONET database, 89 policies, 112 economic landscape, 112 financialization, 113 monetary and fiscal policy, 112 money creation methods, 114 The Chicago Plan, 114 transformation, 113 probabilities, 148 regulation, 105 routine and non-routine, 88 ■ INDEX routinization hypothesis, 88 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 153 SBTC, 92 scalability issue, 152 skill-biased employment, 89 skills and technological advancement, 87 skills downgrading process, 91 trades (see (Trade finance)) UBI Alaska, 147 deployment, 148 Mincome, Canada, 147 Namibia, 147 Cashless system, 120 Cellular automata (CA), 221 Central bank digital currency (CBDC), 125–128 Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), 177 Chicago Plan, 145 Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS), 48 Collateralised Debt Obligations (CDOs), 29 Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs), 29 Complexity economics agent, 193–195 challenges, 184 consequential decisions, 184 deterministic and axiomatized models, 184 dynamics, 187 education, 186 emergence, 192 exogenous and endogenous changes, 184 feedback loops, 191 information affects agents, 185 macroeconoic movements, 182 network science, 189–190 non-linearity, 187 path dependence, 192 power laws, 188 self-adapting individual agents, 185 technology andinvention (see (Technology and invention)) Walrasian approach, 185 Computing, 218–220 Congressional Research Service (CRS), 2 Constant absolute risk aversion (CARA), 206 Contingent convertible (CoCo), 95, 151 Credit Default Swaps (CDSs), 29, 32 CredyCo, 69 Cryptid, 69 Cryptographic law, 97 Currency mechanisms, 153 Current Account Switching System (CASS), 73 „„         D Data analysis techniques, 163 Debt and money broad and base money, 10 China’s productivity, 18 credit, 14 economic pressures, 13 export-led growth, 17 fractional banking,13 (see also (Fractional Reserve banking)) GDP growth, 18 households, 14–15 junk bonds, 11 long-lasting effects, 15 private and public sectors, 16 problems, 19 pubilc and private level, 17 reaganomics, 11 real estate industry, 14, 19 ripple effects, 18 security and ownership, 13 societal level, 17 UK, 10 DigID, 78 Digital trade documents (DOCS), 99 Dodd-Frank Act, 34, 35, 105 Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model, 22, 167, 168 „„         E EBM.


pages: 515 words: 132,295

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

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

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


Year 501 by Noam Chomsky

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

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

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


On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World by Timothy Cresswell

British Empire, desegregation, deskilling, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global village, illegal immigration, mass immigration, moral panic, Rosa Parks, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, urban planning

In the Senate hearing, for instance, Senator Martine of New Jersey declared that: “I feel that the Taylor system, so called, would tend to make a mere machine of man” and that the great majority of workers were “honest, well meaning, citizens and a benefit to the human race. . . . I believe in treating workmen as though they were human beings, and not as though they were mere machines.” Stopwatches, he declared, were for horseraces.18 What might be appropriate for animals, in other words, would not be appropriate for people. Braverman has famously described Taylorism as a sophisticated form of de-skilling whereby the labor process is dissociated from the skills of worker. The management presume to act as the brain while the workers are mere bodies. “Thus, in the setting of antagonistic social relations, of alienated labor, hand and brain become not just separated, but divided and hostile, and the human unity of hand and brain turns into its opposite, something less than human.”19 This “less-than-human” worker is the machine or cogs in a larger machine.

., 263 C CAPPS II (Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System), 238 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 151 car chase, 197 cardiology, 73 carnivalesque, the, 48–49 cars, 196–197, 214–218, 259–260 Castells, Manuel, 225, 255 categorization, 184–185, 223, 263 Chambers, Iain, 43, 221 Charleston, the, 132–133 Chicago School of Sociology, 18, 36–37 Chinese-Americans, 176, 182–184 Chinese Exclusion Act, 159–160, 175, 177, 180–186, 190–192 Chouinard, Vera, 165 circular workplace, 118 circulation, 7–8 citizen, the, 15, 20, 150–152, 174, 184, 186, 189, 193, 223 and aliens, 164 European, 236 and slaves, 161 citizenship, 149, 151, 190, 237, 241 RT52565_Index.indd 322 and mobility, 159–162, 173 rights of, 151–153, 156, 264 stretched, 167 city, the, 12, 50 city planning, 7–8 Civil Rights Act, 168 class, 127, 173, 181 and race, 172 Clifford, James, 43–44 closed circuit television, 240 code, 238 code space, 238 commerce, 149, 156 Communist Party (US), 153–154 Corbin, Alain, 8 Corfield v Coryell, 158 corporeality, 223 cosmopolitanism, 255 Crandall v Nevada, 149, 152–156, 158 Crang, Mike, 220, 222, 223 Crary, Jonathan, 61–62 Critical Path Analysis, 239 Crow, Jim, 261 culture, 43–44 mass, 35 and sedentarism, 32–36 working class, 34–35 Curaçao, 250, 257 cyclograph, 99, 101, 108 D Dalcroze, Emile-Jacques, 125 dance, 9–10, 53 African-American, 124, 131–132, 135, 141 ballroom, 123–7 as cultural knowledge, 128 history of, 123–124 Latin-American, 124 and race, 127 dance charts, 137–138 dance teachers, 129–130; 134 Daniels, Roger, 182 De Certeau, Michel, 46–47, 213 Deben, Leon, 251 Delaney, David, 4 Delsarte, Francois, 124–125 Delueze, Gilles, 46, 49–50, 54 4/18/06 7:52:11 AM Index • 323 Demeny, Georges, 79–80, 82, 87 denizen, 185 Dercum, Francis, X., 69–70 de-skilling, 92 Desmond, Jane, 127 Deutsche, Sarah, 203 Dewsbury, J.D., 55 difference, 178–180, 183, 186 politics of, 178–180 disability, 165–166, 173 disease, 150 dishwashing, 115 diversity, 188 Dodge, Martin, 238 driving, 216 Durkheim, Emile, 82 E Edwards v California, 147–151, 156, 158 efficiency, 120 Eliot, T.S., 32–33 Ellis Island, New York, 180, 188 Enloe, Cynthia, 207 entropy, 72 ethnicity, 173 European Charter of Rights, 162 European Commission, 236 European Union, 233 and right to mobility, 233 evacuees, 263–264 exclusion, logic of, 160–161 F Farm Security Administration, 39–42 feudalism, 10–12, 163 Fing Yue Ting v United States, 184–185 flâneur, the, 18–19, 48, 211 Foley, Margaret, 195–218 foreigner, the, 189–190 Forer, Pip, 30 Foster, Sue, 127 Foucault, Michel, 16 Franco, Mark, 127 freak steps, 128–136, 143 fugitives, 150 Fuller, Gillian, 244 RT52565_Index.indd 323 G Galileo, Galilei, 13–14 gender, 54, 64–69, 127, 165, 173, 197–198 geographical imagination, 177 geography, 27–32, 45–46 geosophy, 21–22 Gilbreth, Frank, 85, 89, 93, 95–115, 125, 144, 237, 239 Gilbreth, Lillian, 95–96, 98, 113–121, 237, 239 Gilpin, Heidi, 57 Gilroy, Paul, 204, 206 globalization, 221, 224 Graham, Laurel, 114, 121 Grosz, Elizabeth, 247 Guattari, Félix, 46, 49–50, 54 guerrilla warfare, 39 gypsy-travelers, 41–42 H habit, 86, 92, 106–109, 121, 134 Hacking, Ian, 177, 183 Hägerstrand, Torsten, 30 Haggett, Peter, 27–28, 30 Harrington, Ralph, 6, 20 Harvey, David, 44, 95 Harvey, William, 7, 14 Heathrow Airport (London), 222, 223, 242, 246 Heidegger, Martin, 42 heritage, 176, 186–192, 194 Hobbes, Thomas, 14–15, 218 Hoelscher, Steven, 188 Hoggart, Richard, 34–36 Holzer, Jenny, 219, 223 home 114–15 homelessness, 27, 53 in Amsterdam, 251 in Schiphol Airport, 248–251 Honig, Bonnie, 189–190 Hopper, Kim, 251 hotels, 210, 225 horses, and photography, 59–60 humanistic geography, 30–32 Hurricane Katrina, 259–65 4/18/06 7:52:11 AM 324 • Index I Iberlings, Hans, 221 ideal movements, 29 ideology, of mobility, 123, 199 Illich, Ivan, 165 immigrants as taxi drivers, 253–254 Chinese, 176–177, 182, 184 illegal, 233 Turkish, 254 immigration, 176–177, 189, 193 remote control of, 185 Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, 132–134, 136–142 indigence, 150 information technology, 238–241 instruction chart, 103 Iyer, Pico, 222 J Jackson, J.B., 31 Jackson, Rev.


pages: 282 words: 28,394

Learn Descriptive Cataloging Second North American Edition by Mary Mortimer

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

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


pages: 204 words: 53,261

The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Z. Muller

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Atul Gawande, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, Chelsea Manning, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, deskilling, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Hyman Minsky, intangible asset, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, performance metric, price mechanism, RAND corporation, school choice, Second Machine Age, selection bias, Steven Levy, total factor productivity, transaction costs, WikiLeaks

From Britain, the fashion spread to Australia and New Zealand, and to other OECD countries, carried beyond national borders by management gurus, consultants, and academics peddling tools and models of “best practice.”15 6 PHILOSOPHICAL CRITIQUES Just as the culture of metrics has its boosters on both the political right and left, it also has critics from both sides of the ideological spectrum. From the perspective of the Marxist left, it can be seen, with some justification, as promoting de-skilling, in which changes in the organization of production brought about by those at the top have the effect of devaluing the skills and experience of those subordinate in the system.1 And work that is more circumscribed, and from which discretion has been excised by having to meet narrowly defined goals dictated by others, is more alienating. THE RATIONALIST ILLUSION There are also powerful dissections of accountability-as-measurement from conservative and classical liberal thinkers, such as Michael Oakeshott, Michael Polanyi, and Friedrich Hayek, whose analysis has recently been rediscovered by James C.


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

By using the standard packages, there is “a, perhaps imperceptible, effect of inhibiting” programmers’ “own ideas about the direction a game might go in, the kinds of event it might include, even its central concept.”61 The second is the use of SDKs to rationalize the labor process, breaking it down into clearer component parts. The use of standardized software components means that the labor process becomes more easily measurable and comparable, opening it up to greater focus and specialization. The third is that SDKs result in a general de-skilling. No longer does a worker need to understand the entire game project; they need to know just one aspect “specified by components with the SDK.” This makes it easier to outsource aspects of the game development process too.62 The experience of working at these large development studios shows how the production process becomes increasingly complex—mirroring the experiences of workers in many other industries as they have developed.


pages: 596 words: 163,682

The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind by Raghuram Rajan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, business cycle, business process, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, data acquisition, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, facts on the ground, financial innovation, financial repression, full employment, future of work, global supply chain, high net worth, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial cluster, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Equally important, and less well known, is that Ford insisted parts be honed to high tolerances so that they were interchangeable, that each part did not have to be specially machined to fit the car. Interchangeability, coupled with the breaking down of tasks, allowed Ford to dispense with craftsmen and hire modestly skilled workers for his assembly lines, thus creating the mass-market car. We see similar de-skilling with tax software, with the middle-class tax accountant replaced by a lower-paid computer-literate assistant with only a few weeks’ training. The assistant, aided by software, is probably more competent than most accountants, but less creative. Most people don’t want their tax accounting to be creative. De-skilling makes ordinary craftsmen or accountants largely redundant, but making the car or tax service cheaper increases demand and may increase jobs overall. We often think about technological change assuming the aggregate amount of work is fixed, and therefore what is displaced by automation will increase unemployment.


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

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


pages: 237 words: 67,154

Ours to Hack and to Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, a New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet by Trebor Scholz, Nathan Schneider

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, capital controls, citizen journalism, collaborative economy, collaborative editing, collective bargaining, commoditize, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, deskilling, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, future of work, gig economy, Google bus, hiring and firing, income inequality, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, lake wobegon effect, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, minimum viable product, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, openstreetmap, peer-to-peer, post-work, profit maximization, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, SETI@home, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Zipcar

Twenty-first century democracy depends on this task. 38. LEGAL AND GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES BUILT TO SHARE MIRIAM A. CHERRY To date, the dominant economic narrative for the gig economy has been one in which platform owners extract a share of the income generated from the workers who use their platforms. This is troubling, since many forms of crowd-work are situated at the crossroads of precarious work, automatic management, deskilling, and low wages. Recent lawsuits by workers in the gig economy claiming employee status contain the demand for better pay, hours, benefits, and working conditions. However, these misclassification lawsuits do not seek to change the ways in which the underlying business relationship between workers and platforms are structured. Platform cooperatives, however, subvert the dominant economic narrative.


pages: 306 words: 78,893

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

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

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


pages: 264 words: 74,313

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

business cycle, dark matter, deskilling, failed state, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, out of africa, price stability, structural adjustment programs, zero-sum game

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


pages: 309 words: 78,361

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

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

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


pages: 215 words: 76,414

In Stitches by Nick Edwards

deskilling, job satisfaction, old-boy network

Finally, the government’s main argument is that centralising care for the most serious of cases is a good idea. I completely agree. Heart attacks and major trauma would do better in large centres where there is expertise and experience. The ambulance could take these patients directly to the most appropriate place. Consultants could work in regional teams rotating around the major centre and so those working at smaller A&E, would not become deskilled. For it to work, we would need to overcome the problem of how we are going to look after these sick patients on their long journey to regional centres, especially when our roads are so clogged up…and, remember, traffic jams are often worse when the roads have had an accident on it. The government hasn’t yet got the answers in place. It seems to me that it needs a massive increase in funding for the infrastructure of pre-hospital medicine, such as having specialist doctors in ambulances and using more helicopters, before thinking about closing hospitals.


pages: 265 words: 74,941

The Great Reset: How the Post-Crash Economy Will Change the Way We Live and Work by Richard Florida

banking crisis, big-box store, blue-collar work, business cycle, car-free, carbon footprint, collapse of Lehman Brothers, congestion charging, creative destruction, deskilling, edge city, Edward Glaeser, falling living standards, financial innovation, Ford paid five dollars a day, high net worth, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invention of the telephone, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, McMansion, Menlo Park, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, pattern recognition, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, reserve currency, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, total factor productivity, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

It’s that he is one of a very small minority of workers who has the good fortune to be able to use his full complement of talents and skills—cognitive, physical, and managerial. He has nearly complete control over how his own work is done, and the flexibility to do it how and when he likes—he’s his own boss, after all. For these reasons, his work is a source of great pride and obvious joy. Most manufacturing and production work isn’t like this. Much of it remains mind-numbing work in which, as countless studies have shown, the content of work has been de-skilled and the pace of work is controlled by machines—a modern version of Charlie Chaplin flailing away as he tries to keep up with the assembly line. The motorcycle repair jobs that Crawford extols are great, and we would do well to create more of them. But the fact of the matter is that they cannot fill the gaping hole in today’s labor market. We can’t give up on service jobs, which are among the fastest-growing of all jobs.


pages: 209 words: 80,086

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

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

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


pages: 283 words: 77,272

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

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

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


Chomsky on Mis-Education by Noam Chomsky

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

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


pages: 271 words: 77,448

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

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

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


pages: 687 words: 204,164

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

Bonfire of the Vanities, deskilling, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, fear of failure, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, industrial robot, l'esprit de l'escalier

She remembered him from the BesJet party two nights ago. And some woman was saying, “Koons’d die at auction right now!” “—Hirst, if you ask me. He’s high as a dead fish after fifteen minutes in the sun.” “—what you just said? Prince is the one who’s tanked.” “—the fish that’s up there at Stevie’s, rotting its forty-million-dollar guts out?” “—iconic, my ass.” “—svear, ‘de-skilt’ vas vot she said!” (“—swear, ‘de-skilled’ was what she said.”) Magdalena knew that voice very well, from last night at the dinner party Michael du Glasse and his wife, Caroline Peyton-Soames, gave at Casa Tua. She even remembered his name, Heinrich von Hasse. He had made billions manufacturing… something about industrial robots?… was that what they said? Whatever else he did, he had spent so many millions buying art at Art Basel in Switzerland six months ago, people were talking about him at practically every party she and Norman and Maurice had been to.

Magdalena wondered if Norman or even Fleischmann had any idea, out of 3.4 million possible answers why. At the moment, she was answering a question from Norman… Norman, who had once told Magdalena, “Be careful asking questions. Asking questions is the surest way of revealing your ignorance.” Be that as it may, Norman had asked a question, and Marilynn Carr was saying, “How did Doggs learn how to work in glass? He doesn’t work in glass or anything else. Don’t you know about No Hands art and De-skilled art?” “Oh, I guess I’ve heard about it—but no, not really,” Norman said lamely, or lamely for Norman. A.A. said, “No cutting-edge artist touches materials anymore, or instruments.” “What do you mean, instruments, A.A.?” said Fleischmann. “Oh, you know,” she said, “paintbrushes, clay, shaping knives, chisels… all that’s from the Manual Age. Remember painting? That seems so 1950s now. Remember Schnabel and Fischl and Salle and all that bunch?


pages: 324 words: 86,056

The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality by Bhaskar Sunkara

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Donald Trump, equal pay for equal work, feminist movement, Ferguson, Missouri, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gunnar Myrdal, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, income inequality, inventory management, labor-force participation, land reform, land value tax, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, new economy, Occupy movement, postindustrial economy, precariat, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, We are the 99%

These concerns seem outsized with hindsight, but they were very real in an era when striking workers were often armed and when anarchists assassinated world leaders (an anarchist would murder President William McKinley in 1901).6 Though the media stoked fears about anarchistic and communist violence, it was private employer militias and state terror that made America’s nineteenth-century labor history more violent than Europe’s. This violence undid the loosely organized Knights of Labor and encouraged craft unionists such as American Federation of Labor (AFL) founder Samuel Gompers to endorse “class harmony” and incremental reforms. (Gompers had been a socialist, but put off by the Lassallean influence, he shifted to “bread-and-butter” trade unionism.) At a time when American capitalism was pushing forward, deskilling workers and incorporating more and more people into the factory system, attempts to organize unskilled labor were in retreat. But ferment was still growing in rural America. The Populist Movement sprang from the 1870s struggles of indebted farmers in central Texas but soon spread throughout the country. As the price of cotton collapsed and the economy entered a depression in the 1890s, the Populists fervently supported Debs during the Pullman Strike, backed many demands made by labor, and were leading tenant and sharecropper efforts against the crop-lien system.


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, en.wikipedia.org, 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

“No one is going to buy a partially-automated car [like Tesla’s Model S] just so they can monitor the automation,” says Edwin Hutchins, a MacArthur Fellow and cognitive scientist.[81] An experienced driver today is probably competent enough to monitor a self-driving car and likely able to take over control (though potentially not in time) but what about a driver twenty years from today who will likely not have spent any meaningful amount of time driving a manual car? In his book “Human Error”[82] James Reason cautions that “Manual control is a highly skilled activity, and skills need to be practiced continuously in order to maintain them. Yet an automatic control system that fails only rarely denies operators the opportunity for practicing these basic control skills. One of the consequences of automation, therefore, is that operators become de-skilled in precisely those activities that justify their marginalized existence. But when manual takeover is necessary something has usually gone wrong; this means that operators need to be more rather than less skilled in order to cope with these atypical conditions”. Building a Driverless Car The first time a car pulls up beside you in traffic with nobody in the driver's seat will probably be quite a shock.


pages: 301 words: 89,076

The Globotics Upheaval: Globalisation, Robotics and the Future of Work by Richard Baldwin

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, computer vision, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, future of journalism, future of work, George Gilder, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, impulse control, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, post-work, profit motive, remote working, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, standardized shipping container, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, universal basic income

Rifles, for example, were constructed one at a time by highly skilled craftsmen using hand tools. Each rifle was unique (and thus expensive). Using machine tools, the American Eli Whitney standardized parts to such an extent that, from 1801, parts were interchangeable across his rifles. Production got faster and cheaper—partly because lower-wage, less-skilled workers could handle the work (an early example of the deskilling impact of technology). This was a turning point in automation. Instead of highly skilled craftsmen making machinery out of wood and by hand, machine tools produced metal parts for machines that could be churned out with higher accuracy and lower costs. This sort of innovation cut both ways when it came to jobs. Automation and Jobs—the Push and Pull Effects Mechanization meant that the same pile of work could be done with fewer workers, but the cost savings also meant lower prices and thus more sales, and thus a higher pile of work.


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

Co-ordination depends upon relationships: to build common knowledge, firms that might potentially locate in the city need to know what other firms are doing. The city will probably need to court an entire group of interconnected firms. Training is worthless unless it is tied to the specific requirements of such firms and preferably co-managed by them. Reversing the new class divergence between the highly skilled educated and the deskilled less educated also requires policies that tackle both sides. Being stuck in a low-productivity job is often the end-point of a lifetime of disadvantage that starts in infancy. I have proposed a strategy of social maternalism: intensive practical assistance and mentoring for young families at risk of breaking up, followed by mentoring for children during their school years. Mentoring is to social maternalism what monitoring is to social paternalism.


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

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

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


pages: 207 words: 86,639

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

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

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


pages: 283 words: 87,166

Reaching for Utopia: Making Sense of an Age of Upheaval by Jason Cowley

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, coherent worldview, Corn Laws, corporate governance, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, Etonian, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, illegal immigration, liberal world order, Neil Kinnock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, open borders, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Right to Buy, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, University of East Anglia

* * * ‘Gordon was never ideally suited to be prime minister,’ Irwin Stelzer said. ‘At the Treasury, he had time to analyse the facts and the data and to apply his enormous IQ and historical knowledge to a problem. You can’t do that as prime minister. Back then, he would have been perfect as the head of the World Bank or the IMF. Now, he’s too tarnished.’ The Conservative MP David Davis told me he thought Brown had been ‘deskilled’ by his many years at the Treasury. ‘Being a chancellor under decent conditions is a positively underemployed job, both in parliamentary terms – no debates or statements, no PMQs – and in public terms – you spend half your year in purdah and can say no to most things. It hurt him.’ Later, when I mentioned Irwin Stelzer to Brown, he looked intensely sad. ‘Irwin,’ he said, his voice scarcely audible, ‘Irwin.’


pages: 349 words: 86,224

Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States by James C. Scott

agricultural Revolution, clean water, David Graeber, demographic dividend, demographic transition, deskilling, facts on the ground, invention of writing, joint-stock company, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, means of production, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route

There is hardly a passage in the Old Testament that fails to make use of such imagery. This codification of subsistence and ritual life around the domus was powerful evidence that, with domestication, Homo sapiens had traded a wide spectrum of wild flora for a handful of cereals and a wide spectrum of wild fauna for a handful of livestock. I am tempted to see the late Neolithic revolution, for all its contributions to large-scale societies, as something of a deskilling. Adam Smith’s iconic example of the productivity gains achievable through the division of labor was the pin factory, where each minute step of pin making was broken down into a task carried out by a different worker. Alexis de Tocqueville read The Wealth of Nations sympathetically but asked, “What can be expected of a man who has spent twenty years of his life putting heads on pins.”25 If this is a too bleak view of a breakthrough credited with making civilization possible, let us at least say that it represented a contraction of our species’ attention to and practical knowledge of the natural world, a contraction of diet, a contraction of space, and perhaps a contraction, as well, in the breadth of ritual life.


pages: 365 words: 88,125

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, borderless world, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, ending welfare as we know it, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, microcredit, Myron Scholes, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, post-industrial society, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, rent control, shareholder value, short selling, Skype, structural adjustment programs, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, Toyota Production System, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

For another example, blacksmiths in poor countries probably know more about the nature of metals in relation to tool-making than do most employees of Bosch or Black & Decker. For yet another example, those who work at the small electronics shops littering the streets of poor countries can fix many more things than can individual workers at Samsung or Sony. A large part of this is due to the simple fact that mechanization is the most important way to increase productivity. But an influential Marxist school of thought argues that capitalists deliberately ‘de-skill’ their workers by using the most mechanized production technologies possible, even if they are not the most economical, in order to make the workers more easily replaceable and thus easier to control.7 Whatever the exact cause of the mechanization process, the upshot is that more technologically developed economies may actually need fewer educated people. The Swiss paradox Now, it may be argued that, even though economic development may not necessarily require the average worker to be more educated, it needs more educated people at the higher end.


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

Resolution Foundation, Weighing Up the Wage Floor: Employer Responses to the National Living Wage, policy report, February 2016, https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/app/uploads/2016/02/7218-National-Living-Wage-report-WEB.pdf; Conor D’Arcy, Low Pay Britain 2018, Resolution Foundation report, May 2018, https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/app/uploads/2018/05/Low-Pay-Britain-2018.pdf. 10. Rui Costa, Swati Dhingra, and Stephen Machin, “Trade and Deskilling: How the Post-referendum Sterling Depreciation Hurt Workers” (Centre for Economic Performance Research Paper CEPCP551, London School of Economics and Political Science, July 2019), https://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/abstract.asp?index=6289. 11. Richard Croucher, Marian Rizov, and Thomas Lange, “National Minimum Wages Improve Productivity,” LSE Business Review blog, London School of Economics and Political Science, 18 January 2017, https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2017/01/18/national-minimum-wages-improve-productivity/; Marian Rizov, Richard Croucher, and Thomas Lange, “The UK National Minimum Wage’s Impact on Productivity,” British Journal of Management 27, no. 4 (October 2016): 819–35, https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12171. 12.


Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky

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

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

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


pages: 389 words: 87,758

No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, business cycle, business intelligence, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, demographic dividend, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, hydraulic fracturing, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, inventory management, job automation, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, openstreetmap, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Great Moderation, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population, Zipcar

Users receive text messages on a variety of topics, including religion, health, and nutrition, and they practice reading and writing down the messages and responding to their teachers via SMS (short message service).22 Disaggregate and Cross-Train Companies and workers alike must reset their intuition around what constitutes a job. The specific components and requirements of longstanding positions will be critical for both individuals and companies. Both have to understand the concept of disaggregation—the de-skilling and elimination of jobs, such as replacing a bank teller with an ATM. However, as the skill level required for high-skill jobs keeps rising, the disaggregation of very complicated positions may actually create new middle-skill specialties. For example, in health care, rising costs and the growing shortage of primary care physicians could be addressed by separating less technical parts, such as routine tests and flu shots, and reassigning them to nonphysicians.


pages: 353 words: 91,211

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

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

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


pages: 291 words: 88,879

Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg

big-box store, carbon footprint, David Brooks, deindustrialization, deskilling, employer provided health coverage, equal pay for equal work, estate planning, fear of failure, financial independence, fixed income, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, longitudinal study, mass incarceration, New Urbanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, Richard Florida, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Skype, speech recognition, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional

In her view, the best thing about living alone is “knowing that I don’t have to consider anyone else. I can indulge my weird little habits”—from eating the same thing for four days in a row to watching cheesy TV shows and waking up to read in the middle of the night—“and do what I want to do.” The other thing she loves about living alone is that she’s no longer frustrated by a man who has selectively deskilled himself out of cooking and cleaning and uses this as an excuse to dump domestic work on her. “A lot of men have this fake helplessness when it comes to household stuff,” Kaela explains. “My partner and I just had different standards, so we’d have the kinds of disagreements that many, many couples have.” Charlotte, who at fifty-two carries her big-boned body with grace and confidence, is an office manager in Manhattan.


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

Better and easier, he maintained, to keep them hungry. ' Hunger, on the contrary, is not only a pressure which is peaceful, silent and incessant, but as it is the most natural motive for work and industry, it also provokes the most peaceful efforts. ' The philosophy of low wages was also enthusiastically followed: the lower the wage, the harder the proletariat would toil. The same philosophy is today followed in the fast-food industry, where the production of food has been industrialized and deskilled in the same way that the production of doth was industrialized in the nineteenth century. Fast-food workers suffer the lowest wages in the US and perform the same tedious tasks all day. Again, the dogma of hard work - which is deeply embedded in contemporary notions of what it means to be American - is what keeps us toiling and keeps us happy to be exploited in this way. Around the same time, the thundering polemicist Thomas Carlyle did much damage in the nineteenth century by promoting the notion of the dignity or even the romance of hard graft. ' Man was created to work, not to speculate, or feel, or dream, ' he wrote, adding: ' Every idle moment is treason. ' It is your patriotic duty to work hard - another myth, particularly convenient to the rich, who, as Bertrand Russell said, ' preach the dignity of labour, while taking care themselves to remain undignified in this respect' .


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

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


pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth Is Unattainable and the Global Economy Is in Peril by Satyajit Das

"Robert Solow", 9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, 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 market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Initially, outsourcing and offshoring affected low-skilled manufacturing. Over time it has come to affect skilled professions. In February 2004, Wired magazine published a story about American software programmers protesting the export of their jobs, via websites like yourjobisgoingtoindia.com and nojobsforindia.com.4 Technological advances have exacerbated declines in employment and incomes, eliminating certain tasks and deskilling some jobs. Computer software is replacing journalists, with news items being synthesized online without human intervention. Even traders in financial markets are being replaced by super-fast automated algorithms. Communication technology now allows cheap, real-time transmissions of voice, and near-instantaneous transfers of vast amounts of data and increasingly high-definition images. This leads to the relocation of services such as engineering, architectural design, accounting, legal work, and even medical procedures.


pages: 345 words: 92,849

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

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

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


pages: 304 words: 96,930

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

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

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


pages: 368 words: 96,825

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

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

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


pages: 333 words: 99,545

Why We Get the Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman

affirmative action, Boris Johnson, crowdsourcing, deskilling, Donald Trump, gender pay gap, housing crisis, John Bercow, old-boy network

Wiltshire observes that ‘The spads [special advisers] that I’ve worked with have been without exception very impressive and have all gone on to prestigious jobs in the sector. There is a frustration that they express about the rather less impressive backbenchers with whom they have to engage.’ So if the quality of backbenchers emerging from Parliament is pretty poor, doesn’t that suggest that the quality of person going in isn’t tip-top either? Parliament can’t deskill someone so much that they become unattractive to the outside world purely by sitting on the green benches for a few years. You could argue that an MP’s employability outside Westminster is irrelevant to whether Parliament itself works. Someone might be so well suited to being a legislator that other jobs would require a new skill set. Perhaps. But then again, isn’t it useful to have people in Parliament who are well suited enough to the outside world that they might notice when a law that affects that outside world is badly drafted?


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

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


Rogue States by Noam Chomsky

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

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


Powers and Prospects by Noam Chomsky

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

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


pages: 827 words: 239,762

The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite by Duff McDonald

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, deskilling, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, family office, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, global pandemic, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Menlo Park, new economy, obamacare, oil shock, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, pushing on a string, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, urban renewal, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

It also produces what Stewart calls an “irrational kind of rationalist—the kind that underestimates the impact of everything that can’t be measured easily.” Another: His profoundly antilabor assertion that managers were the brains of the operation and workers the brawn, that workers were not paid to think. Taylor, it has been argued, was the impetus behind the creation of dead-end factory jobs that deskilled American workers.11 His work, as Walter Kiechel, author of The Lords of Strategy and former editorial director of Harvard Business School Publishing, describes it, “set off a century-long quest for the right balance between . . . the ‘numbers people’ and the ‘people people.’ It’s the key tension that has defined management thinking.”12 All that said, Taylorism was a philosophy tailor-made for the era, in which “Progressives claimed special wisdom rooted in science and captured in processes.”13 In other words, the kind of wisdom that Harvard Business School wanted to get into the business of selling.

., 73 Krishnan, Ananda, 531 Kristof, Nicholas, 166 Krugman, Paul, 361 Kurosawa, Yoh, 153–54 Kurtz, Howard, 305 Kurtzman, Joel, 301 Kwok, Raymond, 531 labor unions, 32, 56, 76, 78, 161, 166, 386; Capital Cities and, 163; decline of, 163, 165; HBS as anti-labor, 164–65; HBS’s Trade Union Fellowship Program, 151, 160–66, 389; productivity and, 166; Reagan and, 163, 387; Taylorism and, 37; Wagner Act and, 201; weighted language against, 391 labor workforce: Barnard and, 112–14; Bush 43rd and, 505–6; CEO-to-worker compensation ratio, 165–66, 539, 544; deskilling of, 36; Dewey’s industrial democracy, 79; Donham’s demeaning view of, 62; Hawthorne study, 83–84, 87, 89; income inequality and, 426; industrial autocracy and, 79; Mayo’s theories, 77, 78–80, 82, 83–86, 88, 112, 113, 133, 308, 315; oversight as command-and-control, 31; piece-rate pay, 31, 32, 33; productivity and, 36, 39; redistribution of wealth and, 462; shareholder capitalism and job loss, 371; Taylorism and, 31–32, 36, 40; unemployment drop (1953), 194; union density of, 161; wage stagnation and, 165, 390, 426, 491 Lack, Jane S., 203 Lahde, Andrew, 478 Lamont, Thomas, 26, 42, 67, 69, 142 Lampel, Joseph, 497, 498 Lanahan, Jack, 191 Lane, Fred, 333 Langdell, Christopher Columbus, 27, 48 Lapham, Lewis, 218 Larson, Henrietta M., 237–38 Last Man Standing (McDonald), 471 Latin America Research Center, 234 Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial foundation, 80 Lawrence, Paul, 355 Lawrence, William, 67, 68 Lay, Ken, 520, 523–24 Lazonick, William, 249, 376–78 leadership: authentic leadership, 311, 315–16, 576; authority, power, and, 317; businessmen and, 109, 133, 141, 196, 197, 294; case method and, 277, 279; case study hero and, 107, 171, 280, 312, 436, 527; corporate, 114 (see also corporate CEO); education, 19, 62, 65, 177; as emergent quality, 197; failure of, in business, 106, 352; Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, 314; HBR and, 315; HBS alumi and, 2, 46, 143, 168, 180, 191, 209, 236; HBS education and, 1, 2, 6, 8, 65, 133–34, 143, 180, 197, 308–18, 339, 396, 398, 473, 486–87, 503, 577; HBS recruiting for, 196; HBS’s Matsushita Chair, 206; Hill on, 557–58; Hoopes book and, 114, 315; industrial paradigm, 197; Kellerman book and, 197, 310, 314; Mintzberg on, 486–87, 488; moral leadership, 113, 114, 316; Pfeffer book and, 314; qualities, 314; theory of, 567; thought leadership, 307; West Point and, 45 Leadership BS (Pfeffer), 314 Learned, Edmund, 118, 137, 138, 258, 267, 279, 355 Learson, T.


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

This nostalgia is registered in an appeal to the historical ideal of separate spheres in her critical account of the present relationship between work and family. One can see this in her references to the ways in which what had been a haven—in this case, of unalienated labor—is now contaminated by work: the family is taking on an “industrial” tone, a “Taylorized” feel; parents are subject to “deskilling,” with children forced onto a “childcare conveyor belt”; domestic tasks are increasingly “outsourced,” and “family-generated entertainment” is now replaced by television and other commodities (Hochschild 1997, 45, 49, 209, 190, 232, 209–10). Hochschild’s allusions to the degradation of preindustrial craft labor and her suggestion that the current penetration of work into family is something new help to augment her claim that it is both desirable and possible to reseparate the two once we revalue the home and have more time to resume our efforts there.


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

Combined with AI, such sensors will be able to anticipate emerging issues and, in tandem with either a wearable device or your personal smartphone, could contact medical authorities to help you in times of distress. Future devices might even administer treatment directly into the bloodstream. Figure 6.6: Proteus has already developed a pinhead-sized ingestible sensor. AliveCor, a private heart health technology firm in San Francisco, is working to deskill the process of determining characteristics of arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. Within its app, the company already has an FDA-approved algorithm that can detect the presence of atrial fibrillation. Its app also works to log the context around irregular heart activity, for example, how often it is linked to coffee consumption or stress. “In the next few years, I believe that the industry will be able to spot the characteristics of someone who’s likely to have a heart attack in the next three days.”


pages: 440 words: 108,137

The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen J. McNamee

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

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


pages: 374 words: 111,284

The AI Economy: Work, Wealth and Welfare in the Robot Age by Roger Bootle

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, anti-work, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, facts on the ground, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mega-rich, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, positional goods, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, social intelligence, spinning jenny, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, Y2K, Yogi Berra

If not, how can you be ready to intervene in an emergency if you are not constantly alert? What if you are drunk – or asleep? And what is the point of going driverless if you, the human driver, the “safety driver,” or whatever they call you, have to pay attention the whole time? Isn’t the point of going driverless that you, the erstwhile driver, can read the newspaper, fall asleep, or get drunk? A further problem derives from the deskilling of drivers as a result of relying on technology. This is ironic because it is precisely when, for whatever reason, the technology fails, or cannot cope with a particular set of circumstances, that intervention by humans is required, humans who are supposed, at that moment, to be more capable than the machines/automatic systems that have failed. But how can they be more capable if they have been used to sitting passively while an automatic system did all the work and made all the decisions?


pages: 492 words: 70,082

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

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

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

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


pages: 265 words: 15,515

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

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

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


pages: 561 words: 114,843

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

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

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


pages: 474 words: 120,801

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

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

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


Hopes and Prospects by Noam Chomsky

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

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


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, pets.com, Red Clydeside, shareholder value, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, value at risk

Of course initially he could be frightening as he had a style that people weren’t used to, but when we got depressed and thought this is going to be a disaster, he would come in and give us a strong push. George went out of his way to praise and thank you. He was an incredibly strong leader. It was afterwards that he made mistakes.’ Columbus took four years to complete and when it was finished in 1996 the Royal Bank was a very different company. Profits started to boom. Those on Columbus had talked in terms of ‘deskilling the branches’, meaning that as much as possible would be done centrally to restrict costs, using telephone banking and direct mail to sell financial products and computers to manage customers accounts. Mathewson was innovating out of necessity, although other banks went in a similar direction. All this did come at a cost. Some of the caution and conservatism that had served the old Royal Bank well down the centuries was being traded for dynamism.


pages: 550 words: 124,073

Democracy and Prosperity: Reinventing Capitalism Through a Turbulent Century by Torben Iversen, David Soskice

Andrei Shleifer, assortative mating, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, centre right, cleantech, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, first-past-the-post, full employment, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, implied volatility, income inequality, industrial cluster, inflation targeting, invisible hand, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, means of production, mittelstand, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open borders, open economy, passive investing, precariat, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, RFID, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, smart cities, speech recognition, The Future of Employment, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, urban decay, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy, working-age population, World Values Survey, young professional, zero-sum game

We dig a bit more deeply to understand the last paragraphs, and look first at the skill sets and company organization structures of those who have broadly benefited from the knowledge economy, typically graduates in big-city agglomerations: 1. Analytic skills and decentralization. A short preamble: the ICT revolution might have gone in two radically different directions in generating social and economic transformation. In a hugely cited book, Labor and Monopoly Capitalism: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century, written originally in 1974, Harry Braverman argued that the computer would lead to mass deskilling and, in effect, the centralization of economic power (Braverman 1998). But in fact transformation has gone in a radically decentralized direction, as the individual console has put greater and greater computer power in the hands of the individual. Our approach is not technologically deterministic: it could be plausibly answered that Braverman could have been right had the development of computing remained under central control, either by governments (as it might have been in the Soviet Union) or by great corporations with monopoly control over product and labor markets.


pages: 312 words: 93,504

Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia by Dariusz Jemielniak

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

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


pages: 402 words: 126,835

The Job: The Future of Work in the Modern Era by Ellen Ruppel Shell

3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, big-box store, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, follow your passion, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, game design, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban renewal, white picket fence, working poor, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game

The first obstacle is the underlying assumption of scalable efficiency as the essential driver of progress. That assumption no longer holds in the way it once did. In the industrial age, the push for efficiency led employers to tightly specify tasks and standardize them under a theory of organization that relied on people fitting into narrow roles—be it shoveling coal to stoke a furnace or trimming cloth to make shirt collars. This was the logic behind the many innovations that de-skilled labor, a strategy that was highly disruptive over the short term but of great economic and social benefit over the long term. Thanks to automation, we could make more for less, thereby increasing productivity and growth while lowering prices. And throughout the industrial age, many workers—especially those in sectors affiliated with a labor union—were rewarded for their increased productivity with a steadily increasing wage, solid benefits, and in some cases greater control over their working lives.


Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David S. Landes

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, business cycle, Cape to Cairo, clean water, colonial rule, Columbian Exchange, computer age, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial intermediation, Francisco Pizarro, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, income inequality, Index librorum prohibitorum, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Arrow, land tenure, lateral thinking, mass immigration, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, Murano, Venice glass, new economy, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, out of africa, passive investing, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, Scramble for Africa, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, Vilfredo Pareto, zero-sum game

S . t e c h n o l o g i c a l a d v a n c e . 302 THE WEALTH AND POVERTY OF NATIONS struction had turned from carpentry to millwork. Doors and windows were cut and assembled to standard size; glass, precut accordingly. (A French ship arriving in the young republic around 1815 with a cargo o f window glass o f various sizes was surprised to find it had to give most of it away.) Sawdust generated in the process might be recovered for other uses. Then, in the 1830s, invention o f the balloon-frame house normalized and deskilled the building itself. Gone were the heavy members o f traditional barns and dwellings; gone the mortiseand-tenon joints; gone the masonry and plaster walls, interior and ex­ terior, o f Old World construction.* Instead, one used precut 2x4's and nailed them together, then sheathed the frame and clapped on such facade as was practical and pleasing. The new structures were not beautiful or authentically local; but they were cheap, made use of abun­ dant materials, and were prosaically utilitarian.

. * From the start, the adoption of machines, in textile manufacture for example, was followed by the cre­ ation of machine shops to maintain and build the equipment; and these shops, litde worlds of assembled and interchangeable skills, often took to making other kinds of machinery: steam engines, furnaces and boil­ ers, locomotives, above all, machine tools. These last in turn, dedi­ cated originally to one or another special purpose, found application in diverse industrial branches. It was not only the craftsmen who had children and grandchildren to carry the torch; their machines prolifer­ ated as well. Unlike Europe, America made little resistance to this advance o f deskilling and routinizing technique. In a country of continuing rev­ olution, old ways had litde leverage. Listen to an official visitor to the Springfield Armory in 1 8 4 1 : 25 . . . the skill of the armorer is but little needed: his "occupation's gone." A boy does just as well as a man. Indeed, from possessing greater activity of body, he does better. * I n m a t t e r o f o r g a n i z a t i o n , o n e thinks o f t h e naval arsenal in m e d i e v a l V e n i c e ; in m a t ­ ter o f p r o d u c t i o n t e c h n i q u e s , o f H e n r y M a u d s l a y ' s m a n u f a c t u r e o f J o s e p h B r a m a h ' s l o c k in 1 7 9 0 - 9 1 a n d M a r c I s a m b a r d B r u n e i ' s f a m o u s p u l l e y b l o c k s ( m a c h i n e t o o l s b y M a u d s l a y ) in t h e P o r t s m o u t h naval s h i p y a r d a r o u n d 1 8 0 3 .

N a g a n d S i m i s o n , "With T h r e e N e w C a r s , " o n t h e p r o s p e c t i v e i m p a c t o f t h e T o y o t a Camry, t h e H o n d a Prelude, a n d t h e M a z d a 626. 485 WINNERS AND 22 to twenty-four hours in an American plant. This strategy had profound implications for labor-management relations. American emphasis on single-purpose machines and hard assignments had the effect of deskilling; it also led unions to insist on job segmentation and management to accept it. Multiple models, o f course, multiplied inventories, and inventory idles capital, increases storage costs, invites delays. Where American car makers, with their long runs and rare changeovers, dreaded interruption (from strikes, for example) and accumulated a buffer o f ready components, Japanese makers strove to minimize stocks by using the system we know as "just in time


To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland's Global Diaspora, 1750-2010 by T M Devine

agricultural Revolution, British Empire, deindustrialization, deskilling, full employment, ghettoisation, housing crisis, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, land tenure, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, railway mania, Red Clydeside, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Scramble for Africa, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, women in the workforce

Thirdly, the important factor of change over time has to be considered. American scholars do suggest that skilled and semi-skilled Scots were in considerable demand in American industry in the 1840s through to the 1870s and were likely to have done well as a result. But in the later 1880s, and for the rest of the century, the onset of rapid and extensive mechanization in American manufacturing made for de-skilling and more difficult times. Indeed, this process may have helped to drive Scottish emigration more in the direction of Canada in the years between 1900 and 1914. Finally, there is the key issue of volatility in the American labour market between departure and resettlement. In the 1920s, serious industrial depression after the immediate post-war boom resulted in an unprecedented increase in emigration from Scotland.


pages: 477 words: 135,607

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

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

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


pages: 572 words: 134,335

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

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

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


pages: 377 words: 21,687

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

1960s counterculture, Charles Lindbergh, computer age, deskilling, fault tolerance, interchangeable parts, Mars Rover, more computing power than Apollo, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, telepresence, telerobotics

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


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

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

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


pages: 434 words: 150,773

When the Iron Lady Ruled Britain by Robert Chesshyre

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

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


pages: 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

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


Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide by Henry Jenkins

barriers to entry, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, collective bargaining, Columbine, deskilling, Donald Trump, game design, George Gilder, global village, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, means of production, moral panic, new economy, profit motive, Robert Metcalfe, Saturday Night Live, slashdot, Steven Pinker, the market place, Y Combinator

W h e n they talk about the books themselves, they make comparisons w i t h other literary works or draw connections w i t h philosophical and theological traditions; they debate gender stereotyping i n the female characters; they cite interviews w i t h the writer or read critical analyses of the works; they use analytic concepts they probably w o u l d n ' t encounter until they reached the advanced undergraduate classroom. Schools are still locked into a model of autonomous learning that contrasts sharply w i t h the kinds of learning that are needed as students are entering the new knowledge cultures. Gee and other educators worry that students w h o are comfortable participating i n and exchanging knowledge through affinity spaces are being deskilled as they enter the classroom: Learning becomes both a personal and unique trajectory through a complex space of opportunities (i.e., a person's own unique movement through various affinity spaces over time) and a social journey as one shares aspects of that trajectory with others (who may be very different from oneself and inhabit otherwise quite different spaces) for a shorter or Skenovano pro studijni ucely 183 184 Why Heather Can Write longer time before m o v i n g on.


pages: 475 words: 149,310

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

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

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


pages: 636 words: 140,406

The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money by Bryan Caplan

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, assortative mating, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, deliberate practice, deskilling, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, experimental subject, fear of failure, Flynn Effect, future of work, George Akerlof, ghettoisation, hive mind, job satisfaction, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, market bubble, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, profit maximization, publication bias, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, school choice, selection bias, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, twin studies, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, yield curve, zero-sum game

Yet no matter how many cosmetic changes accumulate, the essence of school endures: students spend over a decade learning piles of dull content they won’t use after graduation. There is a way to sever this Gordian knot: slash government subsidies. This won’t make classes relevant but will lead students to spend fewer years sitting in classrooms. Since they’re not learning much of use, the overarching effect will not be “deskilling” but credential deflation. Though this unprecedented reversal sounds like social science fiction, the logic is clear: the less education applicants have, the less applicants need to convince employers they’re worth hiring. Will the Gordian knot be cut? I fear not. Unlike grandstanding politicians and pundits, I expect no vindication by future events. Social Desirability Bias rules government.


pages: 528 words: 146,459

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

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

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


pages: 540 words: 168,921

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby

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

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


pages: 600 words: 174,620

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

anesthesia awareness, British Empire, conceptual framework, deskilling, different worldview, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, feminist movement, impulse control, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Nelson Mandela, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), social intelligence, theory of mind, Yogi Berra

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


pages: 632 words: 166,729

Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Dow Schüll

airport security, Albert Einstein, Build a better mousetrap, business intelligence, capital controls, cashless society, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, deskilling, game design, impulse control, information asymmetry, inventory management, iterative process, jitney, large denomination, late capitalism, late fees, longitudinal study, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, profit motive, RFID, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, statistical model, the built environment, yield curve, zero-sum game

I’d just put bills in, get my credits, and press the buttons in rapid succession: DEAL, DRAW, BET MAX—DEAL, DRAW, BET MAX [“bet max” refers to the button that selects maximum credits per hand]. I’d just watch the credit meter go up and down. If I were dealt a winner and it would go up, I’d think, How many times can I press this before all my money gets consumed? All that stuff that draws you in the beginning—the screen, the choice, the decisions, the skill—is stripped away. Essentially, Sharon found a way to deskill video poker, turning it into a purely random slot machine. Bypassing the control factor that originally drew her to the game, she gave herself over to the uncontrollable, stochastic flow of chance (in Thomas Malaby’s terms, she exchanged “performative contingency” for “pure contingency”37). Ceasing to be an agent who bets to win against the random number generator, she coincided with its digital procedure such that her play quite literally became the play of the machine.


pages: 626 words: 167,836