Where does the new interest in the “history of capitalism” come from?
I’d suggest the following rudiments of an answer. The financial crisis of 2008-09 has clearly placed certain issues of historicization on the agenda. If the accelerated and seemingly unstoppable drive for the “flattening” of the world through a process of neoliberal globalization since the early 1990s has not actually brought us to a permanently unfolding and self-reproducing neoliberal present, but has rather encountered severe structural problems, then how do we historicize this current time? That is, how do we understand the contemporary crisis of capitalism, in all its political and social ramifications, in relation to longer-run processes of capitalist restructuring and their logics of development and difficulty; and how do we locate the history of the present inside a larger-scale framework of periods and conjunctures? [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle
on Jun 29, 2014 -
... You seem to think everyone's worried about robots
. But what everyone's worried about is you
, Marc. Not just you, but people like you. Robots aren't at the levers of financial and political influence today, but folks like you sure are. People are scared of so much wealth and control being in so few hands... Unless we collectively choose to pay for a safety net
, technology alone isn't going to make it happen." [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Jun 18, 2014 -
Hell on Wheels: Are bad trucking laws partially to blame for Tracy Morgan's accident?
Two days before Kevin Roper crashed his Walmart big rig into Tracy Morgan’s limousine, critically injuring the comedian and killing his colleague James McNair, the Senate Appropriations Committee quietly loosened the laws governing truckers’ hours on the road. Senator Susan Collins slipped an amendment into an appropriations bill suspending for one year a rule limiting truckers to 70-hour work weeks, with a mandatory 34-hour “re-start” once they hit that threshold. Under the amendment, the law would revert to an 82-hour workweek. The Truck Safety Coalition denounced the measure: “What is being portrayed as a small change to the rest period actually has a large impact on crash risk and will set back safety for everyone sharing the roads with large 80,000-pound trucks.”
posted by tonycpsu
on Jun 16, 2014 -
The other night I was on the train
coming home and there was this young girl with three young children, and she had a container of milk, and I heard the middle child of the three ask, "Mom, can I have some milk?" and the mother said, "No, you know we need it for the baby." And I remembered feeling like that.
posted by the young rope-rider
on Jun 6, 2014 -
The voluntariat performs skilled work that might still command a wage without compensation, allegedly for the sake of the public good, regardless of the fact that it also contributes directly and unambiguously to the profitability of a corporation. Like the proletariat, then, the voluntariat permits the extraction of surplus value through its labor.
How companies like Coursera use volunteer labor to expand their profit margins
posted by Charity Garfein
on May 16, 2014 -
"The only way to end Haiti’s cholera epidemic is to keep infected waste out of food and water. A subterranean network of pipes, pumping stations, and waste-treatment plants would be the ideal solution, but Haiti’s successive governments have had too little money, power, or will to build massive public works on their own.... International donors have been little help: in one case, the U.S. government, to protest the way an election was conducted, withheld funds to build water and sanitation infrastructure in northern Haiti for more than ten years
. From 1990 to 2008, the proportion of Haitians with access to basic sanitation decreased from 26% to 17%. Cholera broke out in 2010. Four years into the epidemic, a trip to the bathroom for most Haitians still means looking for an open field or wading into a public canal at dawn. Those who can afford to, dig cesspools under outhouses. When the cesspools get full, it’s time to call a man like Leon.
" [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Mar 13, 2014 -
As it turned out, when I started working in Brooklyn, the most difficult to serve were the ones who wanted—or expected, really—for you to be cool, or at least receptive to a certain projection of hip-and-coolness. It was nice, at first, to have a job that let me swear and show my tattoos, but the pleasure of that freedom waned somewhat when most of my interactions became about the "fucks" and body modifications. If I had a quarter for every time I showed off my expensive liberal arts degree, holding up my end of a conversation about New York’s small presses or the most recent issue of The New Yorker, my tips certainly would have been better.Molly Osberg: Inside the Barista Class
posted by RogerB
on Mar 12, 2014 -
Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealthCare.Gov
- "Unknown to a nation following the fiasco, McDonough's assignment from the President had boiled down to something more dire than how to fix the site. As the chief of staff remembers his mission, it was 'Can it be patched and improved to work, or does it need to be scrapped to start over? He wanted to know if this thing is salvageable.' Yes, on Oct. 17, the President was thinking of scrapping the whole thing and starting over." (previously
) [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Mar 3, 2014 -
Mark Ames on Silicon Valley's conspiracy to drive down workers' wages:
In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators.... The secret wage-theft agreements between Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar (now owned by Disney) are described in court papers obtained by PandoDaily as “an overarching conspiracy” in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act.... [more inside]
posted by enn
on Jan 24, 2014 -
Peter Hartcher, political editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, tells the story of the self-immolation of the Australian Labor party and the political destruction of two prime ministers, in a five part series: Meltdown
. [more inside]
posted by kithrater
on Nov 20, 2013 -
Dwarf Fortress: A Marxist Analysis
What one does in Dwarf Fortress is create a colony of an existing dwarven fortress – you’re always sent out as a team from a much larger existing stronghold elsewhere, and your foreign relations with other dwarves are limited to that particular fortress, on the whole. Even though your settlement is independent and self-governing, and the relations with the mother fortress mostly those of trade, the purpose of the game in all its open-endedness can be nothing other than to create oneself in the image of the previous fortress. In other words, fundamentally in Dwarf Fortress you reproduce the existing structure of dwarven society on a merely quantitatively expanded scale.
posted by Eideteker
on Oct 25, 2013 -
Kevin Rudd has visited Yarralumla and has asked the Governor General to issue the writs for an election to be held on September the 7th.
The ABC's coverage starts the coverage with Vote Compass
- Where do you stand (as if you already didn't know)?
Faifax has offered this handy ready reckoner
News Corp Australia? Well they are calling on the services of Col Pot
to ensure that Voting compasses and ready reckoners point in only the right direction, and to ensure that News' editors - rely on their instincts
posted by mattoxic
on Aug 4, 2013 -
Why we're not allowed to work less.
Machinery offers us an opportunity to work less, an opportunity that as a society we have chosen not to take -- by 2000 the average couple with kids worked 500 hours a year more than in 1979. This is the story of how the a few companies like Kellogg's at first bucked the trend, and the massive propaganda campaign against shorter hours that's nearly won it's battle to make capitalism synonymous with the “American Way.”
posted by blankdawn
on May 22, 2013 -
"Everyone Only Wants Temps"
- My stint doing "on demand" grunt work for one of America's hottest growth industries
It's not a pretty formula, but it works. With 600 offices and a workforce of 400,000—more employees than Target or Home Depot—Labor Ready is the undisputed king of the blue-collar temp industry. Specializing in "tough-to-fill, high-turnover positions," the company dispatches people to dig ditches, demolish buildings, remove debris, stock giant fulfillment warehouses—jobs that take their toll on a body. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on May 20, 2013 -
Big tech is saying we need to issue more temporary visas so high-skill STEM workers can enter the US, because there's a shortage of Americans who can do the work. But according to this essay
in the Columbia Journalism Review
, there might be plenty of US citizens available, in fact maybe even a glut, and immigration reform proposals might just be a way to keep STEM labor costs down for corporations and universities. [more inside]
posted by tommyD
on May 9, 2013 -
Each year on March 25, the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, Ruth Sergel and a team of volunteers have installed "Chalk," a public art project commemorating the lives lost that day in 1911.
Sergel, who also founded the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition
has made a publicly available data map that records "the name, home address, likely age, country of origin, and final resting place of all known Triangle Fire victims.
" Says Sergel, "The chalk will wash away but the following year we return, insisting on the memory of these lost young workers." [more inside]
posted by liketitanic
on Mar 26, 2013 -