236 posts tagged with Labor.
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How to fix inequality: Squash the finance industry and redistribute more

Joe Stiglitz on Inequality, Wealth, and Growth: Why Capitalism is Failing (video; if you don't have 30m, skip to 20m for discussion of political inequality, wealth, credit and monetary policy) - "If the very rich can use their position to get higher returns, more investment information, more extraction of rents, and if the very rich have equal or higher savings rates, then wealth will become more concentrated... economic inequality inevitably gets translated into political inequality, and political inequality gets translated into more economic inequality. The basic and really important idea here is that markets don't exist in a vacuum, that market economies operate according to certain rules, certain regulations that specify how they work. And those effect the efficiency of those markets, but they also effect how the fruits of the benefits of those markets are distributed and the result of that is there are large numbers of aspects of our basic economic framework that in recent years have worked to increase the inequality of wealth and income in our society... leading to a society which can be better described, increasingly, as an inherited plutocracy." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 2, 2015 - 18 comments

The Shape of Inequality

Can YOU recognize the shape of inequality in America? Most can't. [more inside]
posted by ourt on May 20, 2015 - 105 comments

What are you sharing with me anyway?

Disruption’s Tragic Flaw The case of Uber shows why European companies should not follow the example of their American competitors too closely. It pays to take the needs of customers and contractors into account.
posted by infini on May 14, 2015 - 44 comments

Tomorrow's Advance Man

The New Yorker's 13,000-word profile of Marc Andreessen
posted by mecran01 on May 12, 2015 - 31 comments

The company was saying, ‘This is what is good for you.’

Girl Strikers: Gender and Cleveland's Garment District Strikes of 1911
Before the strike, owners flaunted the fact that production had risen each of the last ten years. The city’s 35 factories employed roughly 20,000 workers, many sewing six days a week, 12-hours a day in conditions widely regarded as sweatshops.
Worse were the starvation wages made possible by the fierce competition for sewing jobs as immigrants flooded the cores of American cities.
Work was bad enough, but 60 percent of the garment workers were sole breadwinners, and another 50,000 Clevelanders either supplied or serviced the local garment industry. The only safety net was charity.

posted by frimble on May 11, 2015 - 3 comments

Automation is coming, but how will labor adapt?

The Machines Are Coming by Zeynep Tufekci
Machines are getting better than humans at figuring out who to hire, who’s in a mood to pay a little more for that sweater, and who needs a coupon to nudge them toward a sale. In applications around the world, software is being used to predict whether people are lying, how they feel and whom they’ll vote for. To crack these cognitive and emotional puzzles, computers needed not only sophisticated, efficient algorithms, but also vast amounts of human-generated data, which can now be easily harvested from our digitized world. The results are dazzling. Most of what we think of as expertise, knowledge and intuition is being deconstructed and recreated as an algorithmic competency, fueled by big data. But computers do not just replace humans in the workplace. They shift the balance of power even more in favor of employers. Our normal response to technological innovation that threatens jobs is to encourage workers to acquire more skills, or to trust that the nuances of the human mind or human attention will always be superior in crucial ways. But when machines of this capacity enter the equation, employers have even more leverage, and our standard response is not sufficient for the looming crisis.
[more inside]
posted by p3on on Apr 19, 2015 - 47 comments

The Richer and the Poorer

The Washington Post reports what the rich and poor actually spend their money on, and where [more inside]
posted by ourt on Apr 14, 2015 - 52 comments

The Man Camp AKA The Profit Center

"Post Hurricane Katrina, a whole new American dream was designed for some [South Asian] Indians — how to get trapped in a guarded labor camp by an American company".
posted by ursus_comiter on Apr 13, 2015 - 12 comments

How About the Rest of North America?

A small scale shoe company called American Duchess naturally wanted to make their shoes in the USA. Here is why they were not able.
posted by Peregrine Pickle on Apr 3, 2015 - 161 comments

Making More Time For Work

The Shut-In Economy The dream of on-demand, delivery everything is splitting tech-centered cities into two new classes: shut-ins and servants.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 27, 2015 - 64 comments

From Middle Class Anxiety To Factory Fueling Station

"Parlors, “dining chambers,” and other spaces amenable to dining began appearing in architecture plans. Each nation seemed to have its own idea as to what constituted a proper dining room. The great Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti wrote that it “should be entered off the bosom of the house,” advising further that, “[a]s use demands, there should be [a dining room] for summer, one for winter, and one for middling seasons.” Some two centuries later Englishman William Sanderson would recommend that a “Dyning-Roome” be hung with pictures of kings and queens." The Austerity Kitchen presents A Short History Of The Dining Room Part 1 / Part 2.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 23, 2015 - 22 comments

Spinal Zap

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing assistants suffered back and other musculoskeletal injuries more than any other occupation in 2013. NPR's Daniel Zwerdling investigated the root cause for many of these injuries: Lifting and moving patients. [more inside]
posted by Gelatin on Feb 12, 2015 - 12 comments

"What kind of life is this?"

Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper, flew teenage fashion bloggers, Anniken Jørgensen, Frida Ottesen and Ludvig Hambro, to the Southeast Asian country’s capital of Phnom Penh, where they experienced a modicum of a Cambodian textile worker’s life for a month in 2014. Their experience is the subject of a five-part reality show available online, titled "Sweatshop - Deadly Fashion." [more inside]
posted by gemutlichkeit on Jan 26, 2015 - 37 comments

Empire Zinc strike and Salt of the Earth: by Labor, for Labor

From October 1950 to January 1952, the Mexican American miners at the Empire Zinc mine in Bayard, New Mexico were on strike, protesting the racial discrimination between them and their Anglo counterparts in pay, safety standards, and quality of life in company housing. Two events make this particular strike stand out from similar strikes at other mines are the involvement of the miners' wives in both requesting better living conditions and later in taking to the picket lines themselves, and after the strike was over, the feminist and pro-labor docudrama made by blacklisted Hollywood film makers, Salt of the Earth (YouTube; lower quality on Archive.org; Wikipedia). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 11, 2015 - 6 comments

The Class Struggle in the North Pole

What’s behind Santa’s bloody rise? Three leading elven labor activists offer a class analysis of the North Pole “gift economy.”
posted by supermassive on Dec 29, 2014 - 9 comments

The Legend of the Free Labour Market

The Legend of the Free Labour Market. From the excellent HR/Economics blog Flip Chart Fairy Tales.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Dec 21, 2014 - 8 comments

"The contrast between the treatment of produce and of people is stark."

Product of Mexico: Hardship on Mexico's farms, a bounty for U.S. tables — the first in a series of four Los Angeles Times long-form stories about labor conditions discovered during an 18-month investigation of Mexican vegetable farms that supply produce to the United States. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Dec 8, 2014 - 38 comments

"Work Therapy"

Tampa homeless program uses unpaid, destitute residents as steady labor force, revenue source [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Nov 30, 2014 - 64 comments

Human trafficking in Iraq and Afghanistan, paid for by US tax dollars

"We protect women and children, but these are dark-skinned men.... " [more inside]
posted by John Cohen on Nov 16, 2014 - 5 comments

I don’t think I was born white. I think white children are manufactured.

Quinn Norton: The White Problem & How White People Got Made [more inside]
posted by flex on Nov 5, 2014 - 24 comments

a Pulaski, a tool that is half axe, half adze

About half of the people fighting wildland fires on the ground for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) are incarcerated: over 4,400 prisoners, housed at 42 inmate fire camps, including three for women. Together, says Capt. Jorge Santana, the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) liaison who supervises the camps, they save the state over $1 billion a year. This year, California has had over 5,300 wildfires, which is about 700 more than had occurred by this time in 2013, and a thousand more than the five-year average. Now, as the West is coming to the end of one of the driest, hottest years in recorded history, the work of inmate firefighters has become essential to California’s financial and environmental health. (SLBuzzfeedNews)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Nov 1, 2014 - 28 comments

I was so taken by the chief

How he can move gigantic marble blocks, but his own movements are light? An excerpt from Il Capo by Yuri Ancarani, which follows a foreman at a marble quarry.
posted by klangklangston on Oct 24, 2014 - 24 comments

Why "F* You, Pay Me" Is A Necessary Mantra

In order to promote her new book, Lena Dunham has elected to engage in some AFPesque labor exploitation: Last month, the writer, actor and producer Lena Dunham started an ambitious project. Nearly 600 people responded to an open call for video auditions on her website, including a sand artist, a ukulele player, a cappella singers, gymnasts, performance artists and stand-up comics, even some exceptionally charismatic babies. The seven who made the final cut won’t be making cameos in “Girls,” Ms. Dunham’s HBO show about Brooklyn 20-somethings. Instead, they’ll be the warm-up acts — performing free of charge — on an elaborately produced, 11-city tour to promote Ms. Dunham’s new book, “Not That Kind of Girl.” [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum on Sep 29, 2014 - 221 comments

The human being is very often not profitable from the system’s POV

According to the philosopher Anselm Jappe, who has come to Lisbon to give a talk at the Teatro Maria Matos, in capitalism we are defined by our relation to labor. But the system is a “house of cards that is beginning to collapse”. It is time to rethink the concept of labor.
posted by a_curious_koala on Sep 28, 2014 - 67 comments

The Social Construction of Money (Wealth/Capital in the 21st Century)*

The political economy of a universal basic income: "your view of what is feasible should not be backwards looking. The normalization of gay marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed utopian and politically impossible until very recently. Yet in fact those developments are happening, and their expansion is almost inevitable given the demographics of ideology... UBI — defined precisely as periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable and politically achievable among policies that might effectively address problems of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 19, 2014 - 62 comments

Killing the people you're pretending to be

Jacob Brogan of Georgetown University writes in the Washington Post about the ethics of wearing pre-distressed jeans. [more inside]
posted by orthicon halo on Sep 11, 2014 - 80 comments

No Fruit From Labor

When Restaurant Workers Can't Afford To Eat
posted by The Whelk on Sep 1, 2014 - 65 comments

“They paid the ultimate price for standing up for the working class”

One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes (YouTube, 1 hour). The story of two activists who fought to improve the lives of Filipino workers in Alaskan canneries, their murders by members of a street gang, and the eight-year investigation that ultimately found Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos responsible for their deaths. [more inside]
posted by Banknote of the year on Aug 22, 2014 - 5 comments

A grocery store strike decades in the making

If you like cheap groceries and live in Massachusetts, you may have noticed this weekend that the shelves were bare at Market Basket. Employees of the company staged a walkout on Friday to show their support for Arthur T. Demoulas, the company's recently ousted president. Many people have questioned the sudden change in management. [more inside]
posted by banjo_and_the_pork on Jul 21, 2014 - 85 comments

Having babies...with science

Evidence Based Birth is a blog with articles by Rebecca Dekker, a PhD nurse and faculty member at the University of Kentucky, summarizing the best medical evidence for childbirth practices. To start, check out the table summarizing the state of US maternity care to see the differences between current standard childbirth practices and evidence based care. The topics page lists the currently available articles. [more inside]
posted by medusa on Jul 3, 2014 - 40 comments

No Need to Choose: History from Above, History from Below

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 - 9 comments

Dear Marc Andreessen

"Hi, Marc... 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 - 50 comments

Hell on Wheels

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 - 80 comments

What Happens When Low Wage Workers Suddenly Get a Living Wage?

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 - 215 comments

They told me I was gonna have to work for a living

Interview with David Graeber Why do the least productive people get paid the most money? What ever happened to the big increase in leisure that everyone was expecting 50 years ago? Graeber tells us. [more inside]
posted by Kirth Gerson on Jun 4, 2014 - 131 comments

The Rise of the Voluntariat

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 - 85 comments

"It was just too dark in your tummy"

This Little Girl Is Watching Her Own Birth For The Very First Time [totally SFW] A young girl watches a video of herself being born. Her face is amazingly expressive!
posted by QuakerMel on May 14, 2014 - 34 comments

The Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre

Alan Prendergast writing in Westword reflects on the history of "Bloody Ludlow."
posted by audi alteram partem on Apr 18, 2014 - 25 comments

Evenly distribute the future: Issuing more bio-survival tickets

VC for the people - "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2014 - 20 comments

In the Name of Love

How Professors Use Their Time: The Long, Lonely Job of Homo academicus [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Apr 9, 2014 - 27 comments

NLRB Says College Football Players Can Unionize

The NLRB has ruled that football players at Northwestern University are college employees and can form a union. [more inside]
posted by Aizkolari on Mar 27, 2014 - 60 comments

"The Techtopus": Much bigger than we realized

Mark Ames follows up on The Techtopus (previously) with a new report showing a much larger conspiracy than has been previously reported: [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Mar 22, 2014 - 74 comments

The Pity-Charity Complex

"I say “you” deliberately here, because much of the writing about low-wage workers tends to obscure just that fact — that these stories could well be about you. Too much writing on the left and the right has tended to treat the people in some of the nation’s most common jobs as if they are some exotic Other rather than our neighbors, our family members and ourselves. " --Sarah Jaffe on the media's strange ways of talking about low-wage workers.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 20, 2014 - 40 comments

Bayakou

"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 - 11 comments

“as both Pierre Bourdieu and latte orders have taught me…”

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 - 195 comments

They endured.

The Men of Atalissa
PBS's POV collaborates with the New York Times on a 35-minute documentary about the intellectually disabled men exploited for thirty-five years by Henry's Turkey Service in Atalissa, Iowa. (The documentary at the NYT or embedded in a Q&A with the journalists at PBS's POV.) [more inside]
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich on Mar 8, 2014 - 11 comments

Work Makes You Sick: Speed Ups on the Academic Assembly Line

Mental health problems are on the rise among UK academics amid the pressures of greater job insecurity, constant demand for results and an increasingly marketised higher education system. [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Mar 7, 2014 - 22 comments

How Obama's tech team saved his presidency a second time

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 - 120 comments

You may find that even your rock-bottom expenses aren’t met

Can you live on the minimum wage? NYTimes.com has provided you with a handy calculator to find out.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 10, 2014 - 80 comments

"This is about finally giving college athletes a seat at the table."

Northwestern Football Players Are Trying To Unionize. More coverage from Deadspin, ThinkProgress, and Bleacher Report. The NCAA's predictable response.
posted by tonycpsu on Jan 28, 2014 - 56 comments

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