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Digital Capitalism and Guard Labour

An interesting thread I’m following up from Four Futures: Life After Capitalism. This is Samuel Bowles and Arjun Jayadev on ‘guard labour‘: Another dubious first for America: We now employ as many private security guards as high school teachers — over one million of them, or nearly double their number […]

The poor white American abject 

From Strangers In Their Own Land, by Arlie Hochschild, loc 2422: “Crazy redneck.” “White trash.” “Ignorant Southern Bible-thumper.” You realize that’s you they’re talking about. You hear these terms on the radio, on television, read them on blogs. The gall. You’re offended. You’re angry. And you really hate the endless […]

Trump is masculinising poverty

An absolutely fascinating article from Arlie Hochschild, whose new book on the American right sounds like a must read: Traditional Tea Party supporters wanted to cut both the practice of cutting in line, and government rewards for doing so. Followers of Donald Trump, on the other hand, wanted to keep […]

The future of labour in digital capitalism

Bleak but plausible predictions from Nick Srniceck and Alex Williams in their Inventing the Future. From loc 2020-2035: 1. The precarity of the developed economies’ working class will intensify due to the surplus global labour supply (resulting from both globalisation and automation).  2. Jobless recoveries will continue to deepen and […]

The coming army of American demagogues

There’s an interesting extract in this Guardian article about the growing civil war in the Republican party, concerning the adoption of Trump’s tactics by aspirant politicians within the party: Trump’s refusal to support McCain and Ryan comes exactly one week before Ryan faces a primary challenge from the businessman Paul […]

Against craft capitalism 

An important reminder by Douglas Rushkoff in Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus. From loc 198-212: For many of us, the current system, however convoluted, is better than nothing, and changing to one in which we must create real value is frightening. Most people are not cultural creatives capable of […]

The Fatalism of the Multitude

This is an idea put forward by James Bryce, a British observer of the United States, in 1889: This tendency to acquiescence and submission, this sense of the insignificance of individual effort, this belief that the affairs of men are swayed by large forces whose movement may be studied but cannot […]

The Ambivilance of the Abject

There’s an interesting observation made by David Schultz in his American Politics In An Age of Ignorance concerning the stock character of ‘the welfare queen’ which I think applies to other such abject characters. From loc 975: This image of the welfare queen as a shrewd, calculating, yet lazy individual seemed […]

On Redundancy 

I’ve become ever more critical of Zygmunt Bauman in recent years. However I continue to see some value in his work and this passage, from his Wasted Lives pg 11-12, illustrates what I shall always like about his writing:  How different is the idea of ‘redundancy’ that has shot into […]

an uncertain future (for other people’s jobs)

I gave a lecture earlier this week about the cultural politics of automation and how this might shape the emergence of mass automation as a primarily structural reality.  I wish I’d seen this Pew poll when I was preparing the lecture: This sense of the inexorability of mass automation is deeply worrying. It’s possible that […]

The Politics of an Uncertain Future

The rise of the robots is a recurrent theme of popular culture. Robots are often seen as a threat, heralding the prospect of human beings being replaced by their creations, perhaps to the extent of being deemed useless by them and attacked. Underlying this fear is the reality of automation: technology being […]

Forced migration & digital connectivity in Europe

Dear list members, Kevin Smets (postdoc, University of Antwerp, Belgium) and Koen Leurs (assistant professor Gender & Postcolonial Studies, Utrecht University, the Netherlands) are sending out this email to see whether there are people on the list interested in submitting a panel / roundtable proposal on ‘Forced migration & digital […]