petej + happiness   50

Pret A Manger: When corporations enforce happiness | New Republic
Pret doesn't merely want its employees to lend their minds and bodies; it wants their souls, too. It will not employ anyone who is "here just for the money."
Pret  emotionalLabour  work  labour  coercion  behaviour  happiness  employment  employers  affectiveLabour  PretAManger 
january 2018 by petej
John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu, ‘Chaos Monkeys’ by Antonio García Martínez and ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ by Jonathan Taplin · LRB 17 August 2017
"What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook."

"Here in the rich world, the focus is more on monetisation, and it’s in this area that I have to admit something which is probably already apparent. I am scared of Facebook. The company’s ambition, its ruthlessness, and its lack of a moral compass scare me. It goes back to that moment of its creation, Zuckerberg at his keyboard after a few drinks creating a website to compare people’s appearance, not for any real reason other than that he was able to do it. That’s the crucial thing about Facebook, the main thing which isn’t understood about its motivation: it does things because it can. Zuckerberg knows how to do something, and other people don’t, so he does it. Motivation of that type doesn’t work in the Hollywood version of life, so Aaron Sorkin had to give Zuck a motive to do with social aspiration and rejection. But that’s wrong, completely wrong. He isn’t motivated by that kind of garden-variety psychology. He does this because he can, and justifications about ‘connection’ and ‘community’ are ex post facto rationalisations. The drive is simpler and more basic. That’s why the impulse to growth has been so fundamental to the company, which is in many respects more like a virus than it is like a business. Grow and multiply and monetise. Why? There is no why. Because.

Automation and artificial intelligence are going to have a big impact in all kinds of worlds. These technologies are new and real and they are coming soon. Facebook is deeply interested in these trends. We don’t know where this is going, we don’t know what the social costs and consequences will be, we don’t know what will be the next area of life to be hollowed out, the next business model to be destroyed, the next company to go the way of Polaroid or the next business to go the way of journalism or the next set of tools and techniques to become available to the people who used Facebook to manipulate the elections of 2016. We just don’t know what’s next, but we know it’s likely to be consequential, and that a big part will be played by the world’s biggest social network. On the evidence of Facebook’s actions so far, it’s impossible to face this prospect without unease."
Facebook  socialMedia  ZuckerbergMark  attention  business  psychology  ThielPeter  mimeticDesire  GiraudRene  filterBubble  identity  fakeNews  misinformation  Russia  TrumpDonald  advertising  surveillance  surveillanceCapitalism  businessModels  targeting  personalData  monetisation  tracking  Experian  creditCards  algorithms  auctions  Google  monopoly  duopoly  manipulation  emotion  happiness  mentalHealth  dctagged  dc:creator=LanchesterJohn  LRB 
august 2017 by petej
William Davies: The Political Economy of Unhappiness. New Left Review 71, September-October 2011.
"Depression is just sheer incapacity, a distinctly neo-liberal form of psychological deficiency, representing the flipside of an ethos that implores individuals to act, enjoy, perform, create, achieve and maximize. In an economy based in large part on services, enthusiasm, dynamism and optimism are vital workplace resources. The depressed employee is stricken by a chronic deflation of these psycho-economic capacities, which can lead him or her to feel economically useless, and consequently more depressed. The workplace therefore acquires a therapeutic function, for if people can somehow be persuaded to remain in work despite mental or physical illness, then their self-esteem will be prevented from falling too low, and their bio-psycho-economic potential might be rescued."
health  wellbeing  mentalHealth  depression  productivity  work  labour  immaterialLabour  Negri  Keynesianism  neoliberalism  happiness  capitalism  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill  NLR 
september 2016 by petej
Adults with colouring books, kids with CVs – it’s a world turned upside down | Andre Spicer | Opinion | The Guardian
"It seems we live in a world that has been turned upside down. While parents do colouring, or spend time playing at work, their children are busy building their CVs, developing entrepreneurial skills and struggling to hit their performance metrics (ie pass their exams).

Perhaps instead of continuing to load up our children up with ever more onerous adult responsibilities we might instead allow them to act like kids again."
play  adults  children  infantilisation  wellness  wellbeing  happiness  gamification  assessment  exams  neoliberalism  examinations 
may 2016 by petej
Happiness and children | openDemocracy
"Economists assume that competition is something that occurs spontaneously in the market, a natural force that public policy can prepare us for but not alleviate or shape. Positive psychologists reduce anxiety and depression to defects of behaviour or cognitive biases. But what if people are being socially compelled to compete, perform and prove themselves? And what if that compulsion, far from being ‘natural’ or even a diffuse cultural effect of ‘late capitalism’ or ‘modernity’, is in fact deliberately designed by policy-makers who seek to bolster their power with more and more data?

What if it is really the anxieties and fears of those such as Nicky Morgan, an Education Secretary in the UK Government who knows nothing about teaching, or the Department of Education wonks who are wrestling to make the world conform to their numerical understandings, that are really responsible for placing more and more stress on children? "
happiness  education  children  psychology  resilience  mindfulness  mentalHealth  wellbeing  tests  SATs  stress  anxiety  competition  neoliberalism  MorganNicky  UK  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
may 2016 by petej
The corruption of happiness | openDemocracy
Political hope must continue to lie in the idea that social and economic conditions are changeable, and, commensurately, that it is not up to us to tailor our minds, moods and bodies to circumstances which dominate us. The problem is that this argument can easily be bracketed as a form of idealism, which—in contrast to the advocates of 'talking cures'—doesn’t take everyday suffering seriously. The critique of positive psychology can end up being dismissed as a nonsensical defence of negativity.

The way to resist this is to insist on a political understanding of happiness and unhappiness, in which people are authorised to articulate and offer explanations for their feelings. This means understanding that some forms of unhappiness - such as a sense of injustice or anger - need hearing, not treating. This in turn requires careful nurturing and development of the institutions which facilitate voices to be heard. Happiness is welcome, but not if it requires people to "radically alter the way they are".
behaviour  happiness  neoliberalism  individualism  choice  management  psychology  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
may 2016 by petej

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