petej + postfordism   220

A 4.30am start and three-minute toilet breaks: are you ready for microscheduling? | Life and style | The Guardian
Another example of the limitations of microscheduling comes from Hussein Kesvani, a London-based editor and writer. Last year, faced with a seemingly insurmountable workload, he tried to follow the YouTuber Casey Neistat’s brand of extreme hyperactivity. Neistat has “Work harder” written in big neon letters on the wall in his studio and tattooed on his left wrist, “just in case I forget”; his left arm also displays another tattoo, saying “Do more”. In 2015, he detailed his daily routine in a video that has since racked up 2.6m views. From a 5am start, Neistat’s schedule goes: one hour of email; three hours of exercise (which he says makes up for the little sleep he gets); 10 hours of work; three hours for family (to, say, “put the baby to bed”); another three hours for work; and, from 1am, four hours of sleep. Free time, he says, is the enemy of progress, which is why he has eliminated it entirely from his life.

Judging from this, Neistat seems to have also eliminated commuting, shopping, cooking, cleaning, school runs and all the other tasks that interrupt most people’s working lives. And that, in part, is where Kesvani’s attempt to live like Neistat ran aground. Although he could make the rigid schedule work in theory – “I could plan out everything out; I knew when everything was coming,” he says – the events he couldn’t control (such as a late train, or not getting a seat when he was supposed to be working) would derail his entire day. Having to reschedule, even as the work piled up, nearly destroyed him. He ended up in therapy, where he finally asked himself why he had taken on so much work in the first place.
work  labour  overwork  control  scheduling  time  productivity  planning  postFordism  lateCapitalism 
5 weeks ago by petej
Can Labour forge a new, 21st-century socialism? | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian
The problem is that these ideas have yet to be turned into the kind of stories and messages that might decisively push Labour somewhere new. The party has been transformed, but it has a split personality – to quote the academic Jeremy Gilbert, Labour continues to be divided between a “decentralised political movement that would like to build a more democratic and cooperative economy” and “a top-down project focused entirely on maintaining Corbyn’s leadership, which is largely proposing a return to the statist social democracy of the postwar era”. The former demands deep thought, and the willingness to surrender old orthodoxies; the latter is a comfort blanket to which much of the party still instinctively clings.
UK  politics  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  Corbynism  Fordism  postFordism  post-industrialism  neoliberalism  democratisation  participation  socialMovements  conservatism  nationalisation  decentralisation  welfare  housing  education  schools  Amazon  exploitation  automation  employment  dctagged  dc:creator=HarrisJohn 
september 2018 by petej
Ordoliberalism and the Death of Liberal Democracy – An Interview With Werner Bonefeld | Salvage
Catalonia and Scotland might liberate themselves respectively from Spain and England. That does in any manner change the conditions of social reproduction, as set out earlier. It does not transform Catalonia or Scotland into classless societies. It changes the situations in which social reproduction takes takes place. A dependent labourer from Glasgow, say, has more in common with a dependent labourer from Newcastle than with the Lord of Buccleuch. The identification of individuals with some transcendent values of the nation is regressive. It stinks of soil and blood.
Marxism  postFordism  Thatcher  Thatcherism  globalisation  neoliberalism  financialisation  nationalism  Catalonia  Scotland  Catalunya  ordoliberalism  democracy  theory  politics  interview  dctagged  dc:contributor=BonefeldWerner 
march 2017 by petej
Suffering With a Smile | The Occupied Times
Being exploited is no longer enough. The nature of labour now is such that almost anyone, no matter how menial their position, is required to be seen (over)investing in their work. What we are forced into is not merely work, in the old sense of undertaking an activity we don’t want to perform; no, now we are forced to act as if we want to work. Even if we want to work in a burger franchise, we have to prove that, like reality TV contestants, we really want it. The notorious shift towards affective labour in the Global North means that it is no longer possible to just turn up at work and be miserable. Your misery has to be concealed – who wants to listen to a depressed call centre worker, to be served by a sad waiter, or be taught by an unhappy lecturer?

Yet that’s not quite right. The subjugatory libidinal forces that draw enjoyment from the current cult of work don’t want us to entirely conceal our misery. For what enjoyment is there to be had from exploiting a worker who actually delights in their work? In his sequel to Blade Runner, The Edge of Human, K W Jeter provides an insight into the libidinal economics of work and suffering. One of the novel’s characters answers the question of why, in Blade Runner‘s future world, the Tyrell Corporation bothered developing replicants (androids constructed so that only experts can distinguish them from humans). “Why should the off-world colonists want troublesome, humanlike slaves rather than nice, efficient machines? It’s simple. Machines don’t suffer. They aren’t capable of it. A machine doesn’t know when it’s being raped. There’s no power relationship between you and a machine. … For the replicant to suffer, to give its owners that whole master-slave energy, it has to have emotions. … . The replicant’s emotions aren’t a design flaw. The Tyrell Corporation put them there. Because that’s what our customers wanted.”

The reason that it’s so easy to whip up loathing for “benefit scroungers” is that – in the reactionary fantasy – they have escaped the suffering to which those in work have to submit. This fantasy tells its own story: the hatred for benefits claimants is really about how much people hate their own work. Others should suffer as we do: the slogan of a negative solidarity that cannot imagine any escape from the immiseration of work.
capitalism  work  labour  postFordism  communicativeCapitalism  Negri  subjectivity  emotionalLabour  suffering  dctagged  dc:creator=FisherMark 
february 2017 by petej
The way to a better work-life balance? Unions, not self-help | Guardian Careers | The Guardian
"The trick is to see the ritual of overwork as a societal pressure, not an individual fault. And much of this pressure stems from the disempowerment of the workforce that has occurred over the last 20 years. Insecurity – real or imagined – naturally makes it more likely that people will sacrifice everything for their job. That’s why confronting work-mania as an individual is pointless. We need to come together as a group to voice these concerns if progressive policy and legislation are to be forged. Otherwise little will change."
work  labour  overwork  postFordism  self-employment  flexbility  ideology  culture  self-help  individualism  work-life-balance 
october 2016 by petej
Cyber-Proletariat: an Interview with Nick Dyer-Witheford
"The evident example is the huge possibilities for freeing up time by automation of certain types of work. For me, the problem both with Paul’s work, which I respect, and with the accelerationists, is there is a failure to acknowledge that the passage from the potential to the actualization of such communist possibilities involves crossing what William Morris describes as a “river of fire.” I don’t find in their work a great deal about that river of fire. I think it would be reasonable to assume there would be a period of massive and protracted social crisis that would attend the emergence of these new forms. And as we know from historical attempts in the 20th Century to cross that river of fire, a lot depends on what happens during that passage. So there is, if one could put it that way, a certain automatism about the prediction of the realization of a new order in both these schools, which we should be very careful about."
Marxism  informationTechnology  postFordism  post-industrialism  work  labour  autonomism  communism  communization  anti-capitalism  PlanC  MasonPaul  accelerationism  interview  dctagged  dc:contributor=Dyer-WithefordNick  classComposition  optimism 
october 2015 by petej
What hope for Labour and the left? The election, the 80s and ‘aspiration’ | openDemocracy
This is how hegemony works, of course: the power of the hegemonic group becomes so taken for granted as to become invisible, to the point where actually naming it comes to be understood as a pathological gesture; their values and ways of acting in the world are accepted as mere ‘common sense’, any deviation from which must be a form of mental disorder. So of course the vast majority of Blairites are not conscious that their entire world-view is handed down to them by the financial elites, or that deference to the authority of those elites is the single thread linking together an otherwise quite incoherent set of policies and preferences. But it is.

A great example here is the language of ‘aspiration’ which was circulating among the leadership contenders before it started to become apparent that it wasn’t working for them. This was the Blairite keyword in the weeks following the general election defeat, with Blairite candidate Liz Kendall not only condemning Labour’s general election campaign for having failed to connect with voters’ ‘aspirations’ and with aspirational voters, but actually arguing at one point that what was wrong with white working class children was that they lacked ‘aspiration’ and that governments ought to take it upon themselves to force them to have some.

What does ‘aspiration’ really mean, in this context? It seems to refer to a very narrow set of values and to express the idea that they are the ones that everyone naturally shares. Now, I don’t think that anyone really believes that the narrow, consumerist, individualist, competitive values of commercial culture are the only ones which really motivate human behaviour. But everyone knows that those are the values of the City, the bankers and the sections of the corporate and media world which are closest to them; and this is what ‘aspiration’ is really a code-word for. Think about a phrase like ‘aspirational fashion’. What does it mean? It means people wearing clothes that consciously ape the clothes that rich people might be assumed to wear.

When someone like Kendall says ‘we must respect and encourage aspiration’, she doesn’t really just mean ‘we must respect and encourage people wanting to improve their lot and that of their families’. What she really means is ‘we must signal to finance capital that we will continue to defer to its social authority by enforcing its values as the only acceptable norms in our culture’. Her saying this is predicated on the understanding that the balance of forces in the UK and globally is such that there is simply no point proposing any political project which even minimally challenges the hegemony of finance capital. I don’t mean she necessarily consciously thinks any of this. She probably thinks that ‘aspiration’ as she defines it is just normal, everyday human behaviour and that encouraging it is simple common sense. Well, that’s hegemony for you.
CorbynJeremy  LabourParty  UK  politics  media  1980s  FootMichael  BennTony  SDP  socialMovements  TheLeft  technology  informationTechnology  Internet  postFordism  vanguardism  democraticCentralism  Blairism  NewLabour  finance  financialisation  hegemony  aspiration  KendallLiz  dctagged  dc:creator=GilbertJeremy  ge2015 
september 2015 by petej
Does the UK really need 'wealth creators' and 'hardworking people'? | openDemocracy
"But there are no guarantees. The final cataclysmic moment of destruction may never arrive – as Walter Benjamin put it: “That things ‘just go on’ is the catastrophe. It is not that which is approaching but that which is.” But the first step in facing up to that catastrophe is to recognise it for what it is, with no illusions. Because it is not the radical left who are “unrealistic”. Rather it is the social democrats who refuse to acknowledge what is staring them in the face, who continue to ignore history, insisting instead that moral appeals can bring about a return to a “fairer” capitalism that never really existed."
politics  economics  ideology  work  labour  capitalism  postFordism  post-industrialism  services  globalisation  bullshitJobs  identity  alienation  flexibility  precarity  property  homeOwnership  rightToBuy  housing  UK  economy 
august 2015 by petej
Labour needs to define social democracy and the language to build it | Business | The Guardian
Social democracy requires abundance. Governments need a growing economy and rising tax revenues so that they can build schools and hospitals, make pensions more generous and tackle poverty. This was the case in the third quarter of the 20th century, when growth was strong and governments had more levers to pull. They could limit the movement of people. They had capital controls to limit the movement of money. And they had trade barriers to protect their own industries.

Borders are more porous in the age of globalisation. It is easier to move people, money and production around, but harder to protect jobs, wages and tax revenues. What’s more, in developed economies growth is slower than it was in the 1950s and 1960s; in some countries a lot slower. There is no longer the same sense of abundance and governments have fewer levers to pull.

To be fair, parties of the centre right struggle with the same problem. Globalisation is good for multinational corporations; it is good for a relatively small group of mobile workers and it is good for those sectors of the economy that are internationally competitive. In the case of the UK, that means financial and business services, which has become Britain’s speciality. Prosperity is most obvious in those parts of the country – such as London and Edinburgh – where there are the highest concentrations of banks.
UK  economy  postFordism  post-industrialism  crisis  socialDemocracy  abundance  scarcity  globalisation  migration  inequality  wealth  poverty 
may 2015 by petej
Richard Seymour · Bye Bye Labour · LRB 23 April 2015
"The Labour Party faces a dilemma in May. Defeat will be demoralising and will increase the possibility that the party will ultimately collapse. There is little evidence that any significant force, other than the Blairites, would be in a position to take advantage of Miliband’s loss, and certainly none that a Labour left with any influence would emerge from the ruins. Yet if it wins, Labour will be forced to implement an austerity agenda which, while not enough to satisfy Conservative voters, will turn its own remaining voters off in droves. That would be a defeat of a different order. For a vision of that future, one need only look across the Channel, at François Hollande sinking and sinking in the polls, and the Front National on the rise."
UK  politics  LabourParty  conservatism  austerity  authoritarianism  MilibandEd  recession  debt  crisis  postFordism  socialDemocracy  ge2015  generalElection  dctagged  dc:creator=SeymourRichard  LRB 
april 2015 by petej
The fossilised power of the older worker | Flip Chart Fairy Tales
"On the whole, older workers are not highly paid compared to their colleagues in their 30s and 40s, it’s just that they have been able to hang onto their pay rates and therefore seen their incomes fall by less. Furthermore, the generous pensions will disappear over the next few years too. It may be a popular stereotype at the moment but the wealthy oldie is likely to be an ephemeral figure.

I wonder if we are in danger here of framing as a generational issue something that is actually about a changing balance of power in the workplace. For a number of reasons, organisations are able to employ people on much less generous terms than they did twenty years ago. Those who have accumulated resources and positional power are able, to an extent, to insulate themselves from the effects of these changes. The recession has disproportionately affected those without accumulated resources. Those people are more likely to be young.

The power of the older workers isn’t being actively exercised like that of a cartel or a trade union. It is based on what happened in the past. Just as fossil fuels contain trapped sunlight energy from millions of years ago, the power of the older worker comes from gains trapped during the last century. It is fossilised power from a time when middle earners had a lot more clout than they do now. It is therefore finite. Even when they get to their 50s, the next generations won’t have that power. The old will take it with them when they go."
work  labour  employment  wages  pay  UK  economy  youth  elderly  postFordism  precarity 
march 2015 by petej
John Lanchester reviews ‘The Second Machine Age’ by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee and ‘Average Is Over’ by Tyler Cowen · LRB 5 March 2015
"It’s also worth noting what isn’t being said about this robotified future. The scenario we’re given – the one being made to feel inevitable – is of a hyper-capitalist dystopia. There’s capital, doing better than ever; the robots, doing all the work; and the great mass of humanity, doing not much, but having fun playing with its gadgets. (Though if there’s no work, there are going to be questions about who can afford to buy the gadgets.) There is a possible alternative, however, in which ownership and control of robots is disconnected from capital in its current form. The robots liberate most of humanity from work, and everybody benefits from the proceeds: we don’t have to work in factories or go down mines or clean toilets or drive long-distance lorries, but we can choreograph and weave and garden and tell stories and invent things and set about creating a new universe of wants. This would be the world of unlimited wants described by economics, but with a distinction between the wants satisfied by humans and the work done by our machines. It seems to me that the only way that world would work is with alternative forms of ownership. The reason, the only reason, for thinking this better world is possible is that the dystopian future of capitalism-plus-robots may prove just too grim to be politically viable. This alternative future would be the kind of world dreamed of by William Morris, full of humans engaged in meaningful and sanely remunerated labour. Except with added robots. It says a lot about the current moment that as we stand facing a future which might resemble either a hyper-capitalist dystopia or a socialist paradise, the second option doesn’t get a mention."
automation  work  labour  robots  jobs  economics  employment  computers  post-industrialism  innovation  technology  informationTechnology  productivity  capitalism  postFordism  determinism  deflation  communism  dctagged  dc:creator=LanchesterJohn  LRB 
march 2015 by petej
Of Labor and Human Bondage: Spinoza, Marx, and the “Willing Slaves” of Capitalism | The Los Angeles Review of Books
"The naturalization of the economy, its existence as self-evident natural laws, makes it difficult for us to hate it, to become indignant. To this assertion we could add that the more complicated and distant the causes of our desire are, the more likely we are to see ourselves as free, as autonomous. We remember the encounter, the love, that made a given song desirable or the case of food poisoning that made us hate a particular dish; these desires and joys are not opaque to us. In contrast to this, we do not think about the history of wage labor, the destruction of the commons and other alternatives that are the prehistory of our day-to-day struggle to find a job. Nor do we perceive the fluctuations and transformations of capital as anything other than facts of life. We fail to grasp the history and politics of the shaping of our desire. Money appears to us as the natural object of desire, because the historical conditions of its emergence exceed our memory. Wage labor appears to be the only way to realize our striving, because the structural conditions of its determination exceed our grasp. The affective economy of capitalism is one in which it is easier to become angry and grateful at the deviations, the cruel bosses and the benevolent philanthropists, while the structure itself, the fundamental relations of exploitation, are deemed too necessary, too natural, to merit indignation."
Spinoza  Marx  capitalism  Fordism  postFordism  neoliberalism  desire  alienation  consumerism  affect 
december 2014 by petej
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