Not So Fast With The Private Surveillance

A revealing–no pun intended–reaction to news of Steven Salaita’s troubles at the University of Illinois was that he was only paying the price for having his social media speech monitored (or surveilled) by his employer. As the argument goes, all employers monitor social media; we should all accept the consequences–in our places and zones ofContinue reading “Not So Fast With The Private Surveillance”

Ending the NCAA’s Plantation Racket

In Kevin Smith‘s Chasing Amy, Banky tries to talk Holden out of his crush on Amy: Banky Edwards: Alright, now see this? This is a four-way road, okay? And dead in the center is a crisp, new, hundred dollar bill. Now, at the end of each of these streets are four people, okay? You following?Continue reading “Ending the NCAA’s Plantation Racket”

A Tiny Pleasure: Heading Home On Time

Yesterday evening, I took the train to my wife’s place of work at Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center. I was going to drop off my baby daughter at her mother’s office, and then head to the gym to workout. It had been a tiring day as any day of infant daycare invariably is; my wife was going toContinue reading “A Tiny Pleasure: Heading Home On Time”

The ‘Adversarial’ Nature of Unions

One of the strangest objections to the presence of unions in the workplace is that unions make the workplace adversarial, that they introduce conflict into the relationship between the worker and the manager (or between the two classes), that rather than letting workers and management concentrate on maximizing output (or throughput) and enterprise profit, whichContinue reading “The ‘Adversarial’ Nature of Unions”

Environmental ‘Luddism’ and Feenberg Contra Technological Determinism

My post yesterday on the debate on the Factories Act of 1844 was written to remind ourselves of the perennial dismissal–in the all-too-familiar language of economic efficiency–of attempts to introduce values pertinent to worker-side regulation in industrial workplaces. As noted, I had borrowed the example  from Andrew Feenberg’s Reason and Modernity, his latest book in aContinue reading “Environmental ‘Luddism’ and Feenberg Contra Technological Determinism”

The Factory Act of 1844 and the Economic Inefficiency of Banning Child Labor

One of the dominant threads–sometimes explicit, sometimes implicit–in any modern conversation about employer-side regulation of the workplace (health and safety standards, worker unions etc) is that such constraints are invariably economically inefficient, a burden on the profit-making potential of the enterprise. The parameters for this conversation are drawn from a sparse set consisting of technocraticContinue reading “The Factory Act of 1844 and the Economic Inefficiency of Banning Child Labor”