Friday, September 24, 2004

Post 2, second try

Notes on Daniels:

p. 117: for our benefit, we need a "classic" definition of productivity, since the reality of the concept is one of the contested areas in labor relations.

118: ICT makes the work place, especially for proletarianized workers, more like a play place; yes, I and my faculty colleagues tended to relieve stress by shopping online, especially late in the afternoon.

Is there a causal link between new information technology and labor market deregulation, or is the new technology just an excuse for deregulation that is motivated by political goals?

Table 3, p. 124: 5.37% of US population being enrolled in tertiary education is still not much, but for some reason we don't regard this as an industry that should be allowed to grow. This connects to the table of shifting jargon below: right-sizing is not a joke, the term has a political history in academia.

p. 126, figure 6: why so many job cuts in Telecommunications in UK in 2001--increased automation?

Concept of foreign direct investment (FDI) needs to be fleshed out.

p. 128: what is "prudential supervision"?

p. 129: "just-in-time" systems are what?

p. 130: following on the question of whether or not there is equilibrium between economic activity and employment in developed economies, can we identify a date when equilibrium of this kind existed in the US economy? (I would propose ca. 1958.)

p. 133: "A select subset of very high order service functions may still hanker after the accessibility or face-to-face contact opportunities of a downtown location; for everybody else telephone and video-conferencing for example, will be more than adequate substitutes."--in other words, elite business will still be done in the old-fashioned way, through quasi-informal contacts, while the bulk of functions will be routinized and pushed offstage. In Zweizig's Management class (654) in 1999, we learned that high-level decisions, i.e., at the CEO or presidential level, are still made based on verbally-conveyed information from a handful of close advisors or confidants, thus defeating the purpose of ICT--instantaneous delivery of accurate information to decision-takers. Ultimate leaders only act supported by trusted intimates who can filter raw information and validate decisions.

About "Robots": I have an anecdote about robots in the Silicon valley ca. 1977 to share in class.

"American Prosperity Myth":Article seems to avoid pointing out that the current economy is paid for by excessive consumption combined with low rates of personal saving.

Bush/Cheney and their core supporters are more mercantilist than capitalist--take example of Wal-Mart profits, based more on control over underserved workers and a vacuum in the marketplace than productivity--similarly, the administration plan for the economy is to secure control over resources, not to produce more with what's available--production being too costly and tending to lead to demand for workers at higher wages. Note end of article: "the injunction is to sweat assets rather than be creative."

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