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Liquid labour

Global media industries and the price of immaterial production

Dr Teodor Mitew

on 21 July 2017

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Transcript of Liquid labour

rise of global information networks
the internet
information is extracted from matter
information flows over
breaking of borders
network time/space
a new (non)space
beyond borders
free flow of information
information networks and organisations
from horizontal
and centralised
one central computer
multiple access terminals
What was the effect of a rising information network economy on industrial labour?
towards the immaterial
from centralised
to distributed
information flows
working with flows
The German army during WWII was the first large scale organisation to consciously decentralise the decision making process
Wiener's feedback loop
John Boyd's OODA loop
information wants to be
information networks
to distributed
and decentralised
network coordination is expensive
hierarchical vs decentralized
from industrial labour
to liquid labour
factory machines
information machines
assembly line
information processing
capital always moves to the space with highest ROI
'the knowledge worker'
Open and collaborative models of organisation will increasingly trump closed and hierarchical models as a way to promote innovation, organise work, and engage consumers.
formal structures
of companies... don’t explain how most of their real day-to-day work gets done
optimising the organisation and work models for
efficient information flow
The coincidence of technological, social and labour market change is significant for the way we think of organisations because it changes the costs of their operation. In economic terminology, it changes their transaction costs. Organisations exist to solve a problem: market exchange comes with huge transaction costs – a lack of information, perpetual bargaining, and a lack of organisational memory.
Bradwell and Reeves, Economies
machines can
be shut down
just flows
work based on information
'permanent flux, constant change, and structural indeterminacy'
Mark Deuze 'Liquid Life'
The most successful businesses on the internet – like eBay, Yahoo, Google, and Amazon – share one fundamental characteristic:
the product these companies deliver is connectivity
, bringing people together to trade, communicate, interact and exchange knowledge, information, goods, and services.
Mark Deuze 'Liquid Life'
At the heart of most if not all of today’s new media technologies saturating our work-life environments is their
networked character
Mark Deuze 'Liquid Life'
[The] location and time of one’s labour becomes a secondary consideration to
the task of managing the expectation and/or possibility that one is available and willing to work
'presence bleed'
Melissa Gregg, 'Function Creep'
the chronic task of sorting
the chronic task of
sorting information
industrial work is set to the
rhythm of the machine
fundamental changes in world-perception, culture, daily life
from the telegraph
to cyberspace
from mainframes
to personal computers
distributed computing
Labour in the network society paradigm
what was IBM's business model?
what is Google's business model?
from industrial to knowledge production
Peter Drucker
information is power
understanding the dynamics of decentralisation
Norbert Wiener
Information theory, cybernetics, and the feedback loop
the problem
understanding the dynamic of liquidity
local decision making
free information flow requires
transaction costs
remember switchboard operators?
thank you
fixed in time/space
how to coordinate a large information network
in real time
the logic of free information flows demands labour that is
(and often have to)
Charles Leadbeater
McKinsey Research in
Bradwell & Reeves 'Economies'
'the chronic task of sorting'
key metaphor
tanks with radios
the larger and more complex the network
the more expensive its coordination
when production is based on information
always available
unrestrained by borders
knowledge work is set to the
flow of information
‘personal information spaces’
formal structure may be hierarchical,
but information work is distributed
labour as standing reserve
Dr Teodor Mitew
the logic of
and the knowledge economy
modes of production
modes of power
move towards freelance, casual, temporary, liquid forms of labour
precarious existence
the mode of anticipation
the network society paradigm
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