The term culture industry (German: Kulturindustrie) was coined by the critical theorists Theodor Adorno (1903–1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895–1973), and was presented as critical vocabulary in the chapter “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception”, of the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), wherein they proposed that popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods — films, radio programmes, magazines, etc. — that are used to manipulate mass society into passivity. Consumption of the easy pleasures of popular culture, made available by the mass communications media, renders people docile and content, no matter how difficult their economic circumstances. The inherent danger of the culture industry is the cultivation of false psychological needs that can only be met and satisfied by the products of capitalism; thus Adorno and Horkheimer especially perceived mass-produced culture as dangerous to the more technically and intellectually difficult high arts. In contrast, true psychological needs are freedom, creativity, and genuine happiness, which refer to an earlier demarcation of human needs, established by Herbert Marcuse. — Culture industry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It may be true, in some cases, that the relative wages of different workers reflect the relative market values of the goods and services they produce after managers and capital owners have taken their cut. But when the magnitude of this cut is unrelated to social contribution, and actually constitutes the bulk of total value, the value of the residual paid to those actually engaged in production is not related to social contribution, either. The dominance of the financial sector distorts all prices and wages in the economy, not just those directly related to the activities of the financial sector. — Wall Street Isn’t Worth It | Jacobin
This claim was supported by the supposed “Great Moderation” in economic volatility, a reduction in the variability of Gross Domestic Product observed in the US between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. In fact, even during the Great Moderation, reductions in aggregate volatility concealed what Jacob Hacker described as the “Great Risk Shift,” from business and government to workers and households. Employment became less secure, even in the public sector and in profitable firms that would previously have avoided layoffs except as a last resort. Defined benefit pensions were replaced by defined contribution schemes in which individual workers and their families bore the risk of market fluctuations. The spectacular collapse of 2008 revealed the Great Moderation as an illusion. In the process, tens of millions of households saw their savings wiped out. — Wall Street Isn’t Worth It | Jacobin
When women do it, it’s marketing. When men do it, it’s growth hacking. The masculine re-branding of marketing work as a technical skill — “hacking”, the implication of a more analytical or mathematical focus — is disingenuous, ahistorical. Marketing has always involved analytical and mathematical skills, and in technology, it has always required technical literacy and competency. — The Gendering of Technology Work — Medium
The Ethics of Unpaid Labor and the OSS Community | ashe dryden -
Businesses are choosing candidates based on their open source contributions, knowing that they are getting more value for less money out of them. These are candidates that will continue to work on things in their free time because it’s something they care about and are passionate about. This is akin to not paying someone for overtime. Open source originally broke us free from the shackles of proprietary software which forced us to “pay to play” and gave us little in the way of choices for customization. Without realizing it, we’ve ended up in a similar scenario where we are now paying for the development of software that large companies financially benefit from with little cost to them.
Andy Greenwald on James Spader's 'The Blacklist' - Grantland -
the rise of adult-themed dramas on cable moved the goalposts for the traditional broadcasters in a way they’ve yet to recover from.7 For all of its grace and ambition, Hill Street Blues could never go as deep as The Wire. The adrenaline rush of ER never matched the serotonin highs and lows of Breaking Bad. Unable to duplicate the specificity and subject matter of cable, network dramas have mostly retreated into formula (NCIS ad infinitum) or plunged into genre (Grimm, Fringe, etc.).
Stack Ranking: Why are Amazon, Facebook and Yahoo copying Microsoft's performance review system? - Dare Obasanjo's weblog -
This is the fundamental conceit of performance appraisal systems. For large companies they are primarily about answering the question of “how do we distribute our promotion and bonus budget?” by drawing a fuzzy line between employee work activities and how much money they actually have to spend (e.g. policy that only 2% of Facebook employees can have extraordinary rewards is a function of budgets not a natural law of distribution of extraordinary employees at Facebook or any other company in the world). Companies can’t just say everyone who does an excellent job gets $1,000 bonus because they may not have $1,000 to spend per employee in the budget.
The Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla recently suggested that health care will be much improved when medical software—which he has dubbed “Doctor Algorithm”—evolves from assisting primary-care physicians in making diagnoses to replacing the doctors entirely. The cure for imperfect automation is total automation. — All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines - Nicholas Carr - The Atlantic
Most of us want to believe that automation frees us to spend our time on higher pursuits but doesn’t otherwise alter the way we behave or think. That view is a fallacy—an expression of what scholars of automation call the “substitution myth.” A labor-saving device doesn’t just provide a substitute for some isolated component of a job or other activity. It alters the character of the entire task, including the roles, attitudes, and skills of the people taking part. As Parasuraman and a colleague explained in a 2010 journal article, “Automation does not simply supplant human activity but rather changes it, often in ways unintended and unanticipated by the designers of automation. — All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines - Nicholas Carr - The Atlantic