Quote of the Day
“Biology enables, culture forbids.”
- Yuval Noah Harari
Home working: be careful what you wish for
Interesting post by Ivana Isailović on “The ‘New Normal’ Privatization of the Workplace” in Law and Political Economy:
The changes we are seeing today seem more likely to reinforce inequalities, becoming another instance of how neoliberalism keeps reconfiguring our lives. Remote work has further eroded the weak labor protections at the heart of the industrial economy. More importantly, it risks intensifying the “economization” of our lives, by crowding out any non-work related activities and increasing the rat-race in the midst of the worst downturn since the Great Depression.
More data will be needed to understand the changes that are taking place today and their long-term effects, but what evidence there is suggests that workers are on the losing end. In 2017, a comparative study done by the International Labor Organization and Eurofund (EU agency for the improvement of living and working conditions) showed that overall remote work tends to have detrimental effects on workers. Instead of being protective of “work-life balance,” remote work is eroding it. This result was found in both countries with traditions of strong welfare states (e.g. France, Germany, Sweden) and in countries with weak social protections (e.g. the U.S.)
One problem seems to be that remote work blurs the lines between “work” and “private life.” Workers have reported that because of the lack of clear boundaries, the working day is spread out over longer periods of time, squeezing out “free time.” Moreover, this de facto overtime is rarely remunerated as such. Remote work also intensifies the pace of work, and therefore is associated with more employee stress and burnout (see also the recent Eurofund report from January 2020).
We’re already seeing lots of this.
Mask fascism on the rise
I don’t subscribe to the Washington Post (which may be a mistake — so will reconsider later) but Cory Doctorow does, and he relayed this from the paper:
In the Washington Post, this anonymous editorial from a 63 year old with asthma who makes $10/h in a dockside convenience store in a 900-person town in North Carolina where the sheriff refuses to enforce the state mask rule because he “doesn’t want to be the mask police.”
She describes how she is subjected to physical intimidation, verbal abuse — and risk of death from coronavirus — by customers, especially weekenders from Raleigh and Charlotte who ignore the increasingly desperate signs telling people that they can only shop with a mask on.
These bullies aren’t mollified by offers to bring their orders to them outside the store if they want to remain maskless, and certainly not by the offer of a free mask. Instead, they do things like open the door and scream “Fuck masks! Fuck you!” and storm off.
They tape handbills to the storefront with hoax information about the ADA entitling people to shop without masks, call her an agent of sharia law, or ask whether she’s preparing to turn “mind control” on her.
She describes a life of fear and trauma, where every day at work is a day of abuse and threats, where she and her co-worker sometimes have to lock themselves in the storage room to sob because burly men have screamed at them and threatened them.
What is wrong with these men?
The dark underbelly of the gig-economy
Lyft Is Selling — But Not Providing — Masks and Sanitiser to Drivers.
Why? Because it can’t give them away without conceding that its drivers are employees. And if they were employees well, they’d have rights and entitlements and health insurance and stuff.
KFC is working with a Russian 3D bioprinting firm to try to make lab-produced chicken nuggets
That’s according to The Verge.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a KFC outlet, but somehow I don’t think this would make me change the habits of a lifetime.
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