Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

20

[...] Gamification also serves the useful function of redirecting conflict away from capital, as workers become consumed with the more urgent task of beating the game.

—p.20 Chasing the Pink (17) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] Gamification also serves the useful function of redirecting conflict away from capital, as workers become consumed with the more urgent task of beating the game.

—p.20 Chasing the Pink (17) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago
23

When work took the form of a game, Burawoy observed, something interesting happened: workers’ primary source of conflict was no longer with the boss. Instead, tensions were dispersed between workers (the scheduling man, the truckers, the inspectors), between operators and their machines, and between operators and their own physical limitations (their stamina, precision of movement, focus).

The battle to beat the quota also transformed a monotonous, soul-crushing job into an exciting outlet for workers to exercise their creativity, speed and skill. Workers attached notions of status and prestige to their output, and the game presented them with a series of choices throughout the day, affording them a sense of relative autonomy and control. It tapped into a worker’s desire for self-determination and self-expression. Then, it directed that desire towards the production of surplus value.

As Marx remarked in his Grundrisse, "It is not the individuals who are set free by free competition; it is, rather, capital which is set free."

—p.23 Chasing the Pink (17) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago

When work took the form of a game, Burawoy observed, something interesting happened: workers’ primary source of conflict was no longer with the boss. Instead, tensions were dispersed between workers (the scheduling man, the truckers, the inspectors), between operators and their machines, and between operators and their own physical limitations (their stamina, precision of movement, focus).

The battle to beat the quota also transformed a monotonous, soul-crushing job into an exciting outlet for workers to exercise their creativity, speed and skill. Workers attached notions of status and prestige to their output, and the game presented them with a series of choices throughout the day, affording them a sense of relative autonomy and control. It tapped into a worker’s desire for self-determination and self-expression. Then, it directed that desire towards the production of surplus value.

As Marx remarked in his Grundrisse, "It is not the individuals who are set free by free competition; it is, rather, capital which is set free."

—p.23 Chasing the Pink (17) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago
72

Finally, around hour thirty of playtime, the dialogue starts to repeat: my villager friends have run out of things to say. I feel that I have spent as much of my vacation harvesting bell peppers as I'd like.

hahaha this reminds me of my experience playing harvest moon (think about this more). there is no more novelty and i am merely supposed to grind away at this farm forever. is that what life is like, underneath? the novelty merely masks the horrible banality always lurking beneath?

—p.72 Where it is Easy to Do Good (69) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago

Finally, around hour thirty of playtime, the dialogue starts to repeat: my villager friends have run out of things to say. I feel that I have spent as much of my vacation harvesting bell peppers as I'd like.

hahaha this reminds me of my experience playing harvest moon (think about this more). there is no more novelty and i am merely supposed to grind away at this farm forever. is that what life is like, underneath? the novelty merely masks the horrible banality always lurking beneath?

—p.72 Where it is Easy to Do Good (69) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago
88

After Apple recently won the race to surpass a $1tn valuation, CEO Tim Cook emailed staff to explain, “Financial returns are simply the result of Apple’s innovation, putting our products and customers first, and always staying true to our values.”

While seductive, this story is, like the Apple store itself, a managed fiction.

Apple’s system of operation is less the result of genius than of capture and control. Semiconductors, microprocessors, hard drives, touch screens, the internet and its protocols, GPS: all of these ingredients of Apple’s immense profitability were funded through public dollars channeled into research through the Keynesian institution called the US military. They are the basis of Apple’s products, as the economist Mariana Mazzucato has shown.

The company’s extraordinary wealth is not simply a reward for innovation, or the legacy of “innovators” like Steve Jobs. Rather, it flows from the privatization of publicly funded research, mixed with the ability to command the low-wage labor of our Chinese peers, sold by empathetic retailers forbidden from saying “crash”. The profits have been stashed offshore, tax free, repatriated only to enrich those with enough spare cash to invest.

some thoughs on this (relevant for book)

what apple has done (like most successful tech companies) is figure out how to put the pieces together (wtih ofc some creative control, innovation) in such way as to mint a ton of money. now, the big q is: is this good (intended behaviour), or is it bad (an aberration)?

something about profit's morality being socially constructed: if you forge money, or say forge/steal something and sell it, you're committing a crime. if you pay chinese workers a pittance to assemble devices based on tech you're cobblign together from various sources, you're innovating. this is considered legal because it's been created to be so - it's not a natural state of affairs. you could imagine alterantive systems where excess profit is essentialyl made impossible (or even criminalised) - workers must be better paid, prices must be lower, corporate taxes must be higher. whatever the rationale for allowing companies like apple to rake in profits in exchange for monopolisation supply chains doesnt seem worth it (not worth the costs)

—p.88 Control Freaks (79) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago

After Apple recently won the race to surpass a $1tn valuation, CEO Tim Cook emailed staff to explain, “Financial returns are simply the result of Apple’s innovation, putting our products and customers first, and always staying true to our values.”

While seductive, this story is, like the Apple store itself, a managed fiction.

Apple’s system of operation is less the result of genius than of capture and control. Semiconductors, microprocessors, hard drives, touch screens, the internet and its protocols, GPS: all of these ingredients of Apple’s immense profitability were funded through public dollars channeled into research through the Keynesian institution called the US military. They are the basis of Apple’s products, as the economist Mariana Mazzucato has shown.

The company’s extraordinary wealth is not simply a reward for innovation, or the legacy of “innovators” like Steve Jobs. Rather, it flows from the privatization of publicly funded research, mixed with the ability to command the low-wage labor of our Chinese peers, sold by empathetic retailers forbidden from saying “crash”. The profits have been stashed offshore, tax free, repatriated only to enrich those with enough spare cash to invest.

some thoughs on this (relevant for book)

what apple has done (like most successful tech companies) is figure out how to put the pieces together (wtih ofc some creative control, innovation) in such way as to mint a ton of money. now, the big q is: is this good (intended behaviour), or is it bad (an aberration)?

something about profit's morality being socially constructed: if you forge money, or say forge/steal something and sell it, you're committing a crime. if you pay chinese workers a pittance to assemble devices based on tech you're cobblign together from various sources, you're innovating. this is considered legal because it's been created to be so - it's not a natural state of affairs. you could imagine alterantive systems where excess profit is essentialyl made impossible (or even criminalised) - workers must be better paid, prices must be lower, corporate taxes must be higher. whatever the rationale for allowing companies like apple to rake in profits in exchange for monopolisation supply chains doesnt seem worth it (not worth the costs)

—p.88 Control Freaks (79) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago
91

[...] Apple's profits, at root, are a product of its power to control.

Apple's ability to govern its employees, supply chains, and image allow it to restrict behavior and creativity in its interests - try getting a genius to say "crash," the company to pay tax, or your music out of your iPhone. Apple's ability to assert proprietary control over public goods, from the town square to government research, allow it to generate income far in excess of anything it could hope to wring from its staff. Apple's performance of friendliness and innovation allows it to soothe customers while convincing both them and investors that it is the source of a happier, richer destiny. Apple's profit does not come from packaging the labor of the past, in other words, but from the power to organize the present in a way that makes others believe that is inventing the future.

damn this is great

—p.91 Control Freaks (79) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] Apple's profits, at root, are a product of its power to control.

Apple's ability to govern its employees, supply chains, and image allow it to restrict behavior and creativity in its interests - try getting a genius to say "crash," the company to pay tax, or your music out of your iPhone. Apple's ability to assert proprietary control over public goods, from the town square to government research, allow it to generate income far in excess of anything it could hope to wring from its staff. Apple's performance of friendliness and innovation allows it to soothe customers while convincing both them and investors that it is the source of a happier, richer destiny. Apple's profit does not come from packaging the labor of the past, in other words, but from the power to organize the present in a way that makes others believe that is inventing the future.

damn this is great

—p.91 Control Freaks (79) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago
128

Any player who looks too close will start to lose faith in the open-world game's promise of freedom. Compromises will always have to be made. Maps have to end, the plot has to be followed, and dialogue trees can only grow so far. Our virtual worlds aren't as free as we would like to think.

Neither, though, are our real worlds. Our gentrified neighborhoods and surveilled public spaces are just as limited and artificial as the cities and villages in our open-world games. They're the manufactured creation of developers, whether they're building software or property. In the physical and digital world alike, freedom is, in the end, a facade.

damn, good ending

—p.128 Closed Worlds (121) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago

Any player who looks too close will start to lose faith in the open-world game's promise of freedom. Compromises will always have to be made. Maps have to end, the plot has to be followed, and dialogue trees can only grow so far. Our virtual worlds aren't as free as we would like to think.

Neither, though, are our real worlds. Our gentrified neighborhoods and surveilled public spaces are just as limited and artificial as the cities and villages in our open-world games. They're the manufactured creation of developers, whether they're building software or property. In the physical and digital world alike, freedom is, in the end, a facade.

damn, good ending

—p.128 Closed Worlds (121) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago
132

How have the jobs changed within the gaming industry over time?

Similar to other parts of the tech sector, the game development industry is moving away from hiring people full-time and towards a gig model. It’s becoming commonplace to hire contractors and freelancers, instead of hiring full-time visual artists, sound designers, or writers for games. Or having fans submit speculative work to be used in games, paying them only a pittance.

We're also seeing executives increasingly try to pay people in exposure, particularly in the promotion of games. While most companies have dedicated marketing and community teams, there is also a trend towards trying to promote through “influencers”—often younger gamers with a sizable social media presence that will spend hours streaming their game sessions. If someone has a lot of views on their channels, the company will pitch a partnership, offering free games or flights out to flashy events—a moment in the sun. In reality, these people should be hired and paid a living wage to do this sort of promotion.

—p.132 Game Workers of the World Unite: an Interview with an Anonymous Game Worker" (131) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago

How have the jobs changed within the gaming industry over time?

Similar to other parts of the tech sector, the game development industry is moving away from hiring people full-time and towards a gig model. It’s becoming commonplace to hire contractors and freelancers, instead of hiring full-time visual artists, sound designers, or writers for games. Or having fans submit speculative work to be used in games, paying them only a pittance.

We're also seeing executives increasingly try to pay people in exposure, particularly in the promotion of games. While most companies have dedicated marketing and community teams, there is also a trend towards trying to promote through “influencers”—often younger gamers with a sizable social media presence that will spend hours streaming their game sessions. If someone has a lot of views on their channels, the company will pitch a partnership, offering free games or flights out to flashy events—a moment in the sun. In reality, these people should be hired and paid a living wage to do this sort of promotion.

—p.132 Game Workers of the World Unite: an Interview with an Anonymous Game Worker" (131) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago
136

There is this very paternalistic way that all the game development companies treat their employees. We’re often told, “We’re one big family.”

And the workers are the children.

damn that's good

—p.136 Game Workers of the World Unite: an Interview with an Anonymous Game Worker" (131) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago

There is this very paternalistic way that all the game development companies treat their employees. We’re often told, “We’re one big family.”

And the workers are the children.

damn that's good

—p.136 Game Workers of the World Unite: an Interview with an Anonymous Game Worker" (131) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago
141

The only labor action I’m aware of in the game development industry has been the voice actors strike of 2016. During that strike, basically all unionized voice actors stopped voice acting for games. The strike lasted for almost a year. They won—but honestly, it wasn’t as big of a victory as their union, SAG-AFTRA, played it up to be.

The voice actors were fighting for royalties on their games. They will work on these huge products like Grand Theft Auto that make over a billion dollars, but only get paid a few hundred dollars per session. In response, CEOs tried to pit workers in the industry against each other. They would say, “Well, it wouldn't be fair to everyone else if we gave you royalties—the programmers and the designers and the artists aren’t getting royalties.” And it’s like, “No, you’re absolutely right, they all should get royalties!” They try to play us all against each other, but really we should all be in this together.

everyone should be paid as well as the CEO tbh

—p.141 Game Workers of the World Unite: an Interview with an Anonymous Game Worker" (131) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago

The only labor action I’m aware of in the game development industry has been the voice actors strike of 2016. During that strike, basically all unionized voice actors stopped voice acting for games. The strike lasted for almost a year. They won—but honestly, it wasn’t as big of a victory as their union, SAG-AFTRA, played it up to be.

The voice actors were fighting for royalties on their games. They will work on these huge products like Grand Theft Auto that make over a billion dollars, but only get paid a few hundred dollars per session. In response, CEOs tried to pit workers in the industry against each other. They would say, “Well, it wouldn't be fair to everyone else if we gave you royalties—the programmers and the designers and the artists aren’t getting royalties.” And it’s like, “No, you’re absolutely right, they all should get royalties!” They try to play us all against each other, but really we should all be in this together.

everyone should be paid as well as the CEO tbh

—p.141 Game Workers of the World Unite: an Interview with an Anonymous Game Worker" (131) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago
142

GWU is not just against shitty labor practices. We’re also against shady business practices, and those impact players. A good example is the recent controversy around “loot boxes.” People will design systems that require a ton of grinding and say, you could toil through this game for 100 hours in order to get all the content, or you pay us five dollars and we'll unlock the Darth Vader mask or whatever it happens to be that you want to get.

That's an exploitative business practice, and it's shitty because game workers didn’t come into this industry to make little tchotchkes to sell to people. They came into this industry because they loved the great experiences they had playing games growing up, and they wanted to contribute to that and tell their own stories. And instead they're forced into making this cheap, exploitative content.

In building an anti-capitalist framework to fight back against shitty labor practices, there is a natural alliance with players who are exploited by shitty business practices—not that they always appreciate that.

—p.142 Game Workers of the World Unite: an Interview with an Anonymous Game Worker" (131) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago

GWU is not just against shitty labor practices. We’re also against shady business practices, and those impact players. A good example is the recent controversy around “loot boxes.” People will design systems that require a ton of grinding and say, you could toil through this game for 100 hours in order to get all the content, or you pay us five dollars and we'll unlock the Darth Vader mask or whatever it happens to be that you want to get.

That's an exploitative business practice, and it's shitty because game workers didn’t come into this industry to make little tchotchkes to sell to people. They came into this industry because they loved the great experiences they had playing games growing up, and they wanted to contribute to that and tell their own stories. And instead they're forced into making this cheap, exploitative content.

In building an anti-capitalist framework to fight back against shitty labor practices, there is a natural alliance with players who are exploited by shitty business practices—not that they always appreciate that.

—p.142 Game Workers of the World Unite: an Interview with an Anonymous Game Worker" (131) by Logic Magazine 1 year, 3 months ago