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45

Managing the Labour Glut

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4
notes

Avent, R. (2017). Managing the Labour Glut. In Avent, R. The Wealth of Humans: Work and its Absence in the Twenty-First Century. Penguin Books Ltd, pp. 45-63

47

It is tempting to believe that this balance of demand and supply for various types of workers is somehow unnatural, that were the economic decisions take by governments more fair and less tilted in favour of the rich and connected, then labour markets might look more like they did in the past, when employers hoovered up cities full of less-skilled workers to do jobs that paid respectable wages. But that is a pipe dream. Policy has in many ways shifted in favour of the 'haves' rather than the 'have nots', adding fortune atop good fortune. But the less comfortable position in which workers now find themselves is mostly due to structural change in the economy. The proof is in the paycheques: which, for a remarkably large share of the working world, have scarcely grown over the last fifteen years.

this sums up his views on political economy. how is the fact that wages haven't risen proof? he seems to believe that the economic landscape kinda just fell from the sky, fully-formed???? does he really not recognise the degree to which structural change depends on the political terrain

—p.47 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 4 months ago

It is tempting to believe that this balance of demand and supply for various types of workers is somehow unnatural, that were the economic decisions take by governments more fair and less tilted in favour of the rich and connected, then labour markets might look more like they did in the past, when employers hoovered up cities full of less-skilled workers to do jobs that paid respectable wages. But that is a pipe dream. Policy has in many ways shifted in favour of the 'haves' rather than the 'have nots', adding fortune atop good fortune. But the less comfortable position in which workers now find themselves is mostly due to structural change in the economy. The proof is in the paycheques: which, for a remarkably large share of the working world, have scarcely grown over the last fifteen years.

this sums up his views on political economy. how is the fact that wages haven't risen proof? he seems to believe that the economic landscape kinda just fell from the sky, fully-formed???? does he really not recognise the degree to which structural change depends on the political terrain

—p.47 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 4 months ago
51

[...] Other labour-intensive apps--such as TaskRabbit, which allows users to hire people for short-term gigs as errand runners--work not because they make unskilled labour vastly more productive, but because unskilled labour is abundant and cheap enough to make it more economical to harness workers to do unproductive jobs: waiting in queues, for example.

at least he recognises this

—p.51 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 4 months ago

[...] Other labour-intensive apps--such as TaskRabbit, which allows users to hire people for short-term gigs as errand runners--work not because they make unskilled labour vastly more productive, but because unskilled labour is abundant and cheap enough to make it more economical to harness workers to do unproductive jobs: waiting in queues, for example.

at least he recognises this

—p.51 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 4 months ago
52

[...] Uber's PR materials like to point out that the service is great for human drivers, offering them access to flexible, well-paid work. To investors, meanwhile, Uber emphasizes its desire to be a pioneer in the development of autonomous cab fleets.

cite this on the contradictory messages Uber provides to investors vs drivers

—p.52 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 4 months ago

[...] Uber's PR materials like to point out that the service is great for human drivers, offering them access to flexible, well-paid work. To investors, meanwhile, Uber emphasizes its desire to be a pioneer in the development of autonomous cab fleets.

cite this on the contradictory messages Uber provides to investors vs drivers

—p.52 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 4 months ago
55

University is hard. Many of these who don't currently make it through a college programme lack the cognitive ability to do so. Others could be helped through with better preparation and more attention. [...]

uhhh ...

  1. citation needed
  2. does he not realise that university "difficulty" is set ARBITRARILY based on what adminstrators/lecturers think suits the function of the school, and that function is inextricably linked to the historical role of universities in weeding out the "unworthy"????
—p.55 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 4 months ago

University is hard. Many of these who don't currently make it through a college programme lack the cognitive ability to do so. Others could be helped through with better preparation and more attention. [...]

uhhh ...

  1. citation needed
  2. does he not realise that university "difficulty" is set ARBITRARILY based on what adminstrators/lecturers think suits the function of the school, and that function is inextricably linked to the historical role of universities in weeding out the "unworthy"????
—p.55 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 4 months ago