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97

The Firm as an Information-Processing Organism

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notes

Coase's theories on why firms exist (save on transaction costs)

Avent, R. (2017). The Firm as an Information-Processing Organism. In Avent, R. The Wealth of Humans: Work and its Absence in the Twenty-First Century. Penguin Books Ltd, pp. 97-117

102

The digital revolution makes it far easier and cheaper to keep an eye on certain sorts of workers and assess their performance. As a result, the boundaries of the typical firm have shifted. [...]

ah yes, the surveillance capitalism aspect which he seems to think of as a good thing

—p.102 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 5 months ago

The digital revolution makes it far easier and cheaper to keep an eye on certain sorts of workers and assess their performance. As a result, the boundaries of the typical firm have shifted. [...]

ah yes, the surveillance capitalism aspect which he seems to think of as a good thing

—p.102 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 5 months ago
115

[...] As the information-processing capacity of firms has grown in importance--as culture has come to matter more--those working in successful firms have come to enjoy a critical advantage over those working elsewhere.

I find it baffling that he attributes it to "culture". I mean, it's not necessarily wrong (depending on how vaguely you define "culture") but it does feel very misleading. Is IP law "culture"? Is having access to cheap and pliable labour to do the shit work your high-skilled employees don't want to do "culture"?

—p.115 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 5 months ago

[...] As the information-processing capacity of firms has grown in importance--as culture has come to matter more--those working in successful firms have come to enjoy a critical advantage over those working elsewhere.

I find it baffling that he attributes it to "culture". I mean, it's not necessarily wrong (depending on how vaguely you define "culture") but it does feel very misleading. Is IP law "culture"? Is having access to cheap and pliable labour to do the shit work your high-skilled employees don't want to do "culture"?

—p.115 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 5 months ago
116

[...] A firm's cultural capital lives in all its employees; if one quits, it is not threatened; if most do, it is. When labour is organised, it can appropriate the returns of this cultural capital (as it deserves to do). When it isn't, the returns are most easily appropriated by top executives.

ok he does recognise this too

—p.116 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 5 months ago

[...] A firm's cultural capital lives in all its employees; if one quits, it is not threatened; if most do, it is. When labour is organised, it can appropriate the returns of this cultural capital (as it deserves to do). When it isn't, the returns are most easily appropriated by top executives.

ok he does recognise this too

—p.116 by Ryan Avent 6 years, 5 months ago