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182

Competing, Managing, and Investing in the Intangible Economy

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Haskel, J. and Westlake, S. (2017). Competing, Managing, and Investing in the Intangible Economy. In Haskel, J. and Westlake, S. Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy. Princeton University Press, pp. 182-207

191

The exercise of authority seems like a good description of the Amazon warehouse above. A lot of careful process engineering has combined to allow a system where the optimal route around the warehouse can be computed very efficiently. As the economist Luis Garicano has pointed out (2000), enhancements in information technology have improved the flow of information around the organization. A fall in the price of information might lead to less authority: the breakdown of hierarchies, with autonomous workers e-mailing ideas up tot he boss. However, monitoring has also become more efficient with the growth of IT, so, in the Amazon case, IT has reinforced a "command and control" type of organizational design.

Thus part of the reason for the perhaps unexpected growth in this type of very nonautonomous work is that the intangibles of organizational development and software enable more and more effective monitoring. Thus they are substitutes for autonomy. [...] Marxist economists have a name for this additional monitoring role: "power-biased technological change"

interesting how even these dickheads admit it

—p.191 by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake 1 year, 4 months ago

The exercise of authority seems like a good description of the Amazon warehouse above. A lot of careful process engineering has combined to allow a system where the optimal route around the warehouse can be computed very efficiently. As the economist Luis Garicano has pointed out (2000), enhancements in information technology have improved the flow of information around the organization. A fall in the price of information might lead to less authority: the breakdown of hierarchies, with autonomous workers e-mailing ideas up tot he boss. However, monitoring has also become more efficient with the growth of IT, so, in the Amazon case, IT has reinforced a "command and control" type of organizational design.

Thus part of the reason for the perhaps unexpected growth in this type of very nonautonomous work is that the intangibles of organizational development and software enable more and more effective monitoring. Thus they are substitutes for autonomy. [...] Marxist economists have a name for this additional monitoring role: "power-biased technological change"

interesting how even these dickheads admit it

—p.191 by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake 1 year, 4 months ago