work life

Stone age economics - Marshall Sahlins

Stone Age Economics

Ambitiously tackling the nature of economic life and how to study it comparatively, Stone Age Economics includes six studies which reflect the author's ideas on revising traditional views of the hunter-gatherer and so-called primitive societies, revealing them to be the original affluent society.

The book examines notions of production, distribution and exchange in early communities and examines the link between economics and cultural and social factors. It consists of a set of detailed and closely related studies of tribal economies, of domestic production for livelihood, and of the submission of domestic production to the material and political demands of society at large.

Phoenix cab drivers: “We’re 21st century slaves”

An article by a member of the Phoenix IWW about the conditions of taxi drivers in that city.

Imagine yourself as an American slave in the year 1806. After a 17-hour work day, you feel exhausted and hopelessly depressed. Unfortunately, you’ll only get about five hours of sleep before enduring another grueling day of punishment and undignified servitude. This sounds like an accurate description of slavery, right?

All in a day’s work: life and labor in the day labor industry

An article by Everett Martinez about the day labor industry in the construction trades.

Whether it means the arduous toil of building a house or the technical knowhow required to unclog a home septic system, “day labor” is the catch-all term for an industry defined by its instability, unreliability and illegality for those who work in it.

A day in the life of a Curzon cinema worker

A brief tale of toil from a worker in a Curzon cinema in London, where there is an ongoing campaign for the London living wage.

We came in the other day and found out that the internet had been blocked at the bar and the tills. Me and my colleague J. were pretty sure that it was because the shift before, while Blue is the Warmest Colour was screening, we were behind the bar watching cat videos on YouTube. Blue is the Warmest Colour is three hours long. That's a lot of cats.

Incidents in the life of a slave girl - Harriet Jacobs

A first person slave narrative that was published in 1861 by Harriet Ann Jacobs, using the pen name "Linda Brent." The book is an in-depth chronological account of Jacobs's life as a slave, and the decisions and choices she made to gain freedom for herself and her children. It addresses the struggles and sexual abuse that young women slaves faced on the plantations, and how these struggles were harsher than what men suffered as slaves. Trigger warning for sexual violence.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs (AKA Linda Brent)

Twelve years a slave - Solomon Northup

A harrowing first person account of a free African-American being kidnapped into slavery in Louisiana for 12 years. First published in 1853, in 2014 the book was turned into a major motion picture directed by Steve McQueen. Trigger warning for physical and sexual violence.

Work and exploitation in the virtual economy

A brief history of my work as an online contractor and the exploitation inherent within the industry.

After reading Wotsits experiences of the Jobcentre, it got me thinking about my own time there too. But I don't really have much to add, in fact mine would be rather tame since I left the Job Centre before they brought most of that stuff in.

Hacking the Apple collective

A short account of working at Apple by a hacker employed there. Originally published in 2600 - The Hacker Quarterly

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Big Bird for lighting a fire under me so I would express my views on the current Apple environment. I've had a lot to say and it's about damn time I said it. He wrote a great article in 29:3 about his experience with the "Genius" bar. As great as the article was, I felt like it was missing something: an inside perspective.

On being sh*t-canned

Workers often say that the fear of firings is one of the main reasons it’s so hard to get people to fight back. The power that bosses hold over workers through firings can put them on the curb for standing up. This fear is often unspoken, but present everyday in our workplaces. This piece we share explores how truly arbitrary that power is and its effects. When bosses can hurt us and sometimes ruin lives without any reason at all, it also reminds us why we need to organize.

One of the disciplinary tools employers use is what I call shit-canning. This is when an employee is let go without notice and without explanation, without having done anything wrong, even by the boss’s own account. I say “employee” rather than “worker” (my standard term) because it also happens to people in the upper ranks who themselves have the ability to hire and fire.

Work isn't working - Matt Bolton

Article on the debt economy, and the demand for a social wage when work doesn't pay.

The five Tory MPs who co-authored Britannia Unchained – a book arguing that an 'idle' Britain needs to 'rediscover the lost virtue of hard graft' in order to salvage the economy – may be hypocrites, enjoying the five week Parliamentary recess as they are, but at least they are honest.