[iDC] From Mechanical Turk to Web-based worker surveillance

Hakken, David James dhakken at indiana.edu
Sun Jun 28 13:51:06 UTC 2009

Quoting Zbigniew Lukasiak <zzbbyy at gmail.com>:

> On Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 2:14 PM, Sam Ladner<samladner at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi folks,
>> I've been lurking and frankly, do a poor job of it. There's simply too much
>> on the list to take in! So I read a bit here and there and read some on the
>> mechancial turk phenomenon, and the MySpace layoffs.
>> Of interest in today's New York Times is a story on "freelancing" (a
>> misnomer if I ever heard one, but that's another post). The angle of the
>> article is that more small businesses are signing up for "high-end" services
>> such as Web design, precisely because they can now afford it through
>> Web-enabled freelancing sites such as oDesk.
>> Buried well near the end of the story, oDesk actually takes a snapshots of a
>> "freelancer's" workstation for the "client" 6 times a day.
>> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/business/smallbusiness/25freelance.html?pagewanted=1&ref=business
>> I'm reminded of Marglin's famous article, "What do bosses do?" His answer:
>> they control.

Actually, his answer was more subtle; bosses performs functions in 
labor processes designed so that they coun'dn't take place without 
them, an arrangement that meant labor processes could not take place in 
general without capital being realized: M-C-M'.  this is what makes 
such labor processes capitist.
I suggest fuguring out where to put similr boss "choke points" is the 
prolem facing those designing the processes today..


Are Web-enabled "freelancing" sites the new "factory system"?
> Adding another angle to that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TopCoder
> Is that exploitation?  I, myself being a programmer, find it liberating.
> --
> Zbigniew Lukasiak
> http://brudnopis.blogspot.com/
> http://perlalchemy.blogspot.com/
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