[iDC] Hyperemployed or Feminized Labor?

© Robbins cpr at mindspring.com
Wed Nov 20 23:48:58 UTC 2013

A warm hello to all ...and, indeed, it has been awhile ... too long, I might add - you've all been missed!

Fair to say that there may be few on the list who were not sympathetic to "a commitment to fair remuneration, worker protection and a more equal distribution of resources. "  And without doubt there are very good reasons for people to voluntarily contribute their labour, time and expertise without financial renumeration ( although other forms of currency of a transactional nature are operative,) to list-serves or other online communities.

What I find less useful is the analogy drawn between the contributors to IDC and the independent contractors inhabiting the video game industry.  I'm truly at a loss to understand the accuracy of such underpinnings of this analogy. IDC or the Media League to EAI or Zynga?  Perhaps its living in the Bay Area that gives me pause, as I am struck each day by the gross disparities to which are being alluded.

It strikes me as more to the point, however, are the broad underpinnings of a culture of utopian, digital  evangelicalism that has blindly paved the path for a categorization of terms such as  hyper-employment  (exploitation) to be appropriated by late-capitalistic infrastructures ( or is that way too retro-marxist jingo?) But, really, hasn't this debate been going on in full force for at least a generation now?



On Nov 20, 2013, at 1:11 PM, John Sobol wrote:

> Hello again, iDCers. Happy 2013. it's been a while...
> Ian, while I am sympathetic to the political goals that seem to underlie your rant - a commitment to fair remuneration, worker protection and a more equal distribution of resources – I feel that your analysis of the reasons people contribute their 'labour' to these communities is not just lacking, but essentially absent, which makes your critique much less useful than it might be, imo.
> There are very good reasons for people to give their labour to social networks, crowdtasked platforms, modded games, etc. And unless you recognize those very powerful, useful and satisfying reasons, you and others critiquing their apparent 'exploitation' will find it difficult to offer constructive tools that build upon the strengths and the mutual benefits of these relationships while acknowledging their disparities and seeking to rebalance them. 
> Take this listserv for example. if we adhere to your narrow critique, we are all being duped, exploited and otherwise taken advantage of for voluntarily contributing our intellectual labor and original ideas. Except that this isn't remotely true. We are not hyper-employees of iDC. 
> Nor are the high school students contributing their artworks to The Media League – the online creative community that I created and run – naively exploited hyper-employees. 
> As one of iDC's regular gadflies I am sympathetic to your contrarian impulses, but in this case I think you're missing half of the boat and – as a result – all of the potential to promote more egalitarian and progressive collaborative models online.
> Cheers,
> John Sobol
> --
> www.themedialeague.com
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