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In Defense of Soviet Waiters

There’s been a bit of a discussion about affective labor going around. Paul Myerscough in the London Review of Books describes the elaborate code with which the Pret a Manger chain enforces an ersatz cheerfulness and dedication on the part of its employees, who are expected to be “smiling, reacting to each other, happy, engaged.” […]

Occupy Beyond Occupy

As everyone knows by now, Jacobin issue 9 is out (except for you print subscribers, sorry you lot, your issues aren’t being shipped until January 4). There’s lots of great stuff there to dig into. My lead editorial for this issue began its life as a blog post, and it was originally just going to […]

New Issue, Political Miscellany

The new issue of Jacobin will be out next week, just after Christmas, and it’s full of great stuff. You should subscribe if you haven’t already, or give someone else a gift subscription if you have. (You can place an order with the right shipping address, send an email to subscriptions@jacobinmag.com with your gift announcement, […]

Robots and Liberalism

People know my beat by now, so everyone has been directing my attention to Paul Krugman’s recent musings on the pace of automation in the economy. He moves away from his earlier preoccupation with worker skills, and toward the possibility of “‘capital-biased technological change,’ which tends to shift the distribution of income away from workers […]

An Imagined Community

All politics are identity politics. I grew up in Minnesota, but moved away in 1998; today my connection to the state is not much more profound than following the local news and avidly watching Minnesota Twins baseball games. And yet as I watched the Wisconsin protests against Governor Scott Walker’s union-busting in early 2011, I […]

Economic Personalities for our Grandchildren

Given the origins of my blog’s name, I’ve avoided posting on Mondays. But I don’t get paid for doing this, and so this was a misbegotten impulse for the reasons I explain below. Yesterday I heard two interviews that helpfully recontextualize some common economic arguments about money and motivation, and provide another angle on the […]