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.
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 to the owners of capital.
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 discussion of jobs in my last post.
Jacobin is a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture. The print magazine is released quarterly and reaches over 10,000 subscribers, in addition to a web audience of 600,000 a month.