“These technologies are not enabling people to meet their potential; they’re instead exploiting people.”

ICYMI—I wrote a post at the end of last week about Universal Basic Income…if you’re interested in that subject, you might join this FB group, promoting labor’s involvement in that struggle.

What’s Going On in the Workforce?

Moshe Marvit’s got the story of the week in the Nation, about how Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service is creating a new kind of exploitation among online workers, who are largely uncovered by existing labor law, and get paid an estimated $2 per hour.

If a 3D printer can print a house in 24 hours, what will that mean for the construction trades?

What can a swarm of robots do that a swarm of humans can’t?

UK university lecturers are striking for a third time, after being told they’d be docked a full day’s pay for a two hour strike.

If you’re interested in precarious work for academics in the US, you might want to follow this tumblr, which features stories by folks who are stuck in the dumps of precarious work, like this one.

Organizing Theory

Are you thinking about how to use mobile as part of your online fundraising strategy, or wondering how to raise money from millennials? Are you fighting right-wing attacks that will make it harder for your union to collect dues through paycheck deduction? You might want to check out this article by TechPresident on innovation in the “frictionless donation” world.

Developing a blogger outreach program for your organization? Read these tips.

From Partners

Communicopia has done an update of their 2012 report on how non-profit organizations integrate digital into their organizing theory. Hybrid teams work best, it seems.

Geeking Out

I can’t wait until every conference is full of iPads on wheels, video streaming us all as we sit on our own couches. For a vision of that future, click here.

Teenager uses 3D printer to make a robohand for neighbor kid who was born missing fingers. Verklempt.

In the “You REALLY Can’t Make This Up” department—a new Disney video features lovable surveillance drones.

Are Twitter bots a new kind of public art, that make us question our relationship to algorithms? Maybe.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Is the city of Chicago discriminating against traditional taxi drivers by refusing the regulate sharing-economy ride services? This lawsuit says they are.

The National Worker Cooperative Conference is being held in Chicago from May 30-June 1. More info on that here.

Workers who have taken over factories in the EU and beyond gathered in Marseille last month to talk best practices, and brainstorm ways to include their communities in their struggles for self-determination.

An excellent article about how a black-owned consumer co-op in South Carolina helped launch the voting rights movement.

Final Thoughts

“…it’s easy to get rich by getting a state asset at a deep discount.”

Joseph Stiglitz, The Price of Inequality

Why Labor should join the fight for Universal Basic Income

This country is ripe for a conversation about how to adjust our economy to the realities of the digital revolution, but that conversation is barely happening. Just as all workers (not just farmer laborers) were affected by the transition from the Agricultural to Industrial economies, all workers today—whether they are corporate lawyers, fast food workers, or taxi drivers—are facing technological change that impacts (or threatens to utterly destroy) their work.

Nearly 200 years ago, the labor movement developed the demand for an 8-hour work day as part of their response to the Industrial Revolution. In the intervening 200 years, many things have changed—but for the most part, our economic demands haven’t.

Why are we still holding full-time, permanent work as the gold standard of our movement?

We continue to tie our economic demands to particular employers, because that’s how unions have been institutionally successful—by bargaining with specific employers, and then collecting dues from the specific employees of those employers. Employers, in the Industrial Age, were willing to have that relationship because it got them what they wanted—labor peace in specific industries, and for the most part, in specific geographies.

Employers don’t seem to want that anymore.

What they want is to take advantages of the productivity gains that technology produces—more part-time work, more contract labor, more flexible arrangements.

Happily, I think we can also conclude that most workers don’t oppose productivity gains—they like technology that makes their jobs easier, and safer, and faster—but they don’t want to be left out of the wealth that increased productivity creates. Similarly, as we have more and more struggles around “work/life balance” we can conclude that less time at work will not be unwelcome to most of the workforce—as long as it is not accompanied by a huge net loss in income.

We need to build a labor movement that plays to the things employers want—but also makes them see that, without a social safety net that supports a flexible workforce, they will have no labor peace. The union of the future won’t be the one that figures out how to bargain with Facebook over their use of contract labor—it will be the one that figures out how to represent people to fight for benefits outside the workplace, as well as inside. In fact, it might not be a union at all.

We don’t, however, only need a new model of worker organization—we need a new way of talking about work, in our movement. We’ve spent a lot of time promoting the value that all work has dignity, and is deserving of respect. We say things like, “no one who works full-time should live in poverty.” We write articles & opinion pieces, extolling the times when we had something close to full employment as being “the best of times.”

When we make moral statements that only promote the value of work, we lock ourselves into a rhetoric, by extension, that only workers have value—and that makes it hard for us to reframe the demand for full-time work into one for a full-time livelihood, regardless of the number of hours spent at work.

It will take a big leap, in the labor movement, from saying “no one who works full-time should live in poverty,” to “no one should live in poverty.” From saying, “we need full employment” to saying “we need a full livelihood.” But if we want to dream big—if we really believe that technology is transforming work into a wholly different thing, the way that it did during the Industrial Revolution—we need to take that big leap.

Progressives in general—and worker activists in particular—should join the fight for a universal basic income.

Right now, the 1% are the people who are gaining most from the huge increases in productivity that we’ve seen over the past two decades. They are reaping enormous profits, while shedding jobs, destroying communities and disrupting our economy. We need a movement that demands that all of us deserve the benefits of productivity increases—and understands that those benefits may not come in the form of full employment, but in part-time leisure.

 

(Note—if you’re interested in learning more about universal basic income, here are a group of articles that have helped to shape my thinking about it: http://bitly.com/bundles/katisipp/f)

 

Expansion Mode

First up–exciting news at Team HtU. Thanks to some fundraising success, we’re finally going to be a real team (no longer a team of one). I’m very excited to announce that Wyatt Closs & Douglas Williams have agreed to start doing some writing for this blog. See more about the two of them here. Look for additional content from them, in the coming weeks.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Some folks who are trying to spread co-working in NYC came up with this innovative idea—why not co-work at the Met? or a wine bar? (that last one would not be conducive to my own personal productivity, but YMMV).

If you’re using your personal car to operate as a Lyft driver, you might find that your personal car insurance isn’t willing to cover you, if you get in an accident. Commercial insurance may be financially out of reach for folks who are only driving once or twice a week. Will something fill the gap?

Interested in the history of Britain’s co-ops? This archive’s got you covered.

Reputation, Reputation, Reputation

Don’t want Google Glass to record your every trip to the bathroom? You may be in luck.

You probably don’t have a great understanding of how your credit score gets determined. What kind of regulation do we need, if we’re about to adopt even more kinds of biased, algorithmic scoring?

Do you need to figure out if breaking news is real or manufactured? Check out this how-to manual for journalists and others.

From Partners

Friend-o-the-blog Andrew Brady from global solidarity network USi Live is coming to the Eastern Seaboard in late March, to build relationships with US unions. If you want to meet him in Philly, check out this event. And follow Organizing 2.0 on FB for info about when he’ll be in NYC.

Did you know that corporate America gets bigger tax breaks if they pay their CEOs more? Seems perverse. Rep. Lloyd Doggett & Sens. Reed & Blumenthal are working on a fix.

Geeking Out

“We have to do things that cannot be tackled by apps.” What are the political consequences of embracing an app-based solutionist culture? Evgeny Morozov opines that we’re outsourcing, to corporations, solutions we used to expect from government. Bonus quote? “We should throw out venture capitalists.”

Not only do androids dream of electric sheep, they now appear to be able to write the modern day version of “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.”

What’s Going On in the Workforce?

Interested in what it’s like to start a worker-owned co-op? Here’s a great series of first-person blog posts from a guy who’s working with others to do that.

I’m guessing it takes a special kind of person to eat for three hours a day in front of a web cam. But for $9K US a month, people will do special things.

Distributed workplaces are complicated. Imagine what it’s like to lay off people in large groups when they’re scattered across the country? Now listen to this phone call, where someone from Patch actually does that. Then, go take a shower, as I guarantee you will feel dirty.

Foxconn is building a factory in the US. Think that means good news for US workers? Think again. US robots, on the other hand? It’s good news for you.  Google’s purchase of AI company DeepMind has this Oxford University professor worried we ALL may be losing our jobs sooner than we think.

As a single mom with two kids who lives in the Philly metro area, I’d need to work 147 hours a week at Wal-Mart to make a secure living. Wanna know what you’d need to earn?

 

Should you get paid for the time you spend on Facebook?

What’s Going on in the Workforce?

With the news that 47% of all US jobs might cease to exist as jobs in the next 10 years, I bet you’re wondering what kinds of jobs are most likely to be automated. Managers, looks like you can breathe easy, at least for a little while. Telemarketers & seamstresses? Time for a career change.

Should you get paid for the contributions you make to Facebook? If we’re all about to lose our jobs, it’s something to think about.

Google, Apple, Intel & others conspired to keep wages down for 100s of 1000s of engineers, in the early 21st century. And with that, my Apple fangirldom died.

More and more people are ending up in non-traditional work—including working freelance. Here’s a good post with tips to survive your first year as a freelancer, from the Freelancers’ Union.

Wearable tech might make it easier for firefighters to find their way around inside burning buildings. Here, a Google Glass developer and firefighter shows how he uses that tech on the job.

Geeking Out

3D printed pizza. Watch, and live the dream.

Reputation, Reputation, Reputation

If Facebook adoption was disease-like in its vitality, are we all about to be cured? These Princeton researchers say yes. Facebook fought back by investigating the theory that Princeton itself is on the verge of extinction.

Do you want fries with that? I bet your car knows

From Partners

H/T to @usilive for pointing this one out: “…the storytellers that got the most attention were not necessarily the funniest or wittiest. Instead, they were the ones that were most prepared to put their skin in the game…” We all know the story of self moves people—but how often do we use it to full effect?

Organizing Theory

It’s hard to mobilize activists into the streets. Imagine how much harder it is, when the government texts everyone at a protest to announce they’ve been labeled dissidents?  “All of this puts to lie the lately-popular mythology that technology is inherently a liberating force–with the right hack, it can oppress just as easily.”

Greenpeace makes their internal processes for decision-making, collaboration transparent. Check out this toolkit that describes how teams work in different countries around the world. Argentina, I’m totes jealous of that 2 Hour Window!

Alt-labor groups, other organizations using NLRB charges more than ever before.

The 47% Solution?

What’s Going On in the Workforce?

“…jobs are at high risk of being automated in 47% of the occupational categories into which work is customarily sorted.” What’s going to happen after that?, the Economist wonders. If only we lived on widgets alone…

More and more of us are going to need to figure out how to work best in distributed environments. Here’s a great post from the folks at web-hosting company Mongo on how they make it work for them.

In a new take on “non-traditional worker” organizing, Canadian clergy are organizing with a chapter of Canada’s largest private-sector union, Unifor.

It often seems like there’s an unresolvable tension between utopians (tech will bring us happiness & prosperity!) and dystopians (tech will wipe out wealth & through us into poverty!)—and not just on my to-be-read shelf. Erik Brynjolfsson talks a little bit here, about why he’s a mindful optimist on this.

Tired of getting the side-eye from your local barista, and yet not quite willing to plunk down the coin for a co-working space? How about a cafe where you pay for the time you spend there, not the number of cups of coffee you drink?

Geeking Out

So you wanna build a car from a kit? Say hi to Tabby, the Ikea of cars.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“…if the lower cost is because the formerly unionized employees are now freelancers, or because there’s no minimum wage, or because tips are hidden from the customer and the employee, the cost of these apps can be pricier than they look.” The perils of the “share washing” economy.

In a sure sign that the “sharing” economy is here to stay, its had its first Congressional hearing.

Organizing Theory

If you’re in charge of figuring out how to incorporate online activism in campaigns, you’re really going to want to read this new report by Greenpeace Mobilisation Lab on online petition campaigns. Key takeaway for me? Online petitions that target high-level elected officials or major corporations are less likely to win than those that target small businesses or local electeds. And as with anything, wins matter.

Last month, I went to my first-ever Rootscamp in DC, and the people who sent chills down my spine talking about their work were the online organizers of OUR Walmart. Sarah Jaffe profiles their organizing techniques, here.

Reputation, Reputation, Reputation

In the UK, the right of unions to protect their confidential membership data from the government is under attack.

If big retailers have their way, “discriminatory pricing” could be coming to a Target near you. Interested in how that works? Try searching for the same flights on a MacBookPro, and then from a cheap netbook.

It’s not just the driverless car that will be able to track your every move—today’s cars store data about where & when you travel. Do we need a privacy policy for our cars?

From Partners

Lots of us spend time figuring out how to win campaigns—the folks from the Freelancers’ Movement have laid out their analysis of a successful campaign website here. Bonus points for its in-depth look at the structure of Peers’ website.

And speaking of worldwide activism, here’s a call for folks to participate in a worldwide wave of actions in 2014.

Final Thoughts

“In protest, there must never be any compromise. In politics, there is always compromise.”

Bayard Rustin

Is permatemping the new model in manufacturing?

What’s Going On in the Workforce?

Is permatemping the new model in manufacturing? Sarah Jaffe takes a look at the history of temps and how they’ve expanded in our economy—and how we’re all paying to subsidize them.

When lots of people are working from home, it’s hard to know what they’ll accomplish. Internet platform Automattic has given their hiring a lot of thought, given those circumstances.

Want to avoid buying clothing that was sewn by children in sweatshops overseas? There’s an app for that. (Well, okay, it’s really a browser extension, but still.)

Geeking Out

Internet centralization makes it easier for the NSA to spy on us. Radar O’Reilly explains how.

In much less-serious news—I’m admittedly a crazy baker. But this goes pretty far into cookie insanity. This guy hacked together a machine to make one cookie at a time, so he could test 20 recipes at once.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Here’s an interesting video about how to use a time bank to seed a worker cooperative, for not so much money.

And while you’re thinking about co-ops, why not read this excellent look, from Truthout, on unions & worker-owned co-ops?

Wanna talk to co-op folks from around the world? The international co-op community will be in Quebec in October 2014.

How is the sharing economy changing cities? Well for one, millennials want to stick around more.

Organizing Theory

How do you get your organizational data to line up, when you’re using multiple vendors to store it? These progressive data geeks are working on a new protocol to help.

What if the sharing economy was about sharing and not profit?

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“Intangible feelings of community do not excite venture capitalists as much as profitable enterprises such as AirBnB, but that does not mean they lack value.” What if the sharing economy was really about sharing, and not at all about profit? And to that end…do you have a fruit tree in your neighborhood that always produces more fruit than anyone can use? Why not tag it on this site?

What do workers in the sharing economy have in common with domestic workers? They’re both on the cutting edge of defining what it means to work in the 21st century.

Looking for some ways that your city can promote local job growth through sharing economy solutions? It’s not all through the AirBnB model…

Journalists-do you have a story idea you want to pitch, but you’re not sure who to pitch to? Why not join Contributoria, and pitch for votes (and eventually, money), in this cooperatively organized online community.

Ed Mayo, the Secretary General for Coop UK, has some New Year’s resolutions for the co-op movement.

From Partners

The Sidney Hillman Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2014 Canadian Hillman Prize, for journalism in service to the common good.

Reputation, Reputation, Reputation

Imagine that you’re a union organizer who works with retail or fast food employees (for many of you, this won’t take much imagination). Now imagine that Wal-Mart or McDonald’s gets to have a giant database of recognized faces, and they use it to keep you out of their stores. I’m guessing that, if they get to write the rules on acceptable uses of facial recognition, this is going to end up as an acceptable use.

So you signed up for that OKCupid account, and then had regrets. This site will tell you how difficult it is to delete your online profile from just about any web service, and tell you how to diminish yourself online. (PS—this is what anonymous email accounts are for, kids.)

And by the way—you’re not worried about NSA spying because they’re only collecting metadata? These researchers figured out the owners of 73 of 100 random phone numbers by googling, or matching them through Facebook.

Geeking Out

Do you want to mix the concept of basic income with a digital currency? Check out this beta test of an app that does just that. Sorry Androiders, it’s iOS only as of now.

You probably know that Wal-Mart lets RV owners park in their lots overnight. But have you seen who actually stays?

What’s Going On in the Workforce?

Imagine every company had a formula for figuring out salaries for everyone who worked there—and published that on their website? The social media company Buffer just did it—the comments on this post are not to be missed.

The theories about why Google is investing in robotics companies are flying fast & furious—here’s one that seems highly credible to me. “They’re working on the last mile problem. I’m working on the last inch.”

More robot restaurants—this time, in New Zealand. Get your hamburgers via pneumatic tube.

You may have read that Zappos (the online shoe seller) recently decided to adopt a flat internal structure. Here’s another look at a way to run a company without titles.

Organizing Theory

Here’s another take on “The Unbundled Union,” this one by labor policy PhD student & blogger Doug Williams.

Final Thoughts

No big thoughts for this week…just a video. Made by a Safeway employee, who was losing his job, and thought, “what would it be like if Safeway was blown up by aliens? Or monsters? Or other random action movie special effects?”

“It’s Not OK That Your Employees Can’t Afford to Eat”

What’s Going on in the Workforce?

“It’s Not OK That Your Employees Can’t Afford to Eat” Seems basic, and yet the Harvard Business Review apparently needs to tell people this…

Prompted by the fast food strikes of early December, investing site NerdWallet took a look at how long it takes an hourly worker to earn the hourly pay of their CEO, and found that the typical retail employee would need to work OVERTIME for 2.65 months to earn what their CEO does in an hour.

$45 million will buy you a machine that can process 1500 chickens in an hour, which is 10X faster than doing it by hand. Trigger warning—watching this video might turn you into a vegetarian.

I don’t think they’ve figured out how to get the food to your table without a server yet, but here’s a video of the Chili’s “replace a waiter” tablet in action.

The question of whether humans will largely be replaced in the workforce by robots is one that is hotly debated by economists of our time. Here’s a quick video lesson on the economic debate about industrialization by contemporary & classical economists.

You’ve probably got a lot of things to worry about in the legislative arena. If you’ve got space in your brain for one more—here’s the a suggestion: start caring about open spectrum auctions.

Geeking Out

Wanna better way to crowd-source than Kickstarter? RocketHub claims that you’ll get the money that is raised, regardless of whether you meet your goal.

It’s an artificial eye, printed in 3D. I really don’t have anything more to say.

From Partners

The National Institute on Retirement Security has a new report out, documenting that people of color in the US are more likely to be severely challenged in preparing for retirement.

Save the date! The New Economics Institute is holding a gathering for folks working in/on the New Economy in Boston, June 6-8, 2014.

Next year’s US Worker Cooperative Conference will be in Chicago, May 30-June 1.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Software that aids in facial recognition has its upsides and downsides for sure. On one hand, it’s much easier for governments, corporations, and just plain creepy people to spy on us (or to attack us in public ways that are only possible with the web). On the other hand, it can be a tool to fight things like child labor. Want to avoid easy recognition by computers? Try some of these ideas for ‘face to anti-face.’ Looks like Lady Gaga might be on to something…

Organizing Theory

If you missed it live last week, check out this interesting discussion between Peter Murray of Accelerate Change & Dave Karpf, GWU professor, about different tactics for scaling social change.

The Singularity Approaches

This seems much more appealing to me than Google Glass (maybe because I’ve been struggling to figure out if you can even wear Glass, if you wear glasses)—hi rez displays for regular glasses.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“…approaches that really don’t even question the role of private capital in generating shared innovation – before and beyond the trend of the so-called “Sharing Economy” – only can offer simplistic interpretations.” If you want to read a great analysis of the tensions that are being created in the sharing economy by influxes of venture capital, look no further than this post by @meedabyte.

Do you have an idea for a sharing economy app? This new service wants to make it easy for you to bring that idea to fruition, even if you can’t code. (Though take it from me, folks, a technical co-founder can be a good thing!)

Now here’s a sharing economy idea I can get behind—Ikea Switzerland doesn’t want you to be alone at Christmas.

Final Thoughts
“You’ve probably heard of FICO scores, which serve as credit ratings in the United States. The company that created FICO scores–Fair Isaac Corporation–is now working on creating a Medication Adherence Score, which is exactly what the name suggests. The company won’t disclose the details behind the score, but it uses certain variables–such as how long a person has lived at one location and whether that person has owned a car–to measure the likelihood of taking proper medications. The current plan is to use this information to send vulnerable patients email reminders to take their medication, but of course such numbers usually evolve to serve multiple functions. Doctors will send away some of the very worse patients, in part to avoid wasting their time, in part to avoid the feeling of failure, and in part to protect their own performance ratings.”

Tyler Cowen, Average is Over

Don’t ship the beta…

Geeking Out

When I hear that Google is buying robotics companies, the first thing I wonder is…are they gonna ship the beta? Or should we demand that each one be programmed with the understanding “Don’t Be Evil?”

Will you ever be able to download and print a house? The folks at Wikihouse think you will.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Iceland’s government has announced that it will write off €24,000 of every household mortgage in the country, in order to boost household income. Shockingly, the world financial community considers this a bad plan.

Are you thinking about setting up a co-working space, or just renting out an empty desk in your office? Here are some best practices, from Shareable. And while you’re at it, why not kick down some coin for Shareable, so they can hire an organizer to build a Sharing Cities Network.

Are you interested in where the money that’s funding the sharing economy is coming from? You might wanna check out this new report from the Knight Foundation on the funding of civic tech…not great news for those of us who care more about improving voter technology than shared housing…but Ashton Kutcher fans, take heart—he is a source all his own, and he’s funding at a higher source than any foundation named.

There’s a real tension between the folks in the sharing economy who are interested in promoting sharing, and the ones who are simply interested in producing profits. Here’s one of the more profit-minded fellows. And here’s one of the more sharing-minded ones.

Here’s one from the anti-solidarity files. You may remember when Jack Welch famously wished he could put every GE plant on a barge, so he could float it to the country with the lowest standards? Well, what if we put all the 1% on a cruise ship. For life? You might note, they plan to build a school system.

From Partners

Will you be in Brussels next week? Fight austerity & free trade, by blocking the EU summit.

How do we develop more ways to finance the New Economy? Dollars & Sense looks at what’s going on, in the US and abroad.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

It’s funny to me how the same companies that are complaining about
government surveillance are perfectly happy with private sector surveillance. In related news, don’t turn on iBeacon when you’re in the Apple Store. If  you haven’t figured out yet whether you’re worried about either the government OR corporations having unlimited access to your data—this post from the ACLU might tip the scales.

This writer posits: what if local governments, who want to collect taxes on sharing economy industries like AirBnB & Uber also agreed to host review sites for local hotels & taxi services?

Organizing Theory

Want to do some in-depth reading and thinking about improving locally-based coops? Check out this new report from the UK.

And another new UK coop report—this time about how can we make local media work better?

The Singularity Approaches

Sure, car-sharing is nice. But what if you’d rather bike? Sometimes, you might need a little extra energy to get around—so robotocize your bike! And why not top that off with some gloves with turn signals on them? (I know those are going on my Christmas wish list next year).

Right now, digital piracy is a problem mostly for goods that are content-based—like movies and music. But in a world of plentiful 3D printers, will you be able to pirate everything?

What’s Going On in the Workforce?

We’ve shared a couple of articles about the increase of gaming & data mining by recruiters. Are those kinds of tools baking more inequality into the system?

Some say robots are causing it, others say it’s the decline in US workers’ bargaining power—these economists blame the decline in US income on the fact that freelancing & outsourcing has occurred in higher-payroll jobs.

You probably saw a lot about last week’s fast food strikes in your daily news clips—but did you know that Korean women held a strike against precarious work in the food service industry on November 29th?

Final Thoughts

If polarization happens first among the electorate, and only later in Congress, then voters are driving it, in which case it might merit another, better name: “representation.” If it happens first in Congress, and only later among voters, and especially if it’s a consequence of legislators answering to special interests and campaign contributors rather than to voters, polarization in some instances might be more aptly called “corruption.”

Jill Lepore, “Long Division” New Yorker, 12/2/13

Try the Mystery Meat…

Organizing Theory

Try the mystery meat. Want to engage young people in a campaign? Try asking them to upload photos of their school lunch…

Networked Labour is an effort that emerged from a conference in May 2013, to improve the online networking of the international labor community. In this blog post, they talk about the online tools they use to create community & exchange ideas.

Are you running a campaign where you need to find email addresses for many corporate executives? You might wanna talk to this guy.

Here’s a new book that offers how-tos for organizers in the building trades.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Ecuador is asking their citizens to help write a new law—about free & open software. Is open-sourcing the opposite of lobbyist-sourcing?

I’m pretty sure that talk of a Grand Unified Global Income Tax will bring the black helicopter-fearing crowd out of the woodwork. Still, from a policy perspective, this new paper is worth reading.

Do you want to make sure that your shopping habits line up with your activist beliefs? Try this app, the next time you’re at the grocery store. Or anywhere, really.

The Singularity Approaches

Do you know how to identify one paper shredder over another? Probably not. The systems at Google do, of course. The weird part is, no one really programmed them to do it. So how did it happen?

If you were hiding under a rock on Sunday night (or still in a tryptophan coma), you may have missed the announcement that Amazon wants to launch (pun intended) drones to deliver packages, as early as 2015. But is delivery dominance their real mission?

Reputation, reputation, reputation

If my life’s going to have a ‘personal dashboard,’ shouldn’t I be able to monetize myself in some way? And no, I’m not talking about Klout Perks. If you’re a programmer, you can have keep your data private—I’m not sure how an amateur user would.

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that I think Snapchat is the devil. Need more evidence? Turns out those naked selfies don’t really get erased from your phone…

From Partners

ICYMI, TechPresident had a great write-up on coworker.org last week.

LabourStart is holding their annual conference in Berlin, next May. I’ll be kickstarter-ing a ticket any day now…

Geeking Out

Worried that you’re going to regret that drunken tattoo? Try programmable e-ink under your skin, instead.

What’s Going on in the Workforce?

If there’s one thing I wish that people in the economic justice movement would learn from tech folks, it’s how to work asynchronously & in different places, using technology.

Organizing security guards? Say hello to the $6.25/hour robot night watchman.

Is globalization causing a decline in labor standards? These academic researchers say yes. (Non-paywalled, earlier version here.)

Is Silicon Valley really that different from the rest of corporate America? Claims of meritocracy notwithstanding, it looks amazingly similar to the Fortune 500…