Thursday, January 12, 2012
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Bunche Hall 11377
Working for Nothing: The Latest Fast-Growth Sector
Presented by Andrew Ross, New York University
About the Speaker:
Andrew Ross is a Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU. A contributor to theNation, the Village Voice, and Artforum, he is the author of many books, including Nice Work if You Can Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times, Fast Boat to China--Lessons from Shanghai, Low Pay, High Profile: The Global Push for Fair Labor, No-Collar: The Humane Workplaceand its Hidden Costs, and The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney’s New Town. He has also edited several collections, including No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade, and the Rights of Garment Workers, and The University Against Itself: The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace.His most recent book is Bird On Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City.
Corporate profits have never been higher, at a time when the real unemployment has soared. Have bosses learned how to get by without workers? Not really, but the evidence suggests a growing reliance on new kinds of free labor to boost the balance sheet of companies that are canny enough to harvest it. Free, or token-wage, labor is increasingly available though a variety of channels: crowdsourcing, data-mining, prosumerism, or other sophisticated digital techniques for extracting rents from user/participants; expanded prison labor programs; the explosion of unpaid near-obligatory internships in every white-collar sector; and the whole gamut of contestant volunteering that has transformed so much of our commerce in culture into an amateur talent show, with jackpot stakes for a few winners and hard-luck schwag for everyone else.
This event is co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of Sociology