No Time to Lose: A Search for Work / Life Balance

Everything is related… by notimetolose
July 21, 2010, 10:16 am
Filed under: news articles | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Foxconn suicides highlight China’s sweatshop conditions
By John Chan, 3 June 2010, World Socialist Web Site (

Thirteen suicide attempts since January, half of them during May, inside Foxconn’s huge plant at Shenzhen, a major manufacturing hub in southern China, underscore the brutal exploitation of Chinese workers by the world’s largest corporations. Ten workers have died, most of them just 18 to 24 years old. In the latest tragedy, a young man slashed his wrists in one of the factory’s dormitory last week.

Taiwanese-owned Foxconn is the world’s biggest electronics outsourcing manufacturer, operating 20 plants and employing more than 800,000 workers in China. The Shenzhen plant in Guangdong province houses 400,000 workers, making products from iPhones and iPads to PlayStations for international brands like Apple, Sony, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Analysts estimate that about 70 percent of Apple’s products are manufactured there.

Most of the 13 workers who tried to kill themselves jumped from buildings because they were unable to bear the stress, alienation and humiliation they experience daily. They come from a second generation of migrant workers who, unlike their rural parents, have much higher expectations of urban life. They have access to the Internet and mobile phones and constantly see the vast new wealth that they help to create, but do not own.

Like other exporting companies, Foxconn’s basic monthly wage of 950 yuan ($US140) is in line with Shenzhen’s official minimum wage. Employees must work hours of overtime each day to make about 2,000 yuan to meet basic needs. Their harsh experiences go well beyond low wages. Foxconn recruits must undergo a course of “military training” to prepare them for the company’s industrial discipline.

Foxconn’s military-style regime, which is typical of export factories in China, requires workers to live in dormitories with up to 10 people a room. A single dormitory houses 5,000 workers, and there are many dozens of them. Workers are only allowed to enter their own rooms with electronic badges and are not allowed to cook, or have visitors or sexual relations. The dorms have no air conditioning in order to pressure workers to do extra overtime during the summer, as there is air conditioning on the factory floor.

Read the full article here:

Every day the same dream by Molleindustria, by notimetolose

Every day the same dream — you are late for work

A short existential game about alienation and refusal of labour. Or, if you prefer, a playable music video. Created by Molleindustria, an entity that aims to reappropriate video games as a popular form of mass communication. Their objective is to investigate the persuasive potentials of the medium by subverting mainstream video gaming clichè (and possibly have fun in the process).

Check it out here:

Andrew Ross: On the Digital Labor Question by notimetolose
October 23, 2009, 1:31 pm
Filed under: ideas | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thanks Monika!

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Transcribed from a lecture presented at The New School on October 9,  2009, sociologist Andrew Ross weighs the gains of a digital paradigm  in terms of labor.  On the one hand, active, digitally-networked  societies offer information-rich public goods that can bolster  creativity and politically progressive organizing.  However, the
virtue of ‘openness’ uncritically extolled by technolibertarians must  be considered against its sacrificial costs—the loss of rights for  creative producers who are tempted by the prospect of aesthetic  recognition, the outsourcing of labor to unsustainable workplace  conditions, the corporate monetization of social participation on the  web, and the transference of labor from manufacturers to consumers  that help create a paradigm of perennial work without rest. Ross’  insight considers a range of perspectives that implicate a vertically  and horizontally stratified megalopolis such as New York City.

Read the lecture here:

New delicious bookmarks added by notimetolose
September 26, 2009, 12:31 pm
Filed under: ideas, news articles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A recent flurry of great blog suggestions have arrived from Monika, Abby, and electronic news lists at large. Rather than post each separately (the ongoing plight of overwork is driving me nuts!), I am summarizing the links here. All can be found at, as well…

“The Long Work Hours Culture”

Julia Bryan-Wilson, Art Workers. Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era, October 2009

The Vera List Centre for Art and Politics
Panel Discussion & Art Installation: Changing Labor Value
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

But, oh my… the one from Abby on Family360 sounds especailly wacky!! I think I will post it separately… asap.  :Shudder!:

BlackBerrys ‘adding 15 hours’ to working week by notimetolose
September 20, 2009, 3:37 pm
Filed under: news articles | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thanks for sending this along, Monika!

BlackBerrys ‘adding 15 hours’ to working week
Alan Jones, Press Association, Sunday 23 August 2009 19.23 BST
Reposted from:

Staff with mobile technology such as BlackBerrys work an extra 15 hours a week as they constantly check emails even when out of the office, new research found today. A survey of more than 600 employees revealed many were turning into workaholics because of the ability to receive and send messages and work online even when they were at home. The employment law firm Peninsula said the working week was being extended to about 55 hours for many people and urged employers to make sure their staff were not breaching working time regulations. PA

• This article was amended on Tuesday 25 August 2009. We said the working day was being extended to about 55 hours for many people; we meant the working week. This has been corrected.

Science Matters: Fast-forwarding through the hyper-real by notimetolose
March 14, 2008, 11:04 am
Filed under: environmentalism, news articles | Tags: , , , ,

Reposted from an email sent by the David Suzuki Foundation, March 14, 2008

Dear Friend:

Here’s your weekly Science Matters column by David Suzuki with Faisal Moola.

Last month, I attended a talk by former-UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair. I don’t agree with him on everything but he is an excellent speaker – animated, articulate, and thoughtful. After his talk, he answered questions thrown at him by former-New Brunswick Premier, Frank McKenna.

Mr. Blair delivered very insightful answers, as befitting a former political leader. But what impressed me the most was that he often took a few seconds before responding. And he occasionally paused to think during his responses. He didn’t deliver instant twenty second sound bytes that the media love. Instead, Mr. Blair considered each question seriously and answered appropriately.

It was a refreshing departure from the rapid-fire delivery we’ve grown accustomed to over the years. But perhaps it’s time we revisit this obsession with speed. Never before has there been a greater need for some heavy thinking before action.

We live in a time when we are assaulted by a cacophony of demands for attention. I watch my children navigate as they effortlessly download pop songs, watch snippets on YouTube, check out their friends on Facebook, tune in to missed university class lectures and chat away via the computer. Convenience, immediacy and brevity are striking features in this brave new world.

It also extends to their choices in entertainment. Young people spend hours amusing themselves with Playstations, Xboxes, and Wii video game consoles. In this electronic virtual world, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between recordings of actual events and computer-generated images.

As players manipulate controls to “kick” an onscreen football or wage war against alien invaders, their shouts and body contortions suggest they are experiencing the heart thumping adrenalin rush of the real thing.

I think the experience these electronic games offer is even better than the real thing. In the virtual world, one can have the kinkiest sex without contracting sexually transmitted diseases, lose a gunfight and live to fight again, crash a car during a race and return in a brand new vehicle.

Television is no different. Programs also enhance reality by using a soundtrack to cue a specific emotion, or a sound effect to add some sparkle to a punch between stuntmen.

Of course, I’m describing fictional programs like action shows, sitcoms, and dramas that are meant to entertain. It had always been my conceit that the programs we did on The Nature of Things would present the wonders of nature so that people would fall in love with the rest of creation. But now I realize that in many ways, we too present a virtual world that is better than the real thing.

Let me take you behind the curtain for a moment: The producer or host of a segment on, say, Arctic polar bears, doesn’t spend months filming footage. We send a cameraman to gather as many fantastic shots as possible – a bear capturing a seal, two males fighting, a family breaking out of its icy den, etc. Once the filming is done, these sequences are edited together into a film that gives the impression that the Arctic is a flurry of activity. But that’s because we’ve edited out the most important aspect of this ecosystem: Time.

Nature needs time to reveal her secrets. And nature needs time to cleanse, replenish and renew herself. The Arctic. The Great Bear Rainforest. The Sahara Desert. The Amazon. The Great Barrier Reef. The Grand Canyon. All of these regions and ecosystems are unique because of the way biological diversity, wind, soil, water, and time have worked together for centuries.

But in television, we present a version of nature on steroids, a world full of adrenalin jolts per minute.

This is symptomatic of how much society has speeded up in our search for thrills. Nowadays, we expect everything to be instant and abundant. Without a sense of the important role that time plays in nature, humans expect the natural world to yield more, faster.

We look to our genetic engineers to breed bigger, faster growing trees, fish and grains which will enable us to carry on with practices that denude the mountains, empty the oceans and fill the atmosphere with planet-warming molecules. Without considering the role of time, we miss a crucial ingredient that has made these things what they are in the first place.

It’s time we reconsider the role of time in our decisions and our technologies. Maybe we all need to slow down, take time to read, think, exchange ideas and deliberate questions of who we are, where we come from, where we are heading and what life is all about. If not now, when?