Conditions and Effects of the Evolving Electronic Economy on Labor

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Conditions and Effects of the Evolving Electronic Economy on Labor “But I think what surprised me as much as anything was not to find any stores on Washington Street, or any banks on State. What have you done with the merchants and bankers? Hung them all, perhaps, as the anarchists wanted to do in my day?” “Not so bad as that,” replied Dr. Leete. “We have simply dispensed with them. Their functions are obsolete in the modern world.” (60) Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, 1887 Edward Bellamy’s futuristic conception of commerce in the 21st century unintentionally created a surprisingly accurate representation of the emerging electronic economy. The use of computer technology and the internet is allowing the creation of greater corporate profit margins at the expense of labor. There is a clear march towards “seamless” electronic transactions that removes many established forms of traditional marketing and employment that have existed for centuries. Funded by corporations, government, and ironically by consumers themselves, the evolving wireless economy promises to accelerate consumption at a blistering pace with little thought about the need for labor to have viable forms of income to sustain consumption. We are on the threshold of establishing global economic methods of manufacturing and distribution promoted by a capitalistic quest for profit that has not considered the far-reaching implications of dissolving existing methods of commerce or consequences of increased production. Capitalists have grandiose plans for increasing production and consumption at the expense of labor, but few plans for sustaining income for labor to support consumption. They have neglected to recognize or plan for the inherent flaws of capitalism that will have a tremendous effect on our future system of economy and society. At this time, we can only postulate theories about the outcome of our transformation to a digital, global economy. The indicators, however, predict a continuation of trends that do not portray favorable situations for labor or to support a cohesive society. In his book Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy astutely envisioned future methods of transactions that are increasingly becoming our reality, and his description of contrast between old and new world commerce could not have been more clear: “That must be a tremendous saving of handling,” I said. “... ... middle of paper ... ... Atkinson, Robert. The New Economy Index, Understanding America’s Economic Transformation. Washington, D.C.: Progressive Policy Institute Technology, Innovation, and the New Economy Project, 1998 Bellamy, Edward. Looking Backward 2000-1887. New York: Random House, 1982 Braverman, Harry. Labor and Monopoly Capital, The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1998 Byrnes, Nanette. Internet Anxiety: Part in envy, part in fear, Corporate America is embracing a radically new business model. Business Week. June 29, 1999 Fiore, Frank. e-Marketing Strategies. Indiana: Que Publishing Company, 2001 Hanson, Ward. Principles of Internet Marketing. Ohio: South Western College Publishing, 2000 Hoque, Faisal. e-Enterprise. Business Models, Architecture and Components. Cambridge: University Press, 2000. Press, Associated. Does Tax Plan Repeat History? Sonora: The Union Democrat, March 12, 2001 Rosner, Bob. Getting Laid Off Isn’t The End of the World. San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 2001 Stricker, Frank. Causes of the Great Depression, or What Regan Doesn’t Know About the 1920s. Dominguez Hills: California State University, 2000

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