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Stacy Mitchell @stacyfmitchell
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Part of the “efficiency” that giant companies achieve comes from establishing systems that prevent managers from dealing with their staff as humans.
Amazon is a good example. This warehouse manager talks about how the company’s monitoring systems have automatic triggers for firing someone who’s inactive for a certain number of minutes. 2/…
The manager might know that there are extenuating circumstances, but s/he has no discretion. “It was really difficult for me because the firings were automatic in the system in general, and I had no control over helping out associates.” 3/
Walmart does much the same. It frequently rotates store managers to new locations so they don’t start bonding with employees or with the community… 4/
… because human relationships can impede and complicate the extraction of wealth. 5/
Walmart also sets hard-and-fast caps on payroll so that store managers are forced to compel people to work off-the-clock. Walmart doesn’t condone wage theft, mind you, it just sets up a system that makes it impossible for store managers not to engage in it. 6/
In retail, it’s hard to think of a company at a big scale, aside from Costco maybe, that doesn’t take advantage of people in part by replacing human judgement with systems that have a brutal adherence to the bottom line. 7/
Obviously there are bad, abusive small businesses. But there’s also evidence that, when decision-making is at a human level, it’s more humane, broadly speaking. 8/
Small business, for example, are much more reluctant to lay people off when a recession hits. It’s hard for most people to take away the livelihood of someone they know. 9/…
To be clear, there are bad small businesses. I’ve worked for them. We need strong labor law for sure. 10/
But we should also think seriously about how to structure the economy so that human dignity isn’t such an uphill fight that we’re always losing. 11/
That means rethinking our love affair with scale and “efficiency.” It means thinking about the advantages of an economy in which more of our transactional relationships are embedded in other kinds of relationships – those of neighbors, fellow citizens, human beings. 12/
Otherwise, we’re looking at a future in which many people’s lives are going to be ruled by Amazon’s AI and its unsparing zeal for building a more perfect system of centralizing wealth and power. 13/13
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