Page 33 Free Labor P R O D U C I N G C U LT U R E F O R T H E D I G I TA L E C O N O M Y The real not-capital is labor. âKarl Marx, Grundrisse Tiziana Terranova Working in the digital media industry is not as much fun as it is made out to be. The âNetSlavesâ of the eponymous Webzine are becoming increasingly vociferous about the shamelessly exploitative nature of the job, its punishing work rhythms, and its ruthless casualization (www.disobey.com/netslaves). They talk about â24â7 electronic sweatshopsâ and complain about the ninety-hour weeks and the âmoronic management of new media companies.â In early 1999, seven of the ï¬fteen thousand âvolunteersâ of America Online (AOL) rocked the info-loveboat by asking the Department of Labor to investigate whether AOL owes them back wages for the years of playing chathosts for free.1 They used to work long hours and love it; now they are starting to feel the pain of being burned by digital media. These events point to a necessary backlash against the glamorization of digital labor, which highlights its continuities with the modern sweatshop and points to
Social Text – Duke University Press
Published: Jun 1, 2000
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