Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Technology, Work and Life

Doctors' Journal Says Computing Is No Panacea
"These systems force people to wrap themselves around the technology like a pretzel instead of making sure the technology is responsive to the people doing the work," said Ross J. Koppel, the principal author of the medical journal's article on the weaknesses of computerized systems for ordering drugs and tests. Dr. Koppel is a sociologist and researcher at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
How can we develop systems that integrate technology and healthcare?

Employees at Electronic Arts to receive overtime pay instead of stock options
Electronic Arts said that if workers began demanding too much, the company would be forced to find new sources of labor, possibly outside California or even across the nation's borders, where labor costs are lower. Already, more than half of Electronic Arts' 5,800 employees are outside the United States, including 1,700 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Looks like the employees are screwed long-term. One response is
The threat of sending jobs overseas is one reason that workers need to start thinking about organizing into unions, said Marcus Courtney, the founder of WashTech, a Washington State-based union that is trying to organize technology workers.
But this could be a short-term and crippling solution. As an example, see how the unionized grocery store retailers and airlines are doing. If people are demanding cheap video games and they are demanding them at low prices, how can EA afford to pay its workers what it should and still be able to sustain itself? Greed is one thing, but if all its competitors are offshoring (consider that 80% of footwear sold in the U.S. comes from China), how can EA continue? Going back to the source of the problem, its consumers and shareholders who are demanding these actions by voting with their feet. By demanding better products at cheaper prices and easily switching to other products. By demanding short-term performance and more and more profits. But a consumer is a shareholder is an employee.

An interview with one of the many Korean-Americans who makes the all-night deli a reality


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