information economy sweat shop

I have been marking exams for a course on the sociology of new media. As I sit, reading through variations on the same answer to the same questions 53 times, I reflect on my role in this (exam garbled) information economy. I have come to the conclusion that I am a knowledge sweat shop laborer. If I am lucky, I will be paid the equivalent of the minimum wage for my efforts. The key commodity in this new economic framework is information, and the most important skill is the ability to act upon and manipulate this information. Universities mass produce degrees that (apparently) certify to this ability, corporate style. Basic labor is outsourced to under unionised piece workers who lack the commonality of a workplace to organise and who are too afraid of losing this thread of an existence to do so anyway. I wonder how long it will be before Australian universities figure out that they should send the online courses and marking offshore to their recent graduates who back home in South-East Asia can now be paid in their own currency, ie much less than the Australian minimum wage. A perfect system – bring them in, milk them dry, then send them home so that you can underpay them…

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