(en) what's new!!

David Fingrut (hermes3@tao.ca)
Thu, 31 Jul 1997 21:05:31 -0400 (EDT)


A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

What's New on Corporate Watch <http://www.corpwatch.org>

as of July 30, 1997

INTERNET'S FUTURE <http://www.corpwatch.org/internet/internet.html>

Staying Alive: Labor in the Global Information Economy

This Internet's Future brings together local and international perspectives on corporate globalization in the information economy, and its destructive impact on working people around the world. We also provide links to sites of labor activism on the Internet. (See Editorial Below)

ACTION ALERTS <http://www.corpwatch.org/corner/alert/>

* Send a FREE Fax to the Clinton Administration Telling the President Not to Sell-Out Our Public Health on the Tobacco Settlement!!

* UFW and AFL-CIO Call for Action on Driscoll Strawberries, A message from The Strawberry Workers Campaign, a project of the UFW and AFL-CIO

* Stop the Microsoft Monopoly!!, Join NetAction in a Visit to Congress on September 15

NEWS <http://www.corpwatch.org/corner/worldnews/other/>

* USA: Scrapping of Tobacco Accord Is Urged by Kessler and Koop, Reprinted with permission of the New York Times, July 30, 1997.

* USA: Sacred Waters: Life-Blood of Mother Earth Four Case Studies of High-Tech Water Exploitation and Corporate Welfare in the Southwest

SPECIAL NOTE: The Corporate Watch Production Schedule has been drastically scaled back for the summer season. We will continue with our full production schedule, which will include out next feature on Sweatshops, in September.

Internet's Future <http://www.corpwatch.org/internet/internet.html>

Staying Alive: Labor in the Global Information Economy

The World Bank has suggested the idea of using labour in Africa to monitor the Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) camera systems in American shopping malls. A spokesman said recently 'there is potential for African countries to come into the global economy through these types of technologies.'

- Stephen Graham and Simon Marvin, Telecommunications and the City: Electronic Spaces, Urban Places, (Routledge), 1996.

Like the logging road, the information superhighways are being built not because we in the village need them, nor because we asked for them. They are being built because they are needed by the equivalent of logging concessionaires, who have staked huge prior claims over wide tracts of forests they want to harvest.

- Roberto Verzola, "Towards a Political Economy of Information," Nov 1995.

Corporations increasingly use telecommunications networks to facilitate global business operations. The distributed corporate model, far from emulating the non-hierarchical structure of the Internet, is resulting in increased centralization of corporate power. By decoupling corporate headquarters and the majority of the workforce from the same physical location, transnational corporations are able to take advantage of the lowest wages, lax labor and environmental laws, and the finest government handouts in the world. Decentralization also enables corporations to quickly shed workers and worksites as profit opportunities arise elsewhere.

Telecommunications technologies thus facilitate a process of globalization that places profits above all. Additional corporate strategies in the information technologies sector include outsourcing jobs to contract companies that pay lower wages and provide no benefits to their workers, and bodyshopping -- the importation of skilled workers, who can be paid lower wages due to their dependence on employers to justify their visas.

For working people in the information economy, this is another way of saying we're a "just-in-time" resource. Corporations reap the benefit of our labor, but increasingly avoid the responsibilities: sustainable wages, health, retraining. Workers are expected to pay the price for the ebbs and flows in the market -- with the absolute lack of job security.

During the industrial revolution, workers in the North fought for, and won rights that defined the employment paradigm. Even as employee rights are eroding, workers are once again finding ways to fight corporate greed on an increasingly global scale. The strategies are at once rooted in local communities, and networked for global solidarity and action. Some workers are successfully using the Internet to facilitate cyberpickets and other actions, to widely publish news of struggles that are excluded from traditional news media, and to build solidarity across borders.

This Internet's Future brings together local and international perspectives on corporate globalization in the information economy, and its destructive impact on working people around the world. We also provide links to sites of labor activism on the Internet. While these perspectives are focussed on high-tech industries and telecommunications tools, the issues and practices that they reveal are applicable much more broadly. Collectively, these documents point to the battles that face working people in the global information economy, and to ways that the labor movement is successfully defining justice for workers on the brink of the 21st century.

- Anna Couey for the Corporate Watch Editorial Board

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