The Electronic Sweatshop: How Computers Are Transforming the Office of the Future Into the Factory of the Past

Barbara Garson, Author
Barbara Garson, Author Simon & Schuster $17.45 (288p) ISBN 978-0-671-53049-5
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Playwright (McBird) and author of a 1970s classic analyzing life on industrial assembly lines (All the Livelong Day), Garson here tells in lively interviews and commentary how today's ""hierarchical'' electronic programming debases and spies upon the rapidly diminishing number of job-holders still producing goods and services. ``Thinking slows this operation down,'' says a McDonald's manager referring to the burger-maker's strictly computerized work rules. At a state welfare agency the author visited, human case-counseling is giving way to an employee-grading time-frame point system soon to be computerized: ``add a baby .3''; ``issue burial expenses .7.'' Airlines time-record their telephone booking agents, stockbrokers give electronic push-button financial advice and secretaries become all-day word processors whose output is automatically recorded. Human judgment occasionally thwarts the system or defuses a glitch, notes Garson, who quotes a high-ranking Pentagon source: ``Who knows how many times we've been saved by men who decided not to follow a computerized command?'' (May)
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