Surveil Me? Surveil You, Sir.

I was reading an article on alternet today about workplace surveillance. The article depicts the increasingly sophisticated ways there are — mining data on everything from your keystrokes, the length of time during which you’re not telemarketing, your social behavior, to even the location and speed of your tractor — to, effectively, monitor and dehumanize Employee You in the name of “more.”

This might be a fine short-term strategy for “growth” in conventional economic terms. Probably a mighty fine strategy for the ownership class if it considers you dispensable or doesn’t consider you at all.

But certain of the impacts for individual workers should be evident or at least presumable. And what are the long term consequences of treating people this way at work? What are the long term consequences of this type of profiteer vs employee class warfare? To my mind, this is another example of something, like depleting topsoil and draining aquifers, which may actually contribute to economic growth (as currently defined) but for which the broader consequences are insidious. (Regrettably, murdering people with drones is arguably in this category as well, but that’s a subject for another day.)

At some point, the true effects of the growth-worship culture become apparent, whatever our daily impressions and distractions may be. Like yeast in alcohol or a virus in a host, we are not biologically well equipped to collectively control ourselves in the face of more. But with 7Billion people on the planet and atmospheric CO2 pushing 400ppm, do we have an alternative but to try? (And, yes, I absolutely do think someone monitoring how long you take a leak has something to do with the environment.)