davis and mizruchi on “corporations and capitalism”

The newest issue of the Economic Sociology section newsletter Accounts was just published. The first piece in the issue is a conversation Mark Mizruchi and Jerry Davis about their research on corporate political power and the contemporary capitalism. Unsurprisingly, it’s simultaneously provocative and hilarious. Here’s a snippet:

Mark: You just gave a good example of why democratic management might not be the way to go.

Jerry: Oh, really?

Mark: Yeah, the problem is, if you’re going to run a company democratically you have to spend 20% of your time in meetings.

Jerry: Okay, some of that 20% is HabermasticationTM. Sometimes meetings are worthwhile because you’re sharing information and figuring things out, but sometimes meetings are a waste of time. Some decisions could be more efficient because we have the technology to be more democratic and local than we used to (say, using a voting app). The alternative less-democratic version of that is let’s say Uber, where you use the same technology to create a class of Student Loan Activated Volatile Employment… it’ s an acronym.

Mark: …Slave.

Jerry: Yes. In Ann Arbor there must be 5, 000 people driving for Uber this second who are recent sociology undergraduates, who have discovered that they are unemployable but they have to repay their student loans. That’s the digital immiseration version of this technology.

Check it out!

Author: Dan Hirschman

I am a sociologist interested in the use of numbers in organizations, markets, and policy. For more info, see here.

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