OT (slightly) Revenge of the Nerds - sort of...

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

just heard on NPR yesterday about a book by an author whom I believe was "Revlin"???, the subject of which discusses the 'taking down' of the [US?, world?] infrastructure by 'engineers who are disgruntled at their masters'; [interesting scenario...]

an interviewee suggested that Silicon Valley is already in this new paradigm; i.e., that the nerds ARE in charge, rather than the VC's, managers and CEO's

fits in with discussions held many moons ago about whether Toshiba and other off-shore chip fabs might be building-in hard-wired trojan horses for a coordinated time [i.e. Y2K] to take down the US economy and political infrastructure. [the land of the rising sun to rise again?]

...just asking(!), have no views as yet...

any further information anyone can provide regarding the book et al, would be appreciated


-- Perry Arnett (pjarnett@pdqnet.net), November 02, 1999



Didn't catch the NPR program, so this is a guess. Is this the guy you're looking for? This isn't a brand new book.

link: http://www.scientistlifeboat.com/c-endwrk.htm

The End of Work The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era by Jeremy Rifkin G.P.Putnam's Sons, New York(1995, 350 pp.,hardback)


The author's main theme is how automation and corporate reorganizations and downsizings have taken jobs away from skilled workers and unskilled workers over many decades beginning in the times of the industrial revolution. The number of these jobs is quite large and the only thing that offsets this change is the introduction of new jobs by the new technologies. However, the author does not attempt to compare the rate of new job production with the loss of old jobs.

There has been some attempt to point out that many of the new jobs being created are part-time and that these are lumped in wth new full- time jobs, thus making the picture look better than it really is. The author does point out that many if not most of the people who are displaced by the loss of their old jobs will not have or will not be able to secure new work. This will perpetuate an underclass.

All or almost all figures given are documented with references, mostly to the media and original sources in the media. Much of the book's message goes into background material, including how marketing and advertising manipulates the psychology of want, desire, and satisfaction in target audiences, the role of organized labor in controling job security and how this affects corporation profits. This includes politics and legislation, the role of the military in our economy, the development of management "science" as well as how computing machinery has taken over many jobs.

Selected facts, quotes, and references:

p.11- In 1993, about 13 percent of the workforce was unemployed or underemployed (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, 1993).

p. 18 - Workers displaced by new technology remained unemployed longer and when they did find work, it was at a lower wage level (WSJ, Sept 3, 1993).

p. 36 - "A 1993 study by the Department of Labor found that less than 20 percent of those who were retrained under federal programs for dislocated workers were able to find new jobs paying at least 80 percent of their former salary."

p.37- "Currently one out of every three adults in the United States is functionally, marginally, or completely illiterate."

p. 66 - Human labor is discredited as useful since machines are not subject to human limitations; thus they can work around the clock, never feel hunger or fatigue, always satisfied with working conditions, never get sick, and never demand higer wages.Cause less trouble, and can be rigged to ring an alarm bell if they are not working propertly.

The book generally presents the notion that fewer jobs are created by automation than are lost.

p. 71 - Mechanisation hurt African-Americans on cotton farms. "In 1949 only 6 percent of the cotton in the South was harvested mechanically; by 1964, it was 78 percent. Eight years later, 100 percent of the cotton was picked by machines."

p. 85 - In David Noble's book "The Forces of Production" (Knopf, New York, 1984), unions for the most part gave in to management on automation issues.

p.144 - The nation's banking and insurance industries are making the transition to the Third Industrial revolution by mergers, automation, and process simplification. The number of banks are expected to decline by a quarter by the year 2000, and more than 20% of bank employees will lose their jobs.

p. 140 - Computerized systems now scan resumes (Resumex Inc., is a California- based company dealing with this) and use a logic process to compare applicant to job category.


The rest of the book deals with speculations on social ills coming from the above ends of works, implications for changing the length of the work week (to shorter weeks with a smaller number of working hours), politics, and a possible or partial solution through the use of volunteerism and the growth of non-profit organizations which the author calls "The Third Sector" (The other two sectors being government and private). The author invents "negative" taxes as a mechanism for what he calls "shaddow income." Unfortunately, this solution to the problem is unfocused and not very credible.


Acknowledgement, Forward by Robert L.Heilbroner, Introduction

Part I: The Two Faces of Technology

1. The End of Work 2. Trickle-down Technology and Market Realities 3. Visions of Techno-Paradise

Part II: The Third Industrial Revolution

4. Crossing into the High-Tech Frontier 5. Technology and the African-American Experience 6. The Great Automation Debate 7. Post-Fordism

Part III: The Decline of the Global Labor Force

8. No more Farmers 9. Hanging up the Blue Collar 10. The Last Service Worker

Part IV: The Price of Progress

11. High-Tech Winners and Losers 12.Requiem for the Working Class 13.The Fate of Nations 14. A More Dangerous World

Part V: The Dawn of the Post-Market Era

15. Re-engineering the Work Week 16. A New Social Contract 17. Empowering the Third Sector 18. Globalizing the Social Economy

Postscript, Notes, Bibliography, Index

-- silver ion (ag3@interlog.com), November 02, 1999.

Okay, blame Y2K on the techies. We have to blame someone...

-- Mara (MaraWayne@aol.com), November 02, 1999.

That chip thing seems quite feasible. Design two chips, apparently identical. One functions normally; one has some mischevious code designed in. Mark them identically as to part number, distinguishing one class from the other by only the serial numbers or some esoteric marking printed on them.

Ship the mischevious ones to the world in general, and use only the good ones for your own stuff.

As opposed to the days of the vacuum tube and discrete components, no one knows what's inside of a chip. For example, it was discovered by the general public only several months after the fact that the new Intel Pentium III processor chips have unique serial numbers embedded in the "hardwired" code of each chip. This code could be queried and serve to identify a particular machine as the source of "unpatriotic" or otherwise unapproved e-mail and documents.

One more thing to worry about, eh?

-- A (A@AisA.com), November 02, 1999.

Silver :

thanks a bunch!; I think that is the book;

the NPR blurb, however, dealt more with the scenario I reported;

did any others hear that broadcast? text source?


I agree, exactly!

some Asians have not forgotten WWII and our role in it;

some Asian consortia are created, managed and run for reasons vastly different from those that we might...

while we 'compete', they 'cooperate'...

question is : to what end? ? ?

======== A IS A; a thing IS itself!

Thanks, folks!

-- Perry Arnett (pjarnett@pdqnet.net), November 02, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ