For the most part I will have to say I agree with the Global worker section of Nick Dyer-Witherford’s essay, “Digital labor, species-becoming and the global worker”. He discusses how capitalism is the driving force of the new global worker that is shaping the world’s workforce. He characterizes them in five ways;
- Internationalized by world-scale expansion of capital
- Increasingly complex division of labor
- Universal inclusion of women
- Connected via multiple stratified and digital communication systems
- Surplus of unemployed to be accessible for new jobs
In recent years the capitalist markets have been expanding to every country it can. Although this has lead to success and improved living conditions, it is built on the abilities of the global workers. Depending on the value chain, work, people or both will be shipped to different parts of the world in order to reduce costs. On top of that these workers are becoming less specialized, needing the ability to complete multiple lines of work as their employers see fit. There has also been an increase need of labor, to the point that women are needed in the global workforce. This expansion of labor was only possible by cultural acceptance and the promotion of feminism in work. In order to accomplish such a feat as an international value chains, an improvement in our communication systems was vital. Fortunately enough both cell phones and the internet have been created and scaled roughly the same time, allowing international value chains to run smoothly. Unfortunately though, one of the negative side effects of the international value chain is that there is an increased unemployment rate which is the result of never ending changes in labor. Although the Global Worker has brought many improvements to our world, it does not come without its consequences.
As i think about it more there are a few notable similarities between “Neuromancer” and “Pickup on South Street”.
One of those similarities is that both the main characters, Case and Skip, work within their field of expertise to manipulate the situations they are in to benefit themselves the best they can. In “Neuromancer”, Case is a hacker that manipulates technology to his will in order to get the information and results that benefit him the most. In “Pickup on South Street”, Skip is an expert pick-pocket who can steal valuable information in which he tries to negotiate the highest price from the FBI and the Russians.
Another similarity is that the plot of each is that they are made up a series of plots that converge on one entity. Many of the character in both stories have their own plot and motive that is mentioned throughout the story, but it is the main object (Wintermute in “Neuromancer” and the film in “Pickup on South Street”) that compel everyone to drive the main narrative forward.
From these similarities, we can view both “Neuromancer” and “Pickup on South Street” in a new way that would have been difficult to visualize without one another
“Two particular sorts of tropes inform the narrative’s manipulation of technology. The first is an SF topos, a pattern of topological displacement common since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818): a neat reversal of the natural/ artificial opposition. In Neuromancer all the natrual/artificial images are reversed from their conventional priority: techne now precedes physis” (Neil Easterbrook, “The Arc of Our Destruction: reversal and Erasure in Cyberpunk SFStudies Vol. 19 (1992))
I agree with this statement about Neuromancer, that technology and all things artificial are more desirable and “natural” then the physical and natural biological world itself. Most people in the book have at least modified or replaced a part of their body with something artificial. This is highlighted by the protagonist Case’s perspective. He dislikes everything that is “meat” and wishes to stay in the artificial world of computers. He prefers their geometric and systematic perfection rather than places like Zion where they focus on appreciating the natural world. He smells cut grass for the first time and dislikes it, he refers to people as meat, and he make us believe his motive in this story is his attempt to leave the “meaty world”. Throughout the book there is always a boisterous description when talking about technology, on the other hand when the book talks about natural things it takes a more distasteful tone. Over all I do agree that Neuromancer tries to hammer down the idea that “techne now precedes physis” in the cyberpunk world.
Besides the obvious statement that Case is a “Console Cowboy” or hacker, the hacker mentality is prolific in Necromancer. From McKenzie Wark’s, A Hacker Manifesto (2004), the main purpose for a hacker is to enjoy their work and to bring benefit to themselves and to their peers. For Case, hacking is his joy and life is not worth living without it. After having his nervous system damaged by neuro-toxins, Case was living a lowly life of a hustler. He would take drugs and do shady deals to get on by. One day he is offered to get his life back; Case will have his nervous system repaired so he can help Armitage complete some hacking jobs. When Case enters the internet after his surgery, he cries tears of joy. On his first mission he works without eating or sleeping for days on end. For Case hacking isn’t a job, its his life’s passion.
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