Beware the Facebook, Google and Amazon company town

I want the people who work at Pullman to have the advantages of seeing the best,” Pullman said. “I want no cheap, crude, inartistic work in any department. I have faith in the educational and refining influences of beauty and beautiful and harmonious surroundings, and hesitate at no reasonable expenditure to secure them.” – George Pullman discussing the company town

“Here, indeed, seems to be the coming paradise of labor. If here are not all the conditions for a healthful and mutually beneficial relation between the great and powerful corporation that furnishes capital and employment, and those who seek and find employment, the best and most approved social theories are at fault.” – ” 1882 edition of The Railway Age Monthly. “

In July, Facebook announced plans to create “Willow Campus,” 1500 units of housing, 15 percent of which it claims will be “offered at below-market rates.”

Not to be out ‘company town’d’, Google will provide offer housing for 300 employees in its home city of Mountain View. For years, Google has been seeking to wrest control of the city from its government; last year, it gained over 370,000 square feet of office space along with the right to develop 1.4 million square feet in the North Bayshore neighborhood after vying with LinkedIn to furnish the territory with a new police station, road improvements, and college scholarships.

Beware the company town.

Omnipresent capitalism that will keep workers behaviorally economized. A happy place where everybody would be content with their place in the capitalist system. Facebook, Google and Amazon will militarize and regiment who, and what, comes into the company town, deciding which books will fill the libraries and which performances will take place in their theaters including or excluding town meetings unless sanctioned and expulsion should they entertain unionizing.

The Amazon, Facebook, Google company town is not just another asymmetric lever in the exchange of labor, but also personal autonomy.

Jeff Bezos presenting an idyllic capitalist performance for onlookers, its insides guttered humans, endlessly surveilled and nothing escapes scrutiny. Dissent verboten.

Amazon has spent taxpayer largess to occupy 19 percent of Seattle’s office space and 8.1 million square feet and a commitment to acquire another 4million.

The tech company town, that most contemporary of neofeudalist wangles, is the next step in West Coast corporate behemoths’ quest to lure employees into a twenty-four-hour working existence bridled with union–busting and data-harvesting apparatuses sure to make even the most paranoid techno-tyrant salivate.

 

Company Town

Art is from a GREAT book Company town

h/t to the ever brilliant the baffler and Paleofuture