The Homeless house cleaners of the sharing economy

If this NY mag article is to be believed you can hire house cleaners who are themselves homeless via www.homejoy.com a San Francisco based startup that has received $40 million in funding. Guess this says a lot about how out of whack the bay area real estate market is, but that is not what the article is about. Instead it tries to shine light on another issue, namely the fact that many recent startups (many of them falling in the broad (and equally meaningless) ‘sharing economy’ category) offer…

Migrant Media Metropole

This saturday my friend Valery (together with Eric & Merijn) are hosting a mini conference called ‘Migrant Media Metropole – New labour struggles in the global city‘ at the Balie in Amsterdam. Migration and media-activists gather with theorists and labour organizers to discuss and share best practices in the fight against precarity and insecure labour conditions. Sharing inspiring examples of social justice unionism and creative campaigning like “Justice for Janitors” in the U.S. and “Cleane…

Activism as a Non-Tariff Barrier to International Trade?

Patrice has posted an extensvie piece to the nettime-l mailing list that describes a rather bizarre legal dispute between an Indian textile manufacturing company and two Dutch internet service providers (one of them being my own). It comes down to the Indian company arguing that hosting websites that criticize labor conditions in their manufacturing plants constitutes an ‘international criminal conspiracy’: Now eight Dutch citizens, staff persons and directors of the [ISPs], are indicted and req…

Parallel infrastructures (2)

About a year ago i blogged about mini busses shuttling polish migrant workers from poland to holland and back. In that post i had attributed the use of mini buses over trains (and regular busses) at least in part the fact that the mini busses are much faster than other means of transport. apparently they are not fast enough anymore: The agrarisch dagblad (‘agricultural daily’) reports that P&E people, a Dutch temporary work aganecy supplying eastern and central European workers to the dutch…

Pictures from Dubai construction sites

I just finished uploading my pictures from Dubai to my flickr account. the most interesting ones are in the ‘Dubai construction‘ set: [from the description]: I took these photographs during a stopover in Dubai on the 25th of november 2006. they are taken on various construction sites in the dubai marina area that this located about 25 kilometers south from the old city centre in the vicinity of the Palm Jumeirah artificial island. Most of the construction workers pictured here apporached me by t…

Parallel infrastructures

Ok, cant go on being abusive of other people her like in the last couple of posts. does not really add too much to the whole and apparently it will be held against me by some prospective employer in the future anyway. Speaking about employment: it is no secret that the dutch economy (especially the construction, cleaning and agricultural sectors employ a huge number of (temporary) workers from Poland and other Eastern European countries (ironically germany seems to become an Eastern European cou…

How to get fired from a callcenter

Yesterday i saw john & jane, a film about call center workers in new bombay by Ashim Ahluwalia, which is running as part of the berlin film festival. The film is an impressive, beautifully shot (but sometimes slow) portrait of six persons working in a call center (‘4th dimension’) which provides a range of services to callers from the US. Of the six call agents only one, Glen, is unhappy with his job. in fact he seems to hate it. Glen was present for the Q&A session after the screening a…

Freedom of movement (looking back on my thesis)

It is almost four years ago that i finally finished my thesis (‘The freedom of movement of workers in the context of the Eastern enlargement of the European Union’ – download the pdf here) and concluded my studies in comparative political science at the University of Amsterdam. After finishing the thesis and getting my diploma a quickly turned my attention to other projects and never really looked back at what i had written. however given the fact that in my thesis i set out to draw up… … a clea…

User interface fail

I am on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Sao Paulo. The 777 is equipped with KLM’s top of the line in flight entertainment system which is actually pretty good. Having access to more than 100 movies (in economy class) is rivaled only by bittorrent (note to self: try to download movies on my next connexion equipped lufthansa flight). The system also includes SMS/email capabilities (send SMS for just USD 2.50 apiece! w00t!). to compose SMS messages you have to move a cursor across an on screen keybo…