…From industrial labour, factory machines, assembly line to liquid labour, computers, information processing; free information flow requires local decision making ; free flow of capital + information = liquid labour… – Mitew, T 2012
The quote above explains the concept of liquid labour and what it means. It shows that liquid labour refers to the free flow of information which requires no physical labour, and this is proven with the fact that, “between 1996 and 2006 employment in knowledge-intensive services in the UK increased from 37 per cent of all jobs to 43 per cent. At the same time,high-tech manufacturing declined from 443,300 jobs in 1996 to 288,000 in 2006.” (Bradwell & Reeves 2008). Hence, we can see that liquid labour is taking over manual labour little by little. This is probably due to its convenience and efficiency, for example, people nowadays will not require the services of a postman as much anymore, as there is the much cheaper and faster way of relating information: E-mail! Another example would be factory workers who are laid off due to being replaced with machines.
From what I comprehend, network citizens refer to ‘us’, the people who use networks or are involved in any networks because a huge number of people are now network citizens due to the fact that, in present times, almost every job requires some form of networking or another. For example, it would be a plus to state that you are ‘technologically savvy’ in your resume, as most jobs require the a basic knowledge of information technology. This brings me to my point, which is to relate network citizens to economies.
The coincidence of technological, social and labour market change is significant for the way we think of organisations because it changes the cost of their operation. In economic terminology, it changes their transaction costs. – Bradwell and Reeves, 2008
The fact that technology and knowledge are right at our fingertips, it enables people to work more efficiently and in return, this requires less manpower. Hence, less manpower required leads to less cost being required, as less workers are being paid. Therefore, when less labour costs are required, more profit will be gained and this will effect economies positively. Corporations can make more profit from enforcing liquid labour which shows that it would definitely be the better option. Even social networking websites are being used largely in workplaces as of today, indirectly contributing to economies as well, because “social networks and dynamics can be as important as, and often are more important than, formal hierarchy and structure, in determining how information flows and innovation emerges in an organisation” (Bradwell & Reeves 2008).
However, there is also a minor disadvantage with having ‘technologically savvy’ employees in organizations or corporations, as when work is done using computers especially, employees will often be found on social networking websites for non-work-related purposes. “For example, a survey by the Creative Group of marketing and advertising executives in the US found that 57 per cent believe it is permissible for employees to browse non-work-related websites during business hours” (Bradwell & Reeves 2008). This shows that liquid labour may not always be as effective as industrial labour, as it makes us less productive and more lazy.
Bradwell, P, & Reeves, R 2008, Economies. In Networked Citizens , pp. 25-31, accessed 6/9/2012, http://www.demos.co.uk/files/Network%20citizens%20-%20web.pdf
Mitew, T 2012, DIGC202 Liquid Labour, lecture notes, accessed 25/10/2006, http://prezi.com/jzxu5yetufdf/digc202-liquid-labour/