A magazine about programmers, code, and society. Written by humans since 2018.

Issue 042: Trade Unions

Issue 042: Trade Unions

Welcome to the forty-second issue of De Programmatica Ipsum, dedicated to the subject of Trade Unions. In this edition, Adrian tries to understand the root cause of why most software workers are not unionized; Graham explains the financial and societal consequences of a non-unionized workforce; and in the Library section, Adrian reviews "Programmed Inequality" by Mar Hicks.

Divide Et Impera

Divide and Conquer is a common technique for algorithm design: quicksort, discrete Fourier transforms, and even MapReduce are common examples of such a technique. It consists in breaking down a problem into smaller parts, so as to solve the whole of the problem. It is also a common technique in politics, known and applied since before the times of the Roman Empire. It consists in breaking down society into smaller parts, so as to rule the whole of society.

People working at technology companies are among the most exploited in the world. It might not feel like it, if you are a programmer getting up from your Herman Miller chair at your sit/stand desk to go and pick up your third subsidised meal of the day, stopping at the foosball table to talk about how you might spend your social allowance this evening. We will come back to all of these points later, but let us start with the golden rule of journalism: follow the money.

Mar Hicks

In the 2008 book "Dreams That Glitter", telling the story of the English pop group Girls Aloud, one of its members, the late Sarah Harding, said: “I’ve got a t-shirt that says ‘Well-behaved women don’t make history’. Funny how the stylist gave that to me…”

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