The surveillance occupations

In my first year at NYU, in the conference room where we used to have our classes, on the wall there was a big painting by Prof.  Baumol, I think it was.  Anyway, it depicted (not very nicely, but crudely) (but adequately enough) a camera perched on top of a building.  Think it was some kind of message?  Now, after all these years, I tend to think it was-a warning-you are being watched (!).

Then in my second year, I was seconded to be Prof. Flinn’s GA.  Now Prof. Flinn was a labour economist, and he soon had me working on job monitoring models.  It never struck me then, to ask him what he indicated by monitoring.  Anyway, he had me work night after night on some crappy National Longitudinal Survey of Youth dataset (NLSY).  Presumably I was to work on this shit for my dissertation.  They practically thrust it down my throat.

Glad I came back to Bombay and worked for my thesis under Prof. Pethe and Prof. Rao, on some sensible macroeconomics based on the flow of funds.

But I digress.  To get back to the blue painting of surveillance in the conference room, and juxtapose the job monitoring models, what do we get but a picture of the surveillance occupations.  Apparently companies routinely employ people to read intra company emails of employees.  Can’t be much fun, but a job is job, or is it?

I thought even then-how do they know?  I still think that-how did they know, but now I have more than an inkling.  I was hoping all their watching of me would have taught them something worthwhile.  Ironic, isn’t it, going there to get educated, ended up teaching them a thing or two.


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