Friday, March 19, 2010

The American Labour System: the Anti-Art System?

First of all, I want to apologise for not posting last week's blog entry. It was a very busy week, and I was completely out of it.

What I wanted to discuss this evening is writing in programming and Web development.

I've been a novice computer geek for the last two to three years, so there is a lot that I still have yet to learn about the technology. But what I have learned is that the skills of a writer can be transferred over to programming and Web development. When I say "programming," I include software development. Software is just a type of program that performs a tool- or application-like function and therefore a specific kind of task. For example, word processing software performs writing and editing tasks of human language (as opposed to machine language).

Like stories, articles and poetry, programs and Websites are created with human language (mostly English). They are not merely constructed like computer hardware and so take a greater amount of creativity to write. However, unless you're writing a game program or such, they are not narrational. Websites are often created with html (hyper textual markup language) and programs are created using any program language from COBOL to JAVA.

So with the ongoing rapid advancement of computer technology and the demand for more software and Websites, you can say that unlike the fine arts such as painting and sculpture, and unlike the literary arts such as fiction and poetry writing, Web development and program writing has a high demand for us artists/creators in the market place.

Actually, I'm sorry to say, that's wrong. At least as far as traditional employed work goes.

There has been a huge decrease in the demand for program writers and Web creators at the private sector levels at least during the last decade. I have been told by career developers and have read that because many huge companies have been hiring their Web developers and program writers from outside of the U.S. by contract, the need for such professionals is very slim. Why do the huge companies look outside the country for these services? Because they save money, of course, which big business (corporatism in other words) comes down to. And because it comes down to saving on the costs of such creative services what does this tell us about our economy? The U.S. economy, particularly through the private sector, is anti-art! And in a society that is anti-art the system, in the U.S.'s case the corporate system, will do everything it can to annihilate something that it feels is too damn impractical for a given aspect of its economy, in this case the the U.S. labour force.

However, with the downfall of corporate globalism due to the (Great) Recession that we are slowly but surely rising out of, this may all change. Will corporations in our country be able to continue affording to even pay for program and Web development services from outside the country? With the poor economy effecting other countries around the world, will such services even be as accessible? Perhaps the big companies will have to start looking toward the digital creators who have been forced to go nomadic as far as employment goes, and so will have to look to the independent contractors for these services a lot more. Or, perhaps better yet, they will have to start hiring people in these professions permanently like they did back in the 1990's.

Maybe we can answer these questions more precisely next week.

Until then. . .



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