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Spring Gillard
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Impatient Capital

I was reading about work and learning for a course recently and came across some very interesting articles in a book (cited below). This excerpt explains a lot to me about the incredible demands contractors are under now. I’ve had a few contracts with impossibly short turnarounds and impossibly long lists of deliverables. I’m sure this will resonate with those of you who try to survive on contracts.

New capitalism is “marked by unprecedented intensification of workload and work pace, and shifts in work relations to increasing emphasis on customer service and networked structures of entrepreneurial, competitive individuals. Intensified contingency and mobility of work in new capitalism is eroding links between workers and employers and demanding worker adaptation. Sennett focuses concern on low levels of loyalty and informal trust produced through new capitalism’s preference for short-term labour and serial projects. This not only creates ‘institutional deficits’ (Sennett 2006, p. 64) and institutional paranoia, but also workers’ anxiety and need for high tolerance of ambiguity and self-reliance: they are left to their own devices to respond to targets. Time, argues Sennett, is central to this regime, with its acceleration and compressions. Order is imposed according to ‘impatient capital’ which demands short-term results and immediate change. This is a rationalized time that cuts deeply into subjectivities and human lives, a point of concern that is stressed by others analyzing the effects of new capitalism on workers (Colley, Henriksson, Niemeyer, & Seddon, 2012)” (Fenwick, 2013 p. 228).

Excerpt from: Fenwick, T. (2013). Work and Learning: Perspectives from Canadian Adult Educators. In T. Nesbit, S.M. Brigham, N. Taber & T. Gibb (Eds.), Building on Critical Traditions, Adult Education and Learning in Canada (pp. 227-237). Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing.

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