Friday, November 7, 2014

article blog post - pellow and park

    The article I had this week was “The Political Economy of Work and Health in Silicon Valley”, which was written by David Pellow and Lisa Park. The article talks about how the work environment in Silicon Valley is very harsh. One of the points it mentions are that workers are usually minorities or women, and they target this demographic because they are less likely to want rights or to go on strike. They are also asked to sign away their rights to sue the company, so if anything bad happens to them at work they can’t legally blame the company and it gives the company a good health record on paper because no problems are filed. In general, the article explains how technology is improving, yet we are not figuring out ways to safely make these new technologies. Therefore, the workers that make these technologies are at risk from dangerous chemicals that come from making these technologies, and Silicon Valley is doing what they can to cover up the fact that they take advantage of minorities, underpay its workers, and put its workers at risk since it’s unsafe to make some types of technology.
    My take on the article is that there is a problem with the working environment in Silicon Valley and we should be finding ways to make building these technologies safer. I don’t know if we will be able to fix the fact that underprivileged people work there and that they get paid less and have less rights because that is the case for many places of work all around the world. However, we can work to see if there’s a way to combat the chemical dangers there are in making technology, and then hopefully there will be less risk to workers in these situations.
    David Pellow is a sociology professor at the university of minnesota, where he works with Lisa Park.  They both have PhD’s in sociology and their writings focus on environmental issues. Pellow is interested in the intersections of social inequality and environmental conflict, and he is currently working on sustainability and environment justice. Park is interested in studying immigrants and how their experiences differ from larger national groups. She also is interested in how immigration politics is related to the retrenchment of goods and services. Both of these authors are experienced and qualified, making the article a good source on its topic.
    The article is from a book titled “The Silicon Valley of Dreams: Environmental Injustice, Immigrant Workers, and the High-tech Global Economy”. This book got good reviews, further showing that it is a quality source of information for our class. International Migration Review said “offers a lot for the general reader. The authors must be congratulated.” Journal of American Ethnic History said “powerful and passionate expose.” Overall the book was liked for its content and its accessibility to the general public. 
This was an interesting article that was easy to understand and informative, and I enjoyed reading it and writing this post on it.  

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