Issue editors: Nick Butler, Helen Delaney, Emilie Hesselbo and Sverre Spoelstra
Measurement is a central task of capitalist organization. From the days of the industrial factory, when labour first came to be measured in hours, through to the time-motion studies under Taylorist regimes, measurement has involved the optimization of surplus value extraction from labour. During the 20th century, these techniques of measurement were complemented by more intrusive forms of quantification such as the use of psychological testing in the human relations school.
The will to quantify continues today with balanced scorecards and activity-based costing (Power, 2004), the discourse of employability (Chertkovskaya, et al., 2013), the monitoring of work in the service economy (Dowling, 2007), and the performativity of economics (Callon, 1998). At the same time, others point to the impossibility of measuring affective work and immaterial labour (Hardt and Negri, 2000). More generally, ‘trust in numbers’ (Porter, 1995) – based on... more