Security as Estranged Labor
In Lie of the Land, Mitchell applies a Marxian analysis to the relationship between the laborer and the landscape that he/she produces. As long as the landscape itself is stabilized, Mitchell claims, then the worker will continue to be oppressed. As long as capital is being reproduced through the underpaid and exploited labor of marginalized bodies, then the landscape is oppressive in and of itself. This is relatively easy to conceptualize in terms of manual labor, but in thinking of the NPR piece and low-tier occupations at corporations, how does the relationship between labor and capital operate? Does this economic relationship require materiality? Can we think of Google as a virtual landscape that perpetuates a dialectic of inequality between capital and laborer? How is this relationship complicated if it does not involve physical "nature", such as agriculture? Mitchell prompts us to think of landscape as both material and ideological (pg. 34). But when the evident materiality is removed (we don't think of Google as a physical space), it is harder for us to think about how labor operates in relation to capital. The NPR piece is important because it proves that capitalism can be damning even if the labor isn't producing materiality.
Landscapes and Labor in California By: Joshua Mandell (8 October 2014)