It’s important to note that this isn’t a recent phenomenon. It’s been going on ever since computers, and more specifically computer networking, began entering the corporate world. Joan Greenbaum, in her book Windows on the Workplace, talks about how even before the internet, computer networking let companies relocate “back-office” functions offsite and, eventually, offshore. Mainstream commentators are likely to put the emphasis on communication when describing this phenomenon. The very terms that are used to describe these developments—telecommunications, information and communications technology (ICT)—reflect that emphasis. But as good cyberneticians, we know that communication is also always about control. And when we situate the rise of networked digital technologies within the broader history of capitalism, it becomes clear that control—specifically, control of the labor process—is where our emphasis should be.
From Discipline at a distance by Ben Tarnoff