Overtime Episode 39 PREVIEW – Cybernetics and Labor – Pt 5

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We’re back from our week off for Lina’s wedding and in the latest episode of our series on the history of Cybernetics and its relationship to labor, we’ve finally arrived at the work of Stafford Beer. Beer’s work on complex systems revolutionized the way management operations are thought of in both the business world and in all systems of planning. His book Brain of the Firm on how to better manage complex systems like factories or even networks of them was so influential, he was invited to assist the government of Chile under the leadership of recently elected socialist Salvador Allende. Beer’s work on the project of creating an automated command center for monitoring and adjusting the economy of Chile, known as Cybersyn, has become legendary for its futuristic approach to running a planned society. In this episode we discuss an overview of Beer’s life and works, and in the next few episodes we will dive into the details of his thought, how Cybersyn was meant to work, and how Beer’s body of work can be used by the labor movement and socialists around the world today.

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