Not in the Jungian sense, but rather the hidden costs of distributed labor. For example, let's say a large company licenses expense management software for employees to scan and record their own travel receipts. This allows them to lay off x number of admin staff, and save twice what they spend on the software. This year's earnings will be slightly higher, investors may reward that growth with a higher earnings multiple, and they'll pay an even higher multiple for the software vendor. But now you have 100x other employees with an extra task/distraction, which has to weigh on productivity / morale / retention in at least some marginal way.

My use of the term comes from books by Ivan Illich and Craig Lambert, which seem to have more of a cultural/individual perspective, and frame this as an exploitation story in which the company extracts a bit more work (from their customers as well, with things like self-checkout) that is effectively uncompensated.

But maybe that concedes too much... e.g. surely these office workers also doing a bit less of their other work, and the employers/investors may have made a short-sighted decision against their own self-interest. It's an empirical question about the genuine efficiencies in the software vs the various costs of reversing the division of labor.

Where can I find the existing work from that perspective? What are the other terms I should be searching for? Thanks in advance for any suggestions!


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Try false economy at this link and at this one.

I don't know if the difference between short-term and long-term economic performance is the only reason people may be attracted to false economies but that is the reason cited in those definitions. It seems to me the difference between perceived economics and actual economics is sufficient to motivate spurious economy. Maybe I'm just splitting hairs.


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