The 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three American scientists for showing conclusively how our circadian rhythms are synchronized with the Earth's revolution. According to the Nobel Committee's statement, these researchers were able to peek inside our biological clocks with exquisite precision. Experimentation with the genetic makeup of fruit flies unlocked the molecular logics of circadian clocks. But how do we explain the tangled economic, cultural, and political logics that seek to keep these very rhythms out of balance and reproduce the misalignments that these scientists deem risky for human well-being? Working the night or the graveyard shift is nothing new, and its perils have long been recognized. However, as the global economy expands its reach through the manipulation of time and space, circadian rhythms are being recalibrated in workplaces to the tune of markets both near and far.

The outsourcing of work to global sites is a...

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