[iDC] Immaterial Labor and life beyond utility

john sobol john at johnsobol.com
Thu Aug 16 19:39:53 UTC 2007

Hi Paul and all,

a few thoughts...

On 16-Aug-07, at 12:55 PM, Paul B. Hartzog wrote:
> I have a lot of issues with the "experience economy" of which I will
> only mention a few.
> First, it doesn't solve anything.

Well, maybe it's not supposed to. Maybe it's a response to a particular 
technological circumstance. Or maybe it is supposed to and does. I 
think this is too big a subject to write off with a single line.
Not to mention that it is in its infancy and so we are mostly talking 
hypothetically here.
But still, I think one question it solves is: how do we enable 
networked individuals to make money, make media and make meaning all at 
the same time?
That's a problem that i'm keen to solve, but I realize that others may 
find it less compelling, or more problematic than I do.
And of course it's not the only problem that needs solving, or that the 
experience economy engages.

>  It is perfectly reasonable to
> imagine/predict a hegemonic social system that 1) tells us what
> experiences to value

this sounds quite pejorative but I'm not sure if you mean it that way
I agree that the experience economy (a definition would be great as i 
still don't know if we're talking about the same thing) is/will be 
highly prescriptive, but i don't have a problem with that
it will certainly be no more or less prescriptive than literate 
monological capitalism
which has succeeded in maximizing knowledge artifacts at the expense of 
lived wisdom
putting our entire species at risk (to say nothing of innumerable 
others) in just a handful of centuries

so what form will its prescriptive hegemony take?
i think it will be a dialogical hegemony
that requires audiences and relationships
(talk and transaction)
and a process-driven economy that plays out this value system across 
diverse fields of creative exchange

how that solves the issues of scarcity and abundance i'm not sure
tho i do think that the crisp formulation of the problem at the 
beginning of Michel's last post was pretty compelling
and i also think experiential (contingent and contextual) knowledge is 
more likely to align itself with strategies that promote material 
sustainability (read: respect for nature's gifts and the fragility of 
being) than literate decontextualized knowledge (sovereign media) which 
satisfies its literate telos by existing beyond the need for an 
audience, unutilized and unresponsive

> Excellent points to ponder though, and a good group to ponder them 
> with.... :-)
> -Paul


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