[iDC] 45 RPM (media history on heavy rotation)

Michael H Goldhaber michael at goldhaber.org
Fri Aug 14 19:43:14 UTC 2009

Hi  Armin,

I read your piece fast, but with some interest. It's well written and  
snappy.  You cover many of the main bases, including technological  
determinism. But I am somewhat disappointed. To start, I don't think  
you use the term "commodity fetishism" as Marx meant it. It does not  
mean the love of commodities, or anything like that, but rather  
imputing to commodities  a life of their own, so that they rise or  
fall in prices, as if by their own doing, rather than the reality that  
it is human beings who through their social relations set the prices  
of commodities, which prices are themselves social relations between  
people.  "Consumerism" is something else. I feel your treatment of it  
could be much deeper.

Also, I am more than a little surprised that apparently you say  
nothing at all about the social origins of the Internet. I do cover  
this somewhat in my piece http://www.well.com/user/mgoldh/Technosocialism.html 
   "Values, Technology, the Internet, and a New Opening for Humane  
Socialism." So do some others.

I think you are, like many, caught up too much in an uncritical  
acceptance of the power of corporations vis-a-vis the Internet. There  
is nothing particularly "fantastic" for instance in Facebook having a  
putative valuation of $6.5 billion (which is in fact small as major  
corporations go). That is far from what is really interesting or  
important about Facebook as a social phenomenon. Please don't be  
seduced by capitalist analysts' one-dimensional  valuations to think  
they are therefore either correct or essential. This is a problem some  
others on the IDC list also have. To truly understand the Internet, in  
my view is to see it as an arena of sharp contestation, taking many  
forms, between capitalist and post-capitalist modes of production. I  
think that is where the discussion should focus.


On Aug 13, 2009, at 3:00 AM, Armin Medosch wrote:

> Hi IDCers
> I have followed the recent discussion here over the past three  
> months or
> so with great interest but unfortunately was too busy to jump in as I
> had things to do which demanded my undivided attention. One of those
> things was writing the text which I post below, the last sections of
> which focus on the very same topic. In my humble opinion discourse on
> new media has suffered from too much 'idealism' in the broadest  
> meaning,
> and also from too much preference on culture as a separate category to
> the detriment of study of the political economy of which those new  
> media
> phenomena are a part. the recent discussion here has shown that such a
> one-sidedness is already in the process of being remedied and I hope  
> my
> text will contribute further to that. If you take the time to read you
> will also see that this is just an outline, a programmatics more than
> the final article. As this is the draft for a contributuion to a print
> publication I also had to stick to a word limit so that I had to leave
> out a lot. Hope you enjoy
> 45 RPM (media history on heavy rotation)
> http://www.thenextlayer.org/node/1192
> regards
> armin
> -- 
> thenextlayer software, art, politics http://www.thenextlayer.org
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