[iDC] "recursive publics"

Christopher Kelty ckelty at gmail.com
Sun Jul 12 18:27:58 UTC 2009

On Sun, Jul 12, 2009 at 9:58 AM, Michael H Goldhaber
<michael at goldhaber.org>wrote:

> Christopher, I find your thoughts about recursive publics fascinating. But
> one thing I do not understand  is the meaning of the quote of you by Jodi
> Dean to the effect that the so-called geeks are trying to "save capitalism
> from capitalists;" can you explain what this means? Are not capitalists
> integral to capitalism? Is it not essentially a hierarchical system in which
> reinvestment decisions are made by a small group? (I assume that capitalism
> without capitalists would not be synonymous with anything like "state
> capitalism" which is how  many socialists have described the Soviet Union.)
> Perhaps you could point to a text where you explain this.

Chapter 2 of Two Bits (http://twobits.net/discuss/chapter2/16) comes closest
to explaining this by way of making some distinctions amongst geeks.  Many
geeks (by no means all of them) are committed to capitalism as the best of
all possible worlds, but  they also want to criticize what passes for (or
what is called) capitalism today as a corrupt, inadequate or fallen version
of their ideal.  A more precise way to put it is that they are opposed to
unregulated, special interest-driven, monopoly capitalism of the sort we
find in the IT industry today (as well as other sectors), and they would
rather see a capitalism of small producers competing fairly to out-innovate
each other.  I would venture to say, however, that few of them would trust
the current political establishment, especially the US government, to
regulate that system, and that is why the "recursive public" makes a certain
amount of sense as a distributed form of regulation of competition, or as I
call it in the book, a dream of a  'self-leveling' level playing field.

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